Monday, 12 November 2018

The Higher Education Academy (HEA), which is part of Advance HE, is an independent, non-profit organisation committed to world-class teaching in higher education. It champions teaching and learning within the tertiary sector globally, and aims to improve learning outcomes by raising the status and quality of teaching in higher education. Outside the UK, there are 4047 HEA Fellows around the globe, with 1658 Fellows (41 per cent of non-UK fellows) working in Australian universities.

HEA fellowship provides professional recognition of individual academic and professional staff who: demonstrate experience in, and knowledge of, learning and teaching; have engaged with relevant professional development; and are committed to developing as an educational professional. UWA’s HEA Fellowship Scheme will see Fellowship become available to teachers through a range of pathways.

The HEA Fellowship Scheme

There will be four categories of Fellowship available to UWA’s educators through the HEA Fellowship Scheme.

  • Associate Fellows are early-career academics, teaching assistants and teaching support staff.
  • Fellows are experienced teachers with a broad remit.
  • Senior Fellows are leaders whose work in education has an impact on other educators within and outside their academic institution.
  • Principal Fellows are educators who have demonstrated wide-ranging, sustained strategic leadership.

The Professional Standards Framework (PSF) and application for HEA Fellowship process allows for a variety of evidence to be put forward as the performance indicators are flexible. It gives the applicant choice in the ways in which they choose to demonstrate their achievements. The PSF (Higher Education Academy 2011) includes full details of the Descriptors and Dimensions which guide applications and assessment .

UCL’s HEA Fellowship Journey

As UWA sets up guidance for staff developing HEA Fellowship applications, there are encouraging indications from the UCL data that this will be a positive move for staff who teach and support learning and, by extension, for the students who benefit from the UWA experience. The new data contrasts strongly with earlier data from research-intensive universities. Educational expertise is widely appreciated today, whereas back in 2005, teaching was often ‘…a necessary but rather burdensome or annoying activity’ (Duhs 2007, p.98).

In October 2018, a survey was sent to all 988 holders of Fellowships and 164 responded (17 per cent response rate). The responses were overwhelmingly positive, with Fellows feeling that the fellowship application process was a valuable opportunity for reflection, connection and growth.

Some comments from Fellows include:

‘[The HEA Fellowship process] enabled me to reflect and see how I had developed and the impact I had made. This in itself was beneficial for my confidence and to make a case for further recognition.’

‘In the end I really enjoyed preparing my actual application and I learned a lot about my style of teaching and where it needs improvement, mainly from going through the literature.’

‘…the networking that stems from the sessions is invaluable. I met many fellow applicants all struggling with different aspects of the application and together we were able to encourage each other and share ideas. The set-up of any session means that you feel supported throughout and all support is supplemented with examples and case studies. From start to finish, I felt supported in every aspect.’ ‘The process of reflection, writing down, reading books and articles, looking at case studies has actually helped me improve my teaching. The putting together this information helped me appreciate what I do best but also reflect [on] the things I could do better and the different best practices out there that I could employ.’

The graph below details the growth in numbers of UCL Arena/HEA Fellowship holders at UCL. The HEA-accredited UCL Arena Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Scheme enables UCL staff to gain internationally recognised HEA Fellowships. They are popular, with more than 1000 Fellowships gained by 23 October 2018. Michael Arthur, UCL Provost (Vice Chancellor), gained Principal Fellowship in 2016.

The future for UWA’s HEA Fellowship Scheme

UWA’s Fellowship Scheme has the potential to create a strong interest in enhancing teaching and the support of learning. This is not always easy in a research-intensive university, but UCL has inspired staff by intensifying the focus on research-based approaches to student learning. Fellowship applicants are encouraged to develop according to their own experience in a supportive environment, and most enjoy the experience. They value meeting colleagues from across the University and appreciate the space to consider their teaching and support of learning.

UWA is currently working to establish a founding group of Senior and Principal Fellows with a strong record of teaching excellence and expertise. As the Fellowship Scheme grows, a range of workshops and resources will be put in place to support applicants. The HEA looks forward to working in partnership with UWA to recognise the knowledge, expertise, impact, influence and leadership of UWA’s educators. For more information on the UWA’s HEA Fellowship Scheme contact: [email protected]


Dr Rosalind Duhs, Principal Teaching Fellow, University College London and Associate Director, Centre for Advancing Learning and Teaching


Duhs, R. (2007). "Developing Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: a comparative study of initial training to teach at university in England and Sweden." PhD thesis. Retrieved 29 July 2016, from

Higher Education Academy (2011). "United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework for teaching and support learning in higher education,." Retrieved 27 July 2016, from


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