The framework supplements the definition by clarifying how the professional nature of HE expresses itself through various characteristics of Higher Education. The characteristics do not attempt to describe a professional HEI, but rather are applicable to units of education, most typically courses or programmes within HE.
The framework is made up of three variables:
- Characteristic: this is simply the name of the indicator
- Description: this merely describes what is meant by the indicator
- Core Criterion: This sets out the minimum requirement the educational experience must adhere to, so as to be considered professional higher education
The defining characteristics are divided into three sections:
- Policy & Strategy – How is PHE embedded and represented in the overall strategic framework and policies of higher education institutions?
- Teaching & Learning – How is teaching and learning influenced through specific characteristics of PHE?
- Research, Developement and Innovation – How is Research integrated as part of a sustainable PHE, recognising that it might differ from level to level and is not implemented in all institutions yet?