Applying for the Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) Recognition

This is a guest post by Dr Andrew Youde, Head of Division (Academic & Professional Studies) within the Department of Education and Community Studies at the University of Huddersfield. Andrew Youde is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). 

Over the last three years, I have externally reviewed the University of Derby’s ‘in-house’ SFHEA recognition programme.  As a result, I have read approximately 30 submissions incorporating a wide variety of practice.  To achieve SFHEA recognition candidates must evidence the level 3 descriptors of The UK Professional Standards Framework, and these state they can:

provide evidence of a sustained record of effectiveness in relation to teaching and learning, incorporating for example, the organisation, leadership and/or management of specific aspects of teaching and learning provision. Such individuals are likely to lead or be members of established academic teams.

The key issue here is what is a ‘sustained record of effectiveness’?  Through discussions with colleagues at Derby and an HEA representative, we agreed that between three and four years of practice can be sufficient to be considered ‘sustained’ – although this can depend on the type of activities discussed.   Other descriptors that build on this notion of sustained effectiveness are:

  • successful engagement in continuing professional development in relation to teaching, learning, assessment, scholarship and, as appropriate, related academic or professional practices;
  • successful co-ordination, support, supervision, management and/or mentoring of others (whether individuals and/or teams) in relation to teaching and learning.

The evidence submitted (5,000 words) comprises a Reflective Account of Practice (RAP) – a reflective commentary on the candidate’s education roles and experience, and two case studies outlining successful contributions made to teaching and learning in HE.

As an external reviewer, the case studies I have read have been varied.  Examples include:

  • technology enhanced learning initiatives;
  • module leadership;
  • course development/leadership;
  • employability/enterprise initiatives;
  • foreign exchange/study visits;
  • curriculum developments;
  • international student initiatives;
  • Postgraduate Research initiatives;
  • leading research supervision;
  • academic skills initiatives.

It took two days for me to write a draft version of my SFHEA application, but I was able to develop the RAP from my HEA Fellowship submission and a previous job application – thus saving some time.  The hardest (and most frustrating) part is referencing the submission against the Descriptors.  This includes making reference to the Dimensions of the Framework (Areas of the Framework, Core Knowledge, Professional Values) which are also evidenced in FHEA submissions – this took a full morning on its own.  I would say recognition is relatively easy to achieve for colleagues who have led practice/provision for approximately four years: it is a matter of blocking out the time and writing the application.

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What makes good teaching?

University of Huddersfield campus January 2016 by @olaojo15 CC-BY

University of Huddersfield campus January 2016 by @olaojo15 CC-BY

Before the Christmas break in December 2015, a number of colleagues were invited by Dr Jane Tobbell to get together to informally discuss what they thought good teaching was. These are some of the main points that were raised that day.

Good teaching…

  • is about making students think
  • enables students to ask good questions (and what constitutes a good question may depend on disciplinary traditions/methods of inquiry)
  • challenges students and makes it clear what learning is and that students need to take responsibility for learning
  • is about good course design – including assessment (and communication of this design to students)
  • sets out clear expectations for what students can and should contribute
  • creates an environment where peer learning is central and embedded
  • is shaped by student feedback

There was some really interesting discussion around how you know a teaching session has been successful in terms of student learning. Some further thoughts were:

  • A focus on content delivery can be counterproductive.
  • Although good teaching is not about performance and entertainment it is about engaging students through enthusiasm and passion (and humour/silliness depending on the person teaching).
  • Good teaching is developed by shared practice and freedom to innovate. Promoting team teaching and informal peer observation are ways to develop mentoring relationships between colleagues
  • There is value in doing pre-entry and post-University research to determine outcomes

Successful teaching is about transformation not satisfaction and is therefore a matter of longitudinal effect. We all agreed that we need to think about what the things/actions/activities/reflections are that indicate transformation.

Posted by Kathrine Jensen, Research Assistant at the Teaching and Learning Institute @kshjensen

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National Teaching Fellows’ Interview Series: Jonathan Glazzard

This short interview was conducted with Dr Jonathan Glazzard, a National Teaching Fellow, at the University of Huddersfield’s Teaching & Learning Festival 2015.

Jonathan talks about an inspirational teacher from his days as a primary school teacher who has influenced his Higher Education (HE) teaching philosophy and practice.

He also said in the video that “the best teaching advise, I think I have received, was when I went to a teaching and learning conference a few years ago. The speaker talked about engaging learners and hooking learners in the learning and really inspiring learners through creative and innovative approaches by providing learners with first-hand experiences.”

See his profile on the Higher Education Academy website

Posted by Olaojo Aiyegbayo (@olaojo15)

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A productive and happy collaboration: why working together works

janet_hargreavesAs part of a seminar series here at the University of Huddersfield, Professor Janet Hargreaves, who was awarded National Teaching Fellow in 2012, gave a talk about collaboration.

Throughout Janet’s career she has aimed to work in a collegiate way; a situation which though often messy and difficult can also be ultimately rewarding. In the session Janet explored a range of projects that had positive outcomes as well as pitfalls – many of which were unpredicted – as a starting point for discussion around the highs and lows of attempting to meet project outcomes though collaboration.

