“I would definitely recommend going for Fellowship to early career researchers and early career academics.” – Stella Mouroutsou, Lecturer in Education, University of Stirling.
Stella Mouroutsou was a PhD student when she first heard about the Higher Education Academy. Working towards her first job in higher education, she decided to find out more. Now Stella is an Associate Fellow. Here she talks about her fledgling teaching career in HE and the road to Fellowship.
When I went through the application process for Associate Fellowship, I was still a PhD student at Glasgow University. I am now a lecturer at the University of Stirling where I started in July, and an Associate Fellow as well! So there’s been a lot of changes going on in my life recently, all of them good. But then change is something I am used to.
I originally come from Greece and arrived in Scotland four years ago for my studies. The weather in Greece is a bit different to the weather in Glasgow, but that wasn’t so important for me – I wanted to focus on my studies and my PhD, which was in Education. While I was in Glasgow I was able to get some teaching experience, working with undergraduates and postgraduates in parallel to my PhD studies. I really enjoyed that. I am currently teaching the Bachelor degree in primary education at the University of Stirling. More specifically, I am involved in teaching modules on literacy, numeracy, the purposes of education and from the next semester inclusive education. Policy enactment and inclusive education are my specialist areas, making sure that children are welcomed by their schools and given the chance to learn, contribute and participate in all areas of school life.
I found out about HEA Fellowship during the last year of my studies at Glasgow University. Straight away I was really interested in discovering more. I sensed it would be extremely beneficial for me. I’d taught children of pre-school and primary school age in both Greece and Glasgow, but I knew that the experience of teaching adults would be very different. I wanted to broaden my skills. I wanted to adapt my teaching. I wanted to feel more confident with my teaching in higher education. And I felt this would be a way of doing all that.
I would definitely recommend going for Fellowship to early career researchers and early career academics; other PhD students at the University of Glasgow, staff at the University of Stirling, people who have followed a similar path to myself coming here from abroad to study and then work in higher education. For me, it was about improving my confidence in teaching in higher education more than anything. But it has also helped in terms of theory and practice, enabling me to understand why I was doing specific things while I was teaching. All the time when I was writing my application, I was thinking ‘OK, I was doing this because of that’. It helps you put all the pieces together, justifying why things are done the way they are. I’m really glad I decided to do it. I’ve learned so much about teaching, and about myself.