In January 2019 I became the inaugural Professor of Business Education in King’s Business School at King’s College London, and by September I had become their Vice Dean for Education. I can honestly say that I’m not sure I would have secured these roles if I had not been recognised for my teaching practice and educational leadership with a National Teaching Fellowship. The NTF has the potential to propel one’s career into new and exciting places and I am grateful for the opportunities which it has unlocked for me. I will summarise the impact and journey with three main areas of reflection: support, networks and confidence.
I remain indebted to Anglia Ruskin University who put in place a structure to support colleagues with their NTF and CATE journeys. As a Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law (2013-18) I witnessed first-hand how important it was to nurture talent, put in place mentors and foster a culture that celebrated teaching excellence. I initially attended seminars on the NTF led by wonderful individuals like Professor Sally Brown to work out how I would support colleagues, but then quickly thought that I should probably give it a go myself! Having a system that nurtures a pipeline of talent is crucial and without that help, I would not have secured a Professorship in learning and teaching.
The encouragement and guidance that our team received from Anglia Ruskin in 2016 for our CATE application was tremendous. The recognition of our work when we won a Finalist Award fuelled our passion for the student experience and provided a ‘halo’ effect for the whole institution. To then secure my NTF the year after was personally humbling and joyous.
The correlation we see when institutions invest in their staff and the NTF scheme and their success in securing awards is beyond doubt – we need to support our educators and it’s crucial that educational impact attracts the same level of individual esteem that research impact so often attracts.
Networks and exposure
Since my NTF I now find myself the Equality and Diversity Officer for the Committee of National Teaching Fellowships and a regular attendee of the annual symposium and other related events. I also sit on a number of other national committees focused on diversity and inclusion. Exposure and engagement with the network of NTFs has provided links, partnerships, mentors, friendships and opportunities that simply can’t be bought. Being a champion of education in a Russell Group business school can be a challenging experience sometimes, but the NTF network has provided a valuable community which I have found nurturing, empowering and reassuring.
The ideas, alternative perspectives, good practice tips and tricks I have picked up from NTF colleagues are worth their weight in gold.
Confidence and credibility
The NTF provides credibility, both in terms of knowing that your peers have recognised what you do and the impact you have had, but also in quietening that little voice that can fuel that sense of being an imposter. On numerous occasions, I have had to drive forward complex educational initiatives, secure resources from limited budgets, champion new projects through a series of committees and groups and challenge nay-sayers, but by having the NTF and the support of other NTFs has helped me keep going when the voice of doubt might have ordinarily crept in.
I was recently appointed the academic inclusive education lead for King’s College London and although there is much work to do, I approach the task with a quiet confidence that comes with securing an NTF.
The award reassures me that I am not alone in this important work, and that we will see change for the better, and remove barriers to student learning and engagement across our sector. I will push ahead with positive change as I know there is a community of NTFs right beside me that I can count on for advice, support and understanding.
I can’t wait to meet the next 20 years’ of National Teaching Fellows. For me, I am indebted to the scheme for my recent Professorship, new roles, my confidence and many new friends. As we face uncertainty and challenge ahead, it is vital that National Teaching Fellows remain each other’s cheerleaders!
Sally Everett is Vice Dean (Education) and Professor of Business Education at King’s Business School, King’s College London. She champions inclusive education across the sector and has launched and co-led numerous staff equality networks. She is a NTF (2017), PFHEA (2014) and is Equality and Diversity Officer for the Committee ANTF.
The ANTF Annual Symposium 2020 – A Decade of Change? will be held 5-6 March in Birmingham. Find out more and book your place.