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170,000th fellow says ‘do not be afraid of digging deep’ when applying for fellowship

11 Jul 2023 | Advance HE Fellowship has surpassed 170,000 fellows, with more than 15,000 based outside of the UK. Our 170,000th fellow, Judy Clayton from Monash University in Australia, shares why she applied and what she would say to others thinking of fellowship.

Judy Clayton is the 170,000th fellow, achieving Senior Fellowship through an accredited Fellowship scheme at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.  

Judy is an Associate Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. She is currently with the Master of Advanced Nursing (Nurse Practitioner Stream) supporting the development of prescribing practices and the therapeutic management of medication and works with Master of Advanced Nursing students in leadership and management for health care practice. 

We spoke to Judy to find out more about why she applied for fellowship, its impact and her advice to those considering fellowship in the future. 

Why did you apply for Senior Fellowship? 

I applied for Senior Fellowship on the advice of a colleague in education design. She quite literally directed me to aim for the stars - her being an astrophysicist may have had something to do with the suggested trajectory! Allie recognised my capacity to develop student-centred communities of learning using new technologies (such as Zoom) during Covid. Using an authentic student-centred teaching style enabled me to 'be with' my students when I literally could not 'be with' my students. By having a respected mentor recognise my capacities in this was humbling.  

But why did I apply? I applied because I believed that I was both a skilled nurse and an empathic, authentic educator. If this was true, then I believed this was worthy of reward.  

How did you influence the practice of your colleagues to gain Senior Fellowship?  

An innovation in teaching and learning that I focused on in my SF application was based on using digital technologies to create a community of learners. I work in a faculty that embraces innovation in education and encourages sharing which also avoids duplication. To share this with my colleagues I presented it at our school-wide semester meetings and roundtable. Staff wanted to know more and approached me directly to see how this might transform their online teaching space. I met with them individually and shared the research and design that supported its use, exploring how this might look in the context of their own subjects and flexing the parameters to suit their student need.  

In a similar format, I collaborated with peers after I had developed an exam method that enabled higher order thinking without time pressures to take into account the variety of ways in which students learn. Essentially, I collaborated, shared and mentored peers thus influencing their practice. 

It was satisfying to be able to see my innovations cascade out through my colleagues to have wider impact on students.  

What do you think will be the impact of your Senior Fellowship on students? 

Before completing the Senior Fellowship, I thought that I was good at knowing the needs of students and myself but there was some doubt. Having undertaken the journey, I now know myself and my abilities, how much I still want to grow into this, and believe that this will flow on to the students.  

Ultimately, it has enabled me to be confident in my abilities which frees me to be my best self with students, all I have ever wanted with them. If I can be a role model for my nursing colleagues and students in that regard, then I consider myself successful because I want to grow the nurses that patients want to have caring for them in the middle of the night when they are in pain. I think this is the impact the Senior Fellowship will have on students.  

What advice would you give to someone considering working towards fellowship?  

Don't second guess yourself if the opportunity is offered to complete the fellowship, and when you have committed, start straight away. Six months might seem like a long time but consider how long it takes to really look at yourself and the educator you are, and the time runs away.  

Engage with colleagues who are fellows and make time to catch up regularly to talk through your journey. If you have an excuse for not doing it, put it aside. The challenge is worth it.  

Finally, do not be afraid of digging deep. Don't circle around yourself, just dig really, really deep. It's gold down there and what you learn about yourself will surprise you. 

Institutions can find out more about Teaching and Learning Accreditation here 

Individuals looking to gain fellowship by direct application can find out more here 


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