Most lecturers in English departments will be considering ways of implementing Personal Development Planning schemes soon, in order to meet the HEFCE requirement that all students have a 'progress file' or 'personal academic record' by 2005. The schemes, in various ways, involve students and staff in the development of files or portfolios which records student progress and achievement. The files will include a transcript of achievement, but they are also expected to provide students with a means by which they can monitor and reflect on their development. While lecturers will be expected to have conversations with students about familiar issues such as their academic development, they will also be expected to discuss issues such as career planning, and it is likely that the English Subject Centre will be able to provide information and support in this area. The Subject Centre would also be interested in brokering information on how departments are linking PDPs and the curriculum.
Although PDP schemes are generally affected by institutional policy frameworks, existing institutional case studies suggest that different disciplines will use the scheme in distinct ways, and therefore departments may find it helpful to consult the case studies relating to personal development planning in English departments which are available at the PADSHE website (http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/padshe). PADSHE stands for 'Personal and Academic Development for Students in Higher Education' and represents the HEFCE-funded project which Angela Smallwood of Nottingham University co-ordinated from 1996-2000. The case studies discuss the use of PADSHE materials at Birmingham, Liverpool John Moores, Northumbria and Newcastle and focus on undergraduate and postgraduate students. The case studies can be found at :
Additional case studies on PDP in institutions are available at the website for the Centre for Recording Achievement at http://www.recordingachievement.org
We would appreciate it if departments which have been experimenting with or trialling PDP systems would contact us to let us know about their experience. The Subject Centre will be happy to receive any enquiries and information about the use of progress files in English departments.