The 50,000th fellow of the Higher Education Academy said that such a signal achievement was not an immediate concern for her when she became an academic.
In her two years of teaching, Shelly Kemp, a psychology lecturer from the University of Buckingham, said she “always just wanted to enjoy what I’m doing”.
But when her institution offered the opportunity to earn a postgraduate certificate in higher education teaching on a course accredited by the HEA – and in doing so to gain fellow status – she was quick to sign up.
“I wanted to do it because I always want to achieve the best in what I do,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to make the students happy…so I always knew I had to be a good teacher.”
Dr Kemp, who was made an associate fellow of the HEA, said that “just because you’ve got a PhD, [it] doesn’t mean you’re qualified to teach”, so the scheme “definitely…helps and makes people evaluate their teaching”.
She said that being awarded fellow status was the first milestone in what she hoped would be a long association with the HEA. “I’ll definitely be aligning myself with the UKPSF [UK Professional Standards Framework]. I just feel that that’s the way to go with your teaching, it’s good to have that guidance,” she said. “We can all speak to our colleagues, but it’s good to have some external standard to work towards so that we can always monitor our progress.”
Although being an HEA fellow is not yet a mandatory requirement in many institutions, Dr Kemp said that she was frequently recommending it to her colleagues.
“Students want to know they’re getting quality. They can do self-learning, and it’s very important, but they need someone they can trust in and someone who can give them quality in their experience,” she said.
Since Dr Kemp gained her associate fellowship at the end of last year, the number of fellows has “tipped 51,000”, according to Mark Jones, director of services at the HEA, so “we’re obviously going at pace now”.
In 2012, the University of Huddersfield became the first institution to announce that all its lecturers were fellows of the HEA, increasing from a quarter in only four years.
With Dr Kemp’s achievement, Dr Jones believes “the HEA fellowship and the UKPSF are really well embedded within the sector now”.
Tiers of recognition: HEA fellowships
There are four fellowship levels available under the Higher Education Academy’s scheme. According to Mark Jones, the HEA’s director of services, each one allows academics “to demonstrate your practice at different levels of experience, whether you’re new to teaching or you’ve been working in the field all your life”.
Status is most appropriate for support staff, staff who are new to teaching, or staff who may support teaching and learning as only one part of their role.
Status represents a benchmark of good practice for the higher education sector. Fellows are typically undertaking a wide range of teaching activities and have engaged in continuing professional development to support a reflective approach to teaching.
Status is designed to recognise the achievements of staff who have had an influence on professional practice beyond their own teaching. Senior fellows will be staff who take on leadership or management roles, demonstrating a sustained record of effectiveness.
Status recognises the achievements of champions of effective practice within higher education. Principal fellows will be staff with a sustained record of effective strategic leaderships within an institution and beyond.
Angus Lamond, Wellcome Trust principal research fellow and professor of biochemistry at the University of Dundee, has been made a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Bath Spa University has named Sarah McKenzie academic director of Bath Spa Global, the university’s new international student education initiative, which launched last month.
A scholar of modern British history and fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Matthew Cragoe, has been appointed pro vice-chancellor and head of the College of Arts at the University of Lincoln. He joins from the University of Sussex.
Liverpool John Moores University has appointed Anne Scott to the post of dean of the Faculty of Education, Health and Community. Professor Scott was most recently deputy president and registrar of Dublin City University.
Brunel University has announced the appointment of three new deans and three directors of new institutes. Paul Hellewell, Zahir Irani and David Gilbert have been made deans of the College of Health and Life Sciences, the College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences and the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences respectively. Susan Jobling, Savvas Tassou and Luiz Wrobel are to become directors of the Environment, Health and Societies Institute, the Energy Futures Institute and the Materials and Manufacturing Institute, respectively.
Gavin Reid has been appointed head of the Dundee Business School at Abertay University. He joined this month on a part-time basis and will take up the role full-time in August.