The Aga Khan University (AKU) held a celebration event on Saturday 30 June in recognition of the accreditation of their continuous professional development scheme, reaching staff across three continents. The event, held at the Conrad Hotel, St James, London, was well-attended by staff from AKU and Advance HE, along with other guests from within the higher education sector.
AKU is one of the developing world's leading sources of health and education research, and is looking to support its teaching staff through Advance HE’s Fellowship scheme.
In January of this year AKU became the first strategic partner of Advance HE in the developing world. In order to benchmark their educational development efforts, AKU were seeking accreditation to be able to award Fellowships across their various campuses. The CPD scheme, TEACH, is the first accredited staff development programme for Pakistan and East Africa, where AKU’s largest campuses, faculty and students are based.
Becky Smith, Associate Head of Global Partnerships at Advance HE, presented the certificate to AKU President Firoz Rasul, and commented on the importance of AKU’s achievement: “Excellent teaching is an essential component in the creation of outstanding student learning experiences. I am absolutely delighted to support AKU tomorrow as well as today, in its journey towards enhancing teaching excellence in order to inspire learning. AKU Staff who have gained Fellowship now have access to a global community. Advance HE has over 103,000 Fellows globally - all of them passionate about teaching - that’s some community!”
Underlining the importance of teaching to the University, AKU Provost Dr Carl Amrhein commented: “Accreditation by Advance HE is a singular achievement of our institution…to achieve this status in so short a time, across six countries, is nothing short of remarkable. One very important outcome for AKU is that our teachers are also leaders in civil society. And one of the key expectations of our Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan is to achieve impact and relevance. This work strengthens both our student and faculty experiences ensuring we deliver an integrated experience.
He added: “Our vision for AKU's teacher academy is to provide an environment that is of, by and for our faculty where higher education professionals mentor each other and in so doing these Fellows also pursue Senior Fellowship, and in turn these Fellows will form a community of best practice. This will enable AKU to form the very first Teacher’s Academy in the developing world.”
Dr Tashmin Khamis, PFHEA, Associate Vice Provost and Founding Director of AKU’s Networks of Quality Assurance and Improvement (QAI_net) and Teaching and Learning (TL_net), led on this work from its inception. She paid tribute to the role Advance HE has played in developing AKU’s practice and spoke about the need for faculty to receive support and mentoring as they develop their teaching skills:
“We are humbled and proud to be the first accredited scheme in the developing world,” she said.
“Faculty across the world come to their universities with their PhD content experience and expertise, but not necessarily any teaching qualification or experience or expertise, so we decided to learn from others to engage with faculty. We wanted to ensure our work was following good practice and making an impact, build a sustainable resource base and support our faculty. This led us to our search for best practice to ensure that we were really world class, and that’s how we came across the HEA Fellowships at Advance HE.”
She added: “I would like to emphasise that it has truly been a partnership and thank the many people who have been mentors to us and supported AKU as we built the capacity of these first Fellows.”
To find out more about Advance HE Accreditation please click here.