Talking Teaching: Why I became a HEA Fellow, by Paul Luke

“I am very proud of the title of HEA Fellow.”
– Paul Luke, Senior Lecturer, Leeds College of Art


Paul Luke is a Senior Lecturer at Leeds College of Art and a Higher Education Academy Fellow.

I have had a varied and exciting career to date. I started as a graphic artist for Sony Music and have since produced work for clients such as Topman, H&M and Adidas, along with commercial editorial work for publications including The Independent and Elle. In 2010 I returned to Leeds College of Art as a lecturer, where my teaching remains heavily influenced by my continued external industry engagement.

Since getting involved in education, I haven’t been able to put time aside to reflect on what I’m doing as an educator and where it has taken me. My HEA Fellowship application was a great opportunity for me to do this and the process of applying for Fellowship was almost therapeutic at times. I really found the overall experience of becoming a HEA Fellow very enriching.

I am now very proud of the title of HEA Fellow. It has definitely boosted my confidence as a lecturer and has boosted the recognition of my professional career. My Fellowship title has also been acknowledged by several colleagues within my institution whom have kindly congratulated me!

As my specific discipline is extremely visually-focused, it was sometimes a challenge to describe my work through words. The Fellowship process is very thorough and sometimes quite exacting. However, I feel this is duly appropriate for such a prestigious accolade. With this in mind, I felt incredibly supported by the HEA team during the application process from start to finish. All the guidance you need is there. I would very much encourage people thinking of applying for a Fellowship to do so.

In terms of changes to my teaching, I often now refer to my Fellowship application to remind me of what creative and academic work I have done in the past. It becomes easy to forget what we’ve successfully done previously, especially as I enjoy rearranging existing innovative work which in turn helps me to maintain a contemporary teaching style and delivery.