Having been HEA Senior Fellow for five years and a Bath Scheme Champion for PoLIS for two years, I was delighted when Dr Rachael Carkett invited me to attend the one-day Advance HE event for Accredited Programme Leaders Network held at Cardiff University on 14th March. We have been discussing how we could explore ways to better support our Senior Fellows, so I was particularly interested when Rachael suggested we could present something about our practice with the Bath Scheme and Senior Fellows. Before Christmas, We invited all 37 Senior Fellows to a meeting at the University with the aim of finding out the impact their SFHEA award had on their professional life and any CPD they thought would be useful. We designed a questionnaire and collected data at the meeting and from those not present. Our ultimate aim was, and still is, to create a community of Senior Fellows across the University that could network internally and externally with Advance HE accredited provision elsewhere. The event was well received and set the basis for our future collaboration and networking. Indeed, the participants expressed their interest in continuing to meet informally and to share ideas about their teaching and supporting roles.
"Overall, the Advance HE members at the event were impressed by our well-established and effective Bath Scheme and by the positive attitude of our Senior Fellows, who recognise the benefits of their HEA Fellowship."
At the Advance HE event in Cardiff, Rachael and I presented the outcomes of the questionnaire. Part of the results appeared to be particularly promising and, possibly, unexpected: achieving HEA recognition tended to be driven equally by extrinsic motivation (e.g.,. getting a promotion to Senior Teaching Fellow or Senior Lecturer) and intrinsic motivation (e.g., personal development and a better understanding of pedagogical issues and implications). Overall, the Advance HE members at the event were impressed by our well-established and effective Bath Scheme and by the positive attitude of our Senior Fellows, who recognise the benefits of their HEA Fellowship. In the round table discussions that followed the presentation, we shared examples of good practice with colleagues from other universities, particularly with those that had only recently joined Advance HE. From these discussions, institutions appear to recognise and reward achievement of SFHEA in different ways, including celebration events and emails to senior managers. At some institutions, applicants were asked at the outset what they planned to do to remain in good standing once they were HEA Senior Fellows. All were keen to consider possible ways in which we could facilitate a global network of Senior Fellows!
As a result of this stimulating event, Rachael and I will continue to facilitate the ‘sustained commitment’ to the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) and our Senior Fellows Network through holding semester meetings. The new Advance HE platform, which will be launched in May 2019, may offer the opportunity to connect our Senior Fellows not only across the University, but also with other HE institutions across the UK and beyond.
Dr Elena Minelli SFHEA, Bath Scheme Champion
Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies