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.