Janet looked back at her experience of working collaboratively on a project that developed the Preparation for placement assessment tool

Below are some of the points made by Prof Hargreaves, in relation to what were considered to be success factors:

  • The project drew on a wealth of experiences and skills from across Schools, Services and the student body.
  • The students involved in the project were paid for their time and all team members treated equally.
  • A culture of mutual respect for skills and contributions was nurtured – Janet stressed the importance of building a really strong team in order for collaboration to be successful.
  • An incremental series of workshops were used to develop the PPAT – there were no constraints, all ideas generated were considered for development.

Finally, Janet underlined that you have to be prepared to take a risk and to accept ideas that you might not have started with.

Posted by @kshjensen

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National Teaching Fellows’ Interview Series: Kevin Orr

This short interview was conducted with Dr Kevin Orr, a National Teaching Fellow, at the University of Huddersfield’s Teaching & Learning Festival 2015.

Kevin talks about an inspirational teaching influence in this video. A teacher who taught him when he was 16 and who was able to make his subject ‘sing’.

“He made me realise how a topic or subject can be interesting. You don’t have to necessarily do interesting or lively things in class if you can get people interested in what you are talking about.”

He also talks about how the National teaching Fellowship award has helped him connect with a large community of practitioners abroad.

See his profile on the Higher Education Academy website

Posted by Olaojo Aiyegbayo (@olaojo15)

Posted in Conference, Education and Professional Development, professional development, student engagement, Teaching, Uncategorized, UTF/NTF | Leave a comment

Shaping the Future of Learning Together – #altc 2015

Although I have been a member of Association for Learning Technology (ALT) for a while, I have never been to the annual conference. This year, however, this year I was fortunate to be supported by my institution to attend over the three days in Manchester (8–10 September 2015, University of Manchester, UK). There were a number of University of Huddersfield colleagues presenting work and hanging out as can be seen on the photo where Jess Power, Sue Folley, Vidya Kannara and Amanda Tinker (from left to right in focus of photo here) appear to be plotting something.


Photo credit : Chris Bull (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Already before the conference, I was slightly overwhelmed by the extensive programme and spent a long time trying to decide on what sessions to go to. But the reality of ‘being there’ became much more about getting a sense of the alt community than the specific content of any sessions. There are so many ways to follow-up on interesting projects besides attending a conference session. And some presenters, like Catherine Cronin and Viv Rolfe, created some very rich resources to accompany their presentation and enable people to explore open education: Going Open at #altc 2015, Wiki, video & summary of tweets from #altc session by Vivien Rolfe and Catherine Cronin.

I was really pleased that the conference was less focused on technology than I perhaps expected and that interesting discussions about education were happening. I really like these points made by Jonathan Worth and Donna Lanclos:

Some of my highlights from the conference are:

      • Keynotes were live streamed and available – how fantastic. Find them here:
      • The two students who joined Steve Wheeler’s keynote, Kate Bartlett (@kate_bartlett93) and Becca Smallshaw (@Becca_Smallshaw) were great because they highlighted the contextual and contingent nature of using learning technologies. And they both blogged about their experience of being at #altc (see the link in their names)
    • The game where we tried to defeat the evil bot was a great addition to conference activities, just added some great ways to engage with others. Although I was rubbish at collecting the required stickers – especially compared to Hayley Atkinson, who did some amazing robot dancing to earn stickers!
    • The questioning of predictions about the future of learning technologies, obsession with what will be the next thing, and dissection of the ‘hype cycle’ by David Kernohan in his presentation “I watch the ripples change their size but never leave the stream
    • Learning from Jonathan Worth’s keynote about the videos on Privacy and Trust in Open Education, make sure you take a look
    • Meeting people in real life that I only know from Twitter was exciting

If you want to read more, take a look at what other participants thought, there are some really useful summaries and valuable reflections in here:

Posted by Kathrine Jensen (@kshjensen)

Posted in Blended learning, Conference, Education and Professional Development, Learning design, Learning experience, Learning technology, pedagogy, professional development, Research, student engagement, Teaching | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

2015 Thank You Awards

Photo used by K

Image Source: Students’ Union

The University of Huddersfield’s annual ‘Thank You’ awards ceremony was held on Monday, April 27 at St. Paul’s Hall. This event was organised by the Students’ Union, in partnership with the Teaching and Learning Institute. Around 60 University staff members, SU delegates and some students attended this ceremony. A total of 299 members of staff were nominated by 653 students for the ‘Thank You’ awards. 56 nominees were shortlisted by the Judging Panel and they were allocated to one of three categories: ‘Inspirational Teaching’, ‘Exceptional Student Support’, and ‘Enhancing the Student Experience.’ The Judging Panel also created a new award this year for the ‘Outstanding staff member across the three categories’ as result of the quality of student nominations received by a particular academic staff member.

The Pro-Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, Professor Tim Thornton, highlighted the importance of having students’ voices in the Thank You awards’ scheme. Students at the University of Huddersfield have the opportunity to nominate any staff member who has had a positive impact on their University experience and the awards ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate such colleagues. Continue reading

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