Talking teaching: Why I became an HEA Fellow, by Professor Michael Arthur


“What better way to demonstrate my commitment to excellent teaching than by becoming an HEA Principal Fellow.”
Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost, University College London and HEA Principal Fellow

Professor Arthur has recently become the first Vice-Chancellor of a Russell Group university to become an HEA Principal Fellow. Launching a new series of insightful posts that will appear on our blog over the coming weeks, brought to you by HEA Fellows from across the sector, Professor Arthur talks about his own relationship with the HEA and the role of teaching in UK higher education institutions in 2016.

“Teaching has always been on the map alongside research, as far as I’m concerned. They are of equal importance in universities and I have sought to highlight that wherever I have worked.

“I started thinking about HEA Principal Fellowship because I had a lifetime of work in education and teaching across three different universities – Southampton, Leeds and UCL – that I wanted to pull together. Once I started, I thought, why haven’t I done this before? I was well supported by the HEA and very pleased to be able to achieve such a high level.” 

Professor Arthur applied for Principal Fellowship through UCL Arena, a programme of professional development in which UCL staff can gain recognition of their teaching from the HEA. The University now has over 260 HEA Fellows at various levels. Many applicants have commented on their appreciation for the opportunity to review their educational work and say that they find the experience self-affirming.

“At UCL, we have got a huge push on research-based teaching. I am passionate about it and the benefits for students. I wanted to send a loud signal that we are focused on excellent teaching. The HEA is the senior professional body for learning and teaching. What better way to demonstrate my commitment to excellent teaching than by taking part in the application process and becoming an HEA Principal Fellow.

“The Teaching Excellence Framework wasn’t on the agenda when I was doing my application but hopefully my Principal Fellowship helps to send a message that Vice-Chancellors of institutions like ours take teaching seriously.

“I have always held the HEA in high regard since my time at Leeds. We led the way with HEA Fellows and National Teaching Fellows.  I will be very proud to use the post nominal of PFHEA, and I hope that it helps to send a clear signal to our university community about the importance that we attach to teaching at UCL.”