Author: Jack Howell
I found out about the Bath Scheme and the HEA during our technician training week. It seemed like a good way to gain recognition of the teaching that we do as technicians, as well as a chance to reflect and improve. It’s also been listed as a ‘desirable’ quality on job adverts elsewhere in HE as a way to give an edge to staff who already teach over external candidates and thought I’d get ahead of the curve in case Bath followed suit.
As technicians we teach and support learning in many different ways. This ranges from the more obvious things such as the practical machining classes and 'Design and Build' sessions, through to informal teaching that we give one-to-one to students when they approach us for help with design, set up or manufacture. Being better at teaching and imparting knowledge is beneficial to the people we teach as they’re more likely to take in what we’re explaining, but also to ourselves as it reduces our workload if students have a higher level of competency.
The process of application was a bit daunting at first. Not coming from an academic background I didn’t really know how to structure the application or anything about academic referencing conventions. First I approached our departmental champion and expressed my interest. I then attended an introduction to the Bath Scheme day that went through the basics of what was expected. Once I’d had a look at a couple of previous applications and got the ball rolling it became much easier. I’d already done a couple of peer reviews which made it much easier to evidence some of the criteria for AFHEA (peer review is a mandatory requirement). I took the opportunity to go to a few ‘Shut Up and Write’ sessions throughout the year, where I was able to sit down and spend an hour on my application with staff development nearby to help with any questions. The staff development team were very helpful, especially Rachael Carkett, who helped me prepare my drafts until such a point as I was able to submit my final draft. I then just followed the guidance on the Moodle page to submit and a month or so after I heard that my application was approved by the panel!
So far the benefit from gaining AFHEA has been in improving my teaching skills, not to mention being able to put letters after my name and collecting a bottle of wine at the Xmas party! Other universities have added accreditations as desirable qualities on job adverts as part of the Technician Commitment, so if Bath adopts something similar I’ll be ahead of the curve.