Talking Teaching: Why I became a HEA Fellow, by Dr Momodou Sallah

Without HEA Fellowship, my job would have been so much more difficult.
– Dr Momodou Sallah, Senior Lecturer, Health and Life Sciences, De Montfort University

Dr Momodou Sallah is a Senior Lecturer in Health and Life Sciences at De Montfort University. A HEA Fellow and a National Teaching Fellow, he was also named Most Innovative Teacher of the Year at the 2015 Times Higher Education Awards in recognition of his pioneering work taking students on life changing trips to The Gambia, allowing them to experience Gambian culture and history while at the same time enabling communities to develop. Here Momodou relates how the professional development that he has undertaken – and the recognition he’s achieved for his teaching – has made a huge difference not only to his career but also his students.

I became a HEA Fellow through completing a PGCE in 2008. The HEA recognition of expertise gives you a benchmark. It’s a signal that you’ve reached a specific level. I’ve started looking at Senior Fellowship and Principal Fellowship now. The HEA’s work to support people who teach is important.

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (which the HEA manages) has also been a vital support. I would not have been able to do my work in The Gambia, taking classroom learning into the real world, without this critical benchmark. I have led trips to The Gambia with third-year students so that they can take part in community development work and observe first-hand some of the globalisation challenges they have been studying. This has now been extended beyond my own classes so that other students can take part in community development linked to their own studies.

De Montfort University takes teaching excellence very seriously. DMU Teacher Fellows are appointed each year after a competitive process during which they must show how they want to develop as leaders within the university. They work in faculties and lead scholarship and disseminate good teaching across DMU.

Being recognised for teaching makes a big difference and opens doors. It gets your work taken more seriously. Without HEA Fellowship, my job would have been so much more difficult.


You can read more posts from HEA Fellows in our Talking Teaching series here.