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Associate Fellowship programme in New Zealand revolutionises teaching and learning

23 Jun 2020 | Advance HE An Advance HE programme looking to develop teaching skills at Massey University resulted in several alumni being recognised as Associate Fellows. Some of the staff who took the course gave us their thoughts.

Nikki Kells, Senior Lecturer in Animal Welfare

As a relatively new academic, I am always looking for new ways to evaluate and improve my teaching practice. The Introduction to University Teaching course offered by Massey University provided me with the perfect opportunity to do this. The resources, mentorship and reflection opportunities offered through the course, integrated with the process of writing of my Account of Professional Practice, has been invaluable in developing my teaching and learning skills. As a result, I now have greater confidence in my own practice, am more willing to try new approaches, and have established an invaluable peer network. Being recognised as an Associate Fellow also demonstrates my commitment to teaching and professional development, both to my peers and my managers. I would strongly encourage others to take up this opportunity, to challenge your thinking and enrich your own practice.

Rina Parry, Lecturer, School of Fundamental Sciences (IFS)

After many years of getting by, I found that being exposed to the world of the HEA gave me access to three vital new tools as a teacher: First, it is possible to have an evidence-based approach to creating a good learning and teaching environment. Second, I became part of a community of like-minded individuals I could collate with and gather feedback and ideas from. Third, but most importantly, the importance of reflection. It isn’t just about learning from our mistakes, but also valuing what we do right. I feel a lot more confident in my role as a lecturer now and would recommend becoming involved with the HEA to anyone!

Daniel Konings, Ph.D., Lecturer, Department of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering

Undertaking the ‘Introduction to University Teaching’ course and preparing my APP was useful as it was the first time I have been asked to reflect on my current teaching practice.  The course provided a good opportunity to explore new teaching techniques, which has helped me improve student engagement in my courses.  

Gaining AFHEA recognition at Massey University has been useful in my career as it shows an ongoing commitment to iteratively improving my andragogy based on current best practice.  The framework also provides a clear progression pathway from AFHEA->FHEA->SFHEA.  This is useful for my career as it can be referenced in professional development meetings and used in support of role/salary progression.  I would recommend Advance HE accreditation to any academics who wish to improve their andragogy, and show an ongoing commitment to following best practice.

Jiayan Lin, Learning Advisor

The Introduction to University Teaching course was an inspiring and truly rewarding experience for me. The course, full of illuminating content covering a range of topics about teaching and learning, brought me up to speed on a good number of tried and tested teaching techniques. What I liked most about the course content is that it struck a fine balance between theory, research and practice; understanding the rationale behind practice made it easier for me to absorb and identify with the specific teaching techniques. 

Writing an APP gave me a precious opportunity to scrutinize my own teaching and to make conscious links between the input from the course and my practice, which enlightened me on where I could further improve. 

The achievement of associate fellowship is acknowledgement of my current practice and also motivates me to continue working on my teaching skills, but the experience and knowledge gained from taking the course is worthwhile in its own right.

Julia Becker, Senior Lecturer, Joint Centre for Disaster Research

I took the Introduction to Teaching course as a recently appointed Senior Lecturer at the Joint Centre for Disaster Research at Massey University.  I had previously used a traditional lecture-style approach to teaching, but the Introduction to Teaching course provided access to new ways of teaching that we could apply to our own specific situations (e.g. online). For the course assessment I wrote an Account of Professional Practice, which allowed reflection on my current teaching practice (i.e. what has worked well, what hasn’t, and what ‘best-practice’ tells me).  Following self-reflection, I have made changes to the way my courses are taught to improve students’ learning experiences. Additionally, now that I am accredited as an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, my colleagues and students can be assured that my that my teaching practice is of quality and is responsive to learning needs.

Dr David Littlewood PhD, MA, BA(Hons), BA, Lecturer, School of Humanities

I found the Introduction to University Teaching Course extremely valuable. As an early career academic, I had racked up a lot of teaching hours without ever taking the time to fully reflect on my practice. Progressing through this course and writing my APP made it clear that, while my teaching had some very positive aspects, there were also elements that could be improved. In particular, there was too much of me standing at the front of the class trying to cover large amounts of content, rather than creating a dialogue and giving the students time to develop their own understandings. Now my classes are far more interactive, with plenty of discussion and small group-tasks – along with chances for me to assess the students’ learning. I would strongly recommend the Associate Fellowship to anyone who wants to enhance their teaching practice, regardless of where they are in their career.

We are extremely proud of our Associate Fellow programme at Massey. The programme allows our educators to reflect on their practice, knowledge and values in an encouraging and safe space. As a result, we have a more well informed, better connected and reflective faculty whose practice is valued both by Massey and internationally.

Duncan O’Hara, Director, Learning and Teaching, Massey University

Massey University now has 123 Fellows, including 91 Associate Fellows and one Principal Fellow, demonstrating their commitment to developing teaching and learning. We are also delighted to announce that we will be continuing to work with Massey into 2021 after they chose to renew their Advance HE membership.

Visit our membership pages to find out more about international membership and the benefits it can offer your institution.


We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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