Welcome to the Academic Careers Framework (ACF) website

A central part of our Transforming Lives strategy is the Hallam Deal which sets out the University’s commitment to you and what the University expects in return. The Academic Careers Framework (ACF) is a cornerstone of the Hallam Deal for all academic colleagues.

The framework translates Transforming Lives into a set of indicators that show the contribution academics can make in order to develop a successful career and help Sheffield Hallam realise its ambitions. It recognises achievement across the full range of academic activities that shape the University’s identity.

The ACF sets out expectations for academic achievement, across four strands:

  • Academic citizenship and leadership (AC&L)
  • Research and innovation (R&I)
  • Teaching and learning (T&L)
  • External and professional engagement (E&PE)

Download the Academic Careers Framework (ACF) v6 (PDF, 324KB)

Download the Academic Careers Framework (ACF) v6 (DOCX, 98KB)

How to use the ACF

The ACF is a central part of the Performance and Development Review (PDR) process for academic staff. The indicators of achievement in the ACF indicate the expectations at each grade. It’s designed to help you and your PDR reviewer agree objectives and reflect on your current contribution, development and career ambitions and plans.

Updates to the framework

Having initially been published in 2019, a revised version of the ACF was published on 6 November 2023 following a review and approval by the University Executive Board. This follows the commitment to periodically benchmark and update the ACF, ensuring it remains current and aligned with the University’s strategic objectives.

A summary of the main changes is below:

  • The addition of an expectation that all academics can articulate how their contribution has a demonstrable impact on the student experience.
  • Greater emphasis throughout the framework on the value of contributions to the enhancement of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
  • Clarity that references to funding, as an indicator of contribution, refer to external funding.
  • Explicit recognition of contributions to Academic Advising.
  • Grade 9: Emphasis that in order to progress to, and demonstrate continued contribution at, grade 9 with an R&I, T&L or E&PE focus, there must be a peer-reviewable contribution of distinction.
  • Grade 9: Greater emphasis on the expectation of a contribution to income generation in R&I and E&PE.
  • Grade 9: Leadership of the doctoral environment recognised as a contribution to T&L.
  • Senior staff grade (SSG): Emphasis that in order to progress to, and demonstrate continued contribution at, SSG with an R&I, T&L or E&PE focus, there must be a sustained, scholarly, peer-reviewable contribution of the highest distinction.