This is one of the SEDA-PDF named awards available through SEDA’s Professional Development Framework. It is of particular relevance to colleagues who are in, or aspire to be in, a programme or course leadership position, often undertaken without any associated line management responsibility.

Successful graduates of programmes accredited against this award are entitled to refer to themselves as a SEDA Recognised Programme Lead/er*.
*Lead or Leader can be used as suitable to your personal/local context as a personal choice.


  • To support individuals in their professional development as educational leaders
  • To support and recognise individual progress, practice and professional achievement
  • To enhance curriculum development and, hence, the student learning experience
  • To promote the development of professionals with the knowledge, skills and attributes to effectively lead, nurture and guide educational change and development in the sector.


This award recognises the importance of Programme Leaders (also known as directors of study and other titles), who have a pivotal role within Higher Education provision. Programme leaders are expected to lead teams in effective curriculum design and development; to interpret and navigate fast changing disciplinary, institutional, regional, national and global contexts; to influence colleagues, support staff and managers; to understand and effectively implement quality enhancement frameworks; and to ensure an excellent student learning experience. All this often comes without clearly defined responsibilities, without the official authority of a line management role and as a first step into HE leadership.

In this period of unprecedented change in higher education, Programme Leaders are faced with a range of new situations which will require complex decision making and inspirational leadership. This award has been designed to meet these challenges. Its central purpose is to stimulate and develop participants’ leadership knowledge, skills, understanding and application in order to help them lead their programme teams to produce an outstanding student learning experience. Attention will be given to the role of the Programme Leader in relation to curriculum design, learning and teaching, quality enhancement and subject mastery. This will enable participants to reflect critically on, and develop further, a creative capacity to work with colleagues and to further enhance programmes and courses in a HE setting.

Seda-PDF values

All SEDA activities are underpinned by the SEDA values:

  • Developing understanding of how people learn
  • Practicing in ways that are scholarly, professional and ethical
  • Working with and developing learning communities
  • Valuing diversity and promoting inclusivity
  • Continually reflecting on practice to develop ourselves, others and processes.

Seda-PDF core development outcomes

Award recipients will be able to:

  1. Identify their own professional development goals, directions or priorities
  2. Plan for their initial and / or continuing professional development
  3. Undertake appropriate development activities
  4. Review their development and their practice, and the relations between them.

Specialist outcomes

Additionally award recipients will be able to:

  1. Reflect critically on the nature of programme leadership and its relationship to context, including influences beyond the course, discipline and Institution.
  2. Reflect on appropriate leadership theory in order to enhance practice as a programme leader
  3. Evaluate models of team effectiveness and consider strategies to lead, influence and enhance team performance.
  4. Evaluate appropriate curriculum design, development and evaluation strategies and consider their application in order to facilitate an excellent student learning experience.
  5. Inform their role with relevant strategy, policy and quality considerations.

Named award co-ordinators