The first workshop of the 2021-2022 academic year was held on 23rd of September and focused on what is needed to apply for Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. Members from around the UK joined in the discussion, led by Tracey Coppins from Keele University. The attendees were at different stages in their careers, some wishing to apply for Associate Fellowship and some thinking of going for Principal Fellowship in the next few years.
Some common themes were present throughout the workshop despite the diverse range of attendees. People want to obtain Fellowship for a host of different reasons, with most focusing on career progression, continuous professional development and professional recognition. Some of the reasons given for attending the workshop included getting some advice or insight into the application process, as well as generally chatting to people who went through the application process before.
A lot of the workshop was spent focusing on the detailed requirements for different levels of Fellowship, which can be found on the Advance HE website so we will not rewrite them here. The rest of this post will focus on some of the advice given and some of the perhaps less known details about applying.
- You don’t need to go through all the stages and you don’t have to start at Associate Fellow. You can, for example, apply straight for SFHEA.
- It’s worth checking if your employer has a scheme through which you can apply, and also access mentoring. Many workshop attendees said they were aware of schemes being run by their Universities, even if they haven’t yet had a chance to explore them.
- List all your roles against the criteria for the fellowship level you want to go for. Which of your roles fill which criteria? It’s easier to think of which evidence you have to provide once you know which of your roles best fit the different criteria.
- There’s no definitive list stating you have to have a certain job title to apply for a certain category, what you do in your role is more important.
- Following on from the point above, it’s also important to know why you do things in the way you’re doing them, particularly how they relate to educational and pedagogical theory.
We had useful discussions in breakout rooms and it was nice to see how varied everyone’s roles were. We all agreed that a mentoring scheme for foundation year practitioners would be a great opportunity to exchange tips for applying so keep your eyes peeled for an announcement about that.
Note: post was edited on 22/10 to add point 5 to the list.