The Centre for Andragogy and Academic Skills was established to embed andragogical thinking into all we do at Cranfield, and provide academic staff support and development to enhance the learning and teaching experience of those choosing Cranfield as their place of study. 

CAAS offers advice to academic and professional staff on topics such as teaching and learning, assessment design and academic standards, and provides our learners with a portfolio of transferable academic, research and employability skills in a variety of accessible formats.

Learning spaces

The Centre for Andragogy and Academic Skills team help the University create a vibrant and inspiring learning environment for our students and staff. To do this we work with the Facilities team to ensure that learning spaces meet our immediate needs and incorporate opportunities for newer ways to learn. Both the design and layout of physical spaces and the facilities and location are thoughtfully arranged, which we know to affect how we work and learn. We work with the Information Services team to ensure that modern audio-visual and digital tools are used effectively as part of the learning environment.

Innovative learning and teaching

In the Centre for Andragogy and Academic Skills, we aim to ensure the delivery of an excellent student experience by helping staff gain the skills and knowledge required to enhance their teaching practices and use a variety of techniques and tools within their teaching environment.  

We support blended and flipped learning approaches throughout the curriculum to support our diverse learners, whether full-time or part-time master’s students, researchers or executives. They are able to access learning materials when and where convenient for their lifestyle. 

Online assessment practices enhance student learning and development as well as providing a means by which we can assess students' abilities. Using technology enables us to provide timely feedback in a consistent and accessible manner. 

Our learners have the opportunity to experience participation in a group project which is valued by both learners and prospective employers. Here they will work together to solve an industrial problem whilst also developing essential transferable skills. 

Competency framework and employability skills

Employability skills are increasingly important to prospective employers who are looking for applicants with something more to offer than just subject knowledge, as important as that is. Our course modules provide learners with the majority of the core transferable employability skills recommended for progression to a successful career.

To provide a consistent approach towards employability skills across our schools and to communicate the importance of competencies more effectively, we have developed the Cranfield Competency Framework. This allows our learners to identify and reflect on competencies and skills that they have acquired or recognise those that need further development.  

This framework creates a consistent approach to the transferable/employability skills offered across the University. The competencies are clustered under four different groupings: Communications and Relationships, Personal Attributes, Leadership and Business, each of which expand to sub-levels, as seen in the picture below.


The Centre for Andragogy and Academic Skills has developed innovative online resources and workshops to aid employability skills development in areas students have highlighted an interest in developing. These include presentation skills, personal development planning, reflection activities, leadership and resilience.

Cranfield's teaching staff are instrumental in emphasising the employability context of their teaching. Learners are inspired to recognise that, as they develop expertise in their chosen programme of study, they are also developing the characteristics and attributes of the highly-regarded professional Cranfield graduate.

Doctoral Researchers' Core Development (DRCD) programme

Our Doctoral Researchers' Core Development (DRCD) programme supports our researchers and provides a framework on which they can base their ongoing professional development in their future career. It is offered through a variety of routes: face-to-face workshops, interactive lectures, webinars, online material and other resources. The transferable employability and personal development skills they will gain during their time at Cranfield are highly valued by future employers.

The programme is based on the national Vitae researcher development framework and encompasses four key areas of development: Knowledge and Intellectual Abilities, Personal Effectiveness, Research Governance and Organisation, and Engagement Influence and Impact.

While every PhD is unique, our resources are linked to typical key stages of our researcher’s journey to support them as they progress.  


Staff development

At Cranfield, we provide continuing professional development for staff at all levels who are engaged in teaching and supporting learning; both academic and research staff, as well as professional educational support staff. Our aim is to encourage practices that will be effective for learners from a diverse range of backgrounds in creating leaders and innovators in our specialist areas of science, technology, engineering and management.

We link our professional development to the UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education (UK-PSF) through two programmes with Higher Education Academy accreditation, at descriptors D1 or D2 and D2 or D3 respectively.

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP)

This programme is an M-level award from Cranfield University designed to support the development of staff involved in teaching, supporting students, course design and assessment, and the planning and supervision of research. It consists of two modules that may be taken singly or in combination. Successful completion of the first module will lead to Associate Fellowship (AFHEA). Completing both modules of the PGCAP programme leads to both Fellowship (FHEA) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice. 

Cranfield Recognition Programme

This programme is available to staff who have responsibility for a combination of teaching, course or module management, and supervision responsibilities, and either have no professional recognition in relation to teaching and supporting learning and would like to become FHEA, or wish to gain a higher level of recognition (SFHEA). 
It is appropriate for those appointed to a senior level following experience in industry or at another higher education institution, or have been employed at Cranfield for a long period without having completed the PGCAP.  

Other academic development opportunities

We believe that staff should seek to update their practices on a regular basis and offer a range of workshops, webinars and electronic resources to support professional development and improve individuals' skill sets.

English for Academic Purposes

The English for Academic Purposes (EAP) team within CAAS is focused on improving students’ ability and confidence to study or conduct research in higher education. Programmes to develop the language skills required to communicate, build and share knowledge in academic contexts through reading, writing, speaking and listening are divided into pre-sessional courses and in-sessional courses. 

Pre-sessional courses are for prospective students who do not already meet the English language entry requirement for their Cranfield course and/or wish to gain an insight into academic life before beginning their postgraduate study.

In-sessional courses are taken alongside main academic study. This free provision takes the form of one-to-one tutorial appointments, self-learning resources and specialist small group classes.  

The EAP team also conduct assessment and evaluation of international students' language proficiency – carried out through interviews, tests and written tasks. 


Centre for Andragogy and Academic Skills team contacts

Peter Harrison, Cranfield University
Peter Harrison
Centre Manager
Centre for Andragogy and Academic Skills
Tracey Bailey
Dr Tracey Bailey
Academic Practice Lead
Centre for Andragogy and Academic Skills
Theresa Smyth - University of Cranfield
Theresa Smyth
Employability Education Lead
Centre for Andragogy and Academic Skills
Louise Woodland, Cranfield University
Louise Woodland
Education Enhancement Lead
Centre for Andragogy and Academic Skills
Sally Dring
Sally Dring
CAAS Administrator
Centre for Andragogy and Academic Skills
 Jo Holden

Jo Holden
Teaching Fellow in English for Academic Purposes

  Chris Binch
Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes