Dr Rachael Carkett, Centre for Learning & Teaching, and Dr Jane White, Mathematical Sciences, were delighted to be awarded National Teaching Fellowship at a glittering ceremony in Manchester held in October. The National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) Scheme celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education. We asked Rachael a few questions about her award and what it means to her and her practice.
What does it mean to be a National Teaching Fellow, and what does it mean in practice for you?
Winning and receiving the award means a tremendous amount to me. I am very proud of my achievement and my badge! I view it as the pinnacle of my academic/Educational Development career in many ways; a career I hadn’t anticipated when I entered HE as a first generation mature student with a young family having completed an Access to HE course. I am hoping the award will offer new development opportunities for me. For example, I am keen to work with and support staff from Bath also seeking a NTF. With 10 NTFs now at Bath, I would like to explore how we can utilise this enthusiasm and excellence for learning and teaching in some way to address learning and teaching agendas. I would also like to contribute to the Association of National Teaching Fellows (ANTF) group in promoting and supporting excellence in teaching.
What do you think impressed the NTFS Panel – what did you base your claim on?
An application has to successfully meet three criteria and demonstrate “an outstanding impact on students outcomes and/or the teaching profession”. For criterion 1, individual excellence, I drew upon examples from my practice as an Academic/Educational Developer working with colleagues in different universities to enhance and transform the teaching, assessment and feedback practices of HE professionals who teach students. For criterion 2, raising the profile of excellence, I provided many examples of sustained impact from my mentoring and leadership practice. This has benefited individuals and teams with their professional development provision in many HEIs and educational organisations in the UK and overseas. Finally as a life-long learner, with a strong commitment to continuing professional development, developing excellence (criterion 3) felt very straightforward for me. Over the years, I have always sought to participate in new development opportunities such as External Examining and Reviewer roles. My work with SEDA (Staff and Educational Development Association) and as an Advance HE Accreditor for many years has enabled me to develop my professional practice and to draw upon it to inform and influence others. My contributions were recognised in terms of reach, value and impact.
What advice would you give a colleague who is considering making an application?
Read the criteria! Gather evidence over time of what you do and what impact that has had in terms of learning and teaching and student outcomes. You need to consider how you will measure that impact and so that needs to be built into your practice. Also, think about how you have helped others develop their practice and what value that has been to them. My other advice would be to seek out opportunities that widen your reach and the scope of your work, both nationally and internationally if possible. Make sure you get whatever help you can to support you through the process. And a final thought: build in time to draft and re-draft several versions of your application!