© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. University teacher development programmes have been part of the higher education landscape for over 40 years. There is now general agreement that university teacher development programmes have a positive impact on teachers and students, yet the extent and longevity of their impact on the teachers, and the teaching and learning culture of the institutions are less well researched and evidenced. Research that has been carried out on the effectiveness of teacher development programmes has tended to be on specific initiatives and involve limited numbers of participants. Teaching and learning development centres have typically not carried out systematic and extended evaluation of the impact of their programmes. The focus of this paper is to describe the process and outcomes of a national project which resulted in the development of the Academic Professional Development Effectiveness Framework, designed as evaluation tool to facilitate the systematic collection and analysis of data related to the intended outcomes of the teacher development programmes. It is argued that teacher development programmes should be designed to build an evidence base from the initial planning stage and be continued over an extended period in order to enable practitioners, researchers and institutions to ask more complex questions on whom the programmes have an impact, and where and why they have impact.