I've now set up a twitter account for the Statistics for Humanities site.
The following list is ten things I believe it is particularly useful to remember when applying for Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, through the Professional Recognition Route. My thoughts are focused particularly on the Associate (D1) and Fellowship (D2) levels though they apply to Senior (D3) and Principal (D4) as well. Here at Brighton it is our aspiration that all teaching staff have, or are working towards, a recognised teaching qualification by 2015, and the HEA's Professional Recognition is likely to be the main route for more experienced academic staff.
- Remember the Fellowship is a teaching and learning in higher education award, not a qualification in being an academic. The Fellowships of the Higher Education Academy are concerned with teaching and learning in higher education. Other aspects of the academic role such as research, involvement in academic societies, administrations etc., may be relevant to the Fellowship application, but only in as much as they relate to learning and teaching in higher education.
- Remember the Fellowship is a teaching and learning in higher education award, and not a recognition for a long career. It is tempting to include everything you have done over the course of your career, but it is not a recognition for everything you have done over the course of your career. Teaching outside higher education and other work/ or outside work experience may be relevant, but only insofar that it relates to learning and teaching in higher education. This may involve leaving out the achievements of which you are most proud.
- Remember the Fellowship is a teaching and learning in higher education award, and not a reward for good character. Getting on well with colleagues, being liked and appreciated by others and being a helpful person are all good qualities. However, fellowships are not awarded for being a nice person or having people say nice things about you, but showing evidence of your learning and teaching practice.
- Remember to focus on teaching and learning in higher education. Other qualifications are awarded for teaching in (or learning to teach in) sectors other than higher education. These experiences may be relevant to your practice of teaching and learning in higher education, but they are not substitutes for learning and teaching in higher education.
- Remember that teaching and learning in higher education takes many forms. Academic development, developing teaching materials, pedagogic research in higher education and designing and delivering workshops are all suitable examples of teaching and learning and in higher education and supporting these activities. Assessment can be formative, as well as summative. Students can be colleagues or professionals as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students.
- Remember to explicitly reference the professional values, core knowledge and areas of activity in the UK Professional Standards Framework. These three areas of the UKPSF are central to the process and should be explicitly referenced in your application. Do not rely on the assessors to spot the relevance of each activity or case study to the UKPSF.
- Remember to be reflective. The fellowship application is not just about what you have done, but what you have learnt from that experience, and its impact on your future practice.
- Remember to demonstrate that you are familiar with literature or theory on teaching and learning in higher education. Like any other scholarly field, there is a vast literature around teaching and learning in higher education. You don’t need to be an expert but evidence of engagement with the literature is important. This literature can ‘generic’ and/or specific to your discipline.
- Remember the Fellowship is an individual award. Teamwork is good, but the HEA fellowships are awards for individuals. If describing a team activity make your role clear. Be careful how you use the pronoun ‘we’ and how you write about “The department”, “The centre”, “The project team”, “My colleague” etc.
- Remember the references are an important part of the application. The referees you might choose when applying for a job are not necessarily the most appropriate for commenting on your teaching and learning practice. Think about which colleagues are best placed to provide your reference.
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Todays’ post is inspired by reading Chapter 4 of Stephen Brooksfield’s book The Skillful Teacher.
What follows is a crude summary of the chapter entitled “What students value in teachers”. It is also inspired in the background, by a rather nonsensical article (in my view) in a recent ‘Comment is Free’ post in the Guardian entitled “Why do private schools attract the most memorable teachers?” This view is mostly backed-up the fact that Alan Bennett’s ‘History Boys’ has been voted Britain’s favourite play. The piece then goes on about as other teachers from fiction, yes fiction.
I am firm in my conviction that there are great teachers in all sorts of schools at all levels. Just because I attended a comprehensive school and have failed to write an award winning play centring on a character loosely based on one of my school teachers does not mean that I had no great (however defined) teachers. (Reminding myself write a piece about grammar schools in the near future).
To return back to where I started, to be valued by students Brookfield identifies two main attributes of skilful teachers, credibility and authenticity. These can be broken down into further categories:
Having expertise about the subject
Being experienced in what you are teaching about.
Rationale: Being explicit about assumptions. Not sounding like you’re making it up.
Conviction: Coming across as people teaching something important.
Congruence: This is congruence between our words and actions. Brookfield gives the example of claiming to value critical thinking, yet shutting down any sense of debate.
Full disclosure: Making your criteria, expectations and agendas clear and explicit.
Responsiveness: I suppose we could call this one responding to student feedback (not the same thing as capitulation).
Personhood: Boing a real person with a life outside the classroom and not be an “institutional functionary”.
Saw this video about depression today from WHO. Good description, good message.
I dislike strike days. I don't like to admit to being on strike. I don't like to admit to not being on strike. I reason that I am actually very well paid by the standards of most people in the UK. I also recognise that many people in the university sector are not quite so fortunate, whether they be the admin staff, the porters, or those academic colleagues on short-term contracts or how are paid by the hour-- in some universities on zero hours contracts.
My first real encounter with strike action took place back in 2003 or 2004. Although not enthusiastic about the strike I agreed to man a picket line. Getting abused by an elderly man complaining about council tax was not a high point, but watching colleagues cross the picket line was a particularly difficult experience. If they actually opposed the strike action, I wouldn't have minded. However the colleagues were going in to teach classes as to not disrupt student learning, yet promising to tell the university that they had been on strike. A strike which does which has no effect on anything is hardly a strike.
Many academics will be on strike today doing research. They reason that research is their own private project and not the universities. I don't buy into this reasoning, but I can sort of see how this might justify getting a research day in when this wouldn't otherwise happen. Either way I remain I'm unconvinced that strikes in higher education actually make a difference in the longer term.
So what have I being doing today? Am I on strike?
I've read an academic paper.
I've helped the owner of a small business with setting up her website.
I've written this blog post.
I've attempted to write some other stuff, but feel a bit of block.
I had no meetings or classes timetabled for today, so I reason no one was inconvenienced by me staying at home.