Sixty thousand learning and teaching professionals in higher education are now Fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).
HEA Fellowship is designed around the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) which supports the initial and continuing professional development of staff engaged in teaching and supporting learning in higher education (HE). It provides a means to comprehensively benchmark, develop, and recognise and reward teaching and learning support roles within HE.
The 60,000th Fellow is Dr John Spencer from the University of Sussex, who recently gained recognition as a HEA Fellow (FHEA). Dr Spencer is a Reader in Chemistry at the University of Sussex where he is also PhD Convenor for the Department of Chemistry.
Dr Spencer was delighted to hear the news of his Fellowship and said, “I’m really proud to have gained this recognition”.
He added, “I’ve been teaching in HE for nearly ten years, but I had no formal recognition of my professional teaching experience. Several colleagues at the University of Sussex are HEA Fellows and this encouraged me to make an application”.
Dr Spencer applied for his HEA Fellowship via the experienced route which required him to complete an Account of Professional Practice (APP). He explained that he found completing the APP very rewarding in itself.
“The process of becoming a Fellow, and completing an APP really made me think about what I do and how it could be benchmarked against the UKPSF. It was probably the first time I had really sat down and reflected on my teaching career. Once I began writing everything down, I realised that I’d been ticking a lot of the boxes already, so it was good to get that validation. Having a focus to the reflection of my own professional practice was a really valuable and fulfilling experience.”
Professor Stephanie Marshall, Chief Executive of the HEA, said: “I’m delighted that we now have 60,000 HEA Fellows, and over 2,000 of these are Senior and Principal Fellows.
“To have so many individuals demonstrating their commitment to high levels of professionalism is a fantastic achievement. It highlights the value that is increasingly being placed on learning and teaching in UK higher education, and I am very proud of the work that we are doing in this area. Recognition and reward for those teaching in higher education and their continuing professional development remains at the heart of what we do at the HEA.”
The HEA recognition team is offering individuals who are preparing an application for Senior Fellowship the opportunity to attend a writing retreat. The day will provide a structured environment in which to reflect and prepare an application.