Over 150 delegates from the higher education sector in Bahrain and other Gulf states joined the University of Bahrain and the UK-based Higher Education Academy (HEA) at a symposium focused on improving teaching in higher education.
The symposium, ‘Transforming Teaching, Celebrating Success: Institutional approaches to enhancing learning and teaching”, highlighted the reward and recognition of great teaching through achieving HEA Fellowship.
Delegates heard direct from some of the University of Bahrain’s staff whose teaching practice had been recognised through HEA Fellowship, and how this had transformed their approaches to teaching.
At the core of HEA Fellowship is the UK Professional Standards Framework (UK PSF) which provides a set of guidelines and values for those involved in teaching in higher education.
Welcoming delegates, the President of the University of Bahrain, Professor Riyad Y Hamzah, said, “Developing good teaching skills are absolutely essential to a great student experience and I am very keen that all staff engage in professional development. I want our university to lead the way in this area.”
The President was joined by the British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, Mr Simon Martin CMG. The Ambassador said that the partnership work between the University and the HEA was another great example in the 200 years of cooperation between Bahrain and the UK which is being celebrated this year.
Professor Hamzah explained that the University’s strategic approach to enhancing teaching has been accelerated by the establishment of the Unit for Teaching Excellence and Leadership, led by Dr Sana Ahmed Al-Mansoori. The Unit has worked closely with the HEA to build capacity at the University through HEA accreditation of its professional development programmes. To date, the University has over 130 HEA Fellows, and more staff are setting out on the path to become so.
Dr Sana Al-Mansoori said, “The symposium was a celebratory milestone in our work with the HEA. We have come a long way and I was very proud to share our achievements with colleagues from across the region. But this is just the start of our work to recognise and encourage great teaching in our university.”
The University of Bahrain is currently the only university in the region with HEA accreditation.
Kathryn Harrison- Graves, Head of International at the HEA, said, “We wanted to show delegates how the route to HEA Fellowship helps teaching staff reflect on their practice and transform the way they can engage with their students.”
“Recognising great teaching is a win-win, staff become more motivated and consequently students get a better experience. What was great about today was that delegates heard direct from the University’s Fellows about how their practice had been transformed and was continuing to develop.”
The HEA continues its work with the University of Bahrain and other universities in the region to promote excellent teaching. The HEA is also working with Bahrain’s Higher Education Council (HEC), whose role includes promoting performance in the Kingdom’s higher education sector, to build capacity and support the promotion of great teaching through HEA Fellowship and continuous professional development in Bahrain.
Read more about the University of Bahrain’s Unit for Teaching Excellence and Leadership