Achieving Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy via TeachBU

At BU we are keen to strengthen the quality of teaching through the provision of continuing development opportunities for staff. Achievement of professional recognition by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) demonstrates continuing professional development and professionalism in teaching and the support of student learning.

Under BU2025, our students will have a personalised, inter-disciplinary and consistently excellent learning experience and BU’s CPD scheme TeachBU is one of the ways we can support the leadership and delivery of this.

Dr Emma Portch, Academic in Psychology in the Faculty of Science & Technology, achieved Fellowship via TeachBU having joined BU in January 2018.

Having achieved Fellowship I now approach my teaching differently. When planning lectures and seminars I carefully consider the learning objectives and potential barriers to learning to decide how best to deliver content in a way that both challenges and engages the student.

I now feel more confident in my ability to design a range of interactive tasks to include in my teaching, and am more mindful of the need to use student feedback and self-motivated reflective practices as the impetus for content modification.

With a background in managing and leading educational initiatives Mark Ridolfo, a Principal Academic in the Faculty of Management, was awarded Senior Fellowship.

Education is at the forefront of everything we do at Bournemouth University, and I believe that to be an effective educator, you have to be committed to your personal and professional development and be prepared to challenge yourself.

The process of writing my application enabled me to think reflectively and critically about my educational practice, as well as to engage with learning, teaching and assessment literature. I received a sense of pride in what I have achieved, combined with the desire to keep innovating and striving to provide an excellent learning experience for students.

Support for Applying for Fellowship of the HEA
There is much support available for colleagues to help in applying for Fellowship. Both Emma & Mark utilised the support that is available including attending introductory workshops, accessing sample case studies and discussions with Faculty mentors.

Mark adds, “I accessed all the support that was made available – all of these interactions were hugely beneficial, not just practically, but motivationally.”

Emma & Mark have shared below their own top tips for colleagues working on their application along with some questions they are freqently asked:

Top Tips

  1. Ensure to use the recommended template to structure and support your case studies – i.e. identify a specific problem to address, demonstrate how you intend to address that problem, using pedagogical literature to support you arguments, comment on implementation and reflect on success – I found this approach to be really helpful
  2. Allow plenty of time and don’t believe anyone who says you can “do it in a couple of days”
  3. Ensure case studies are kept tightly focused around a specific problem/implementation strategy, rather than providing a list of your teaching experiences and successes
  4. If you struggle to independently reflect on your teaching practices, remember that you can use student feedback (personal communications or MUSE evaluations) as an additional form of evaluation
  5. As with any piece of writing, get something down quickly, even though it won’t be perfect at first

Frequently Asked Questions

How many examples do I need to provide for the mapping section?
Enough to demonstrate that you tick each of the boxes on the specification, but try to keep your case study material unique.

It’s really important to look at the templates and exemplars that are available, in order to decide how far you want to ‘drill down’. We often take what we do for granted and gloss over what are often complex activities. Try to break activities down into sub-categories, reflecting on all areas of activity.

I have never been a unit lead. Is my experience sufficient to apply for Fellowship?
Remember that there are a number of different teaching experiences that you can reflect upon in your case studies, from designing tasks for a single, targeted seminar, to supervising dissertation students. The key is to take ownership of, and reflect convincingly on your teaching practices, independent of how limited you consider the scope.

How many pedagogical references should I include?
You should be able to use to pedagogical literature to justify (a) why your identified problem is important, and (b) why your chosen remediation strategy may be beneficial, but remember that your case studies should showcase your ability to engage in teaching-related problem-solving and reflection, thus you should carefully consider weighting.

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