Senior fellowship: three tips that will help your application

Gustavo Espinoza Ramos explains the importance of applying for a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and gives tips on how to be successful in this process

Gustavo Espinoza Ramos 's avatar
7 Jun 2023
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University of Westminster

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Key Details

This video will cover:

00:46 Routes into senior fellowships

01:03 Reasons for applying

02:43 Three tips to help with your application


Hi, I’m Dr Gustavo Espinoza Ramos, a lecturer in the Westminster business school at the University of Westminster. In this video, I will explain the importance of applying for the senior fellowship of higher education and give three tips that will help you in this process.

The senior fellowship is awarded to professionals who have a proven and sustained track record relating to teaching, learning and curriculum design in higher education. Therefore applicants should demonstrate leadership, management experience, influence and impact on their colleagues’ and students’ education practice.

There are two main routes to gain the senior fellowship: the first one is through a direct application to Advance HE; the second one is through the completion of accredited programmes. I applied through the University of Westminster as it is an accredited member institution.

First of all, why is it important to apply to the senior fellowship? Well, it is a formal recognition and appreciation of your leadership role in higher education, it is recognised and valued by a growing number of international institutions and it is becoming an essential requirement for career progression in higher education institutions worldwide.

If you are still not sure about applying for it, remember that the senior fellowship application focuses on how you can demonstrate impact and influence through leading, managing, mentoring teams, courses and programmes, rather than matching your title or level of seniority. You should talk to other colleagues who hold a senior or principal fellowship to gather some advice regarding your intentions. This will help to build your confidence against your import for the application.

When I applied for a senior fellowship, I was a lecturer, and not a senior one, but I reflected on my leadership role as a module leader and my informal leadership role of influencing my colleagues at university level when using technological tools in online learning. Moreover, you don’t have to be a fellow to apply for senior fellowship, as the fellowship categories are not hierarchical and non-sequential.

Now, I would like to give three tips that will help you to identify the fellowship category suitable to your role and will help your applications for the senior fellowship.

Tip one: complete the fellowship category tool. Advance HE offers this online tool on their website. You will need to complete about 20 questions about your current and past roles – this will help you to identify the most suitable fellowship category for your current work and level of influence. Record your answers and the options available, as this will help you to identify the training you will need to undertake and the leadership activities that you will need to achieve in order to apply for the next fellowship category.

Tip 2: plan and structure ideas. Having a planning document will help you to organise and present your thoughts clearly and concisely, therefore you will be able to structure and keep track of the area of activity, the examples of practice, the artefacts and relevant literature. You can use bullet points, which will help you to organise and edit each section of your application.

Tip 3: be patient. You need to manage your time when working on your application, ensuring you gathered all the evidence accurately, and evaluate the impact of your role and produce an action plan for improving different aspects of your work. For example, it might take time to ask for and receive feedback from your advisor or colleagues that will help you to improve your application. For example, when I was working on my application, I was teaching for 10 hours a week while also leading a module. It took me three and a half months to complete and proofread my application, so a key piece of advice is to set yourself small daily goals when writing your application.

I hope these tips related to completing the fellowship category tool, mapping your ideas and being patient when writing your applications will help you in your senior fellowship application. Please add a comment if there is another tip not included in this video that helped you in your application. Thanks.

Gustavo Espinoza Ramos is a course leader and doctoral researcher at the University of Westminster, UK.

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