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Being part of the Fellowship community

26 Nov 2019 | Allison Mandrusiak, Maria Dolhare and Deanne Gannaway Dr Deanne Gannaway, Senior Lecturer in Higher Education at the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation, University of Queensland, introduces two of their fellows, Dr Allison Mandrusiak and Dr Maria Dolhare. Both spoke about their experiences of Fellowship at a recent celebration event where the university's 270th Fellow was welcomed to the community.

We recently welcomed our 270th Fellow at the University of Queensland (UQ) and with a further 154 aspirant Fellows across our various programs, we're looking forward to welcoming more Fellows into our HEA@UQ community soon. In 2017 our first group of just 24 academics were awarded Fellowship, so we're very proud of how Fellowship has progressed at UQ. Our Fellows Dr Allison Mandrusiak and Dr Maria Dolhare share their insights on Fellowship below.

Dr Deanne Gannaway

What does being part of the Fellowship community at UQ mean to me? It means connections to people and professions, to other practices and philosophies, and it means a common language across corners of our campus. To me it is a passport to connect with the Fellowship community, and I’ve found so many opportunities for connection: as a mentor, peer reviewer, referee, supporting those in the Associate Fellowship through to Principal Fellowship, being part of the HEA@UQ Management Board and the invitation to speak at the HEA Awards Ceremony at The University of Queensland.

Through these connections and common language, I’ve learned so much about higher education beyond my own profession of Physiotherapy. I’ve visited classrooms and welcomed others into mine, reviewed resources, helped others to navigate the acronyms of the Professional Standards Framework (PSF): the Ks, As and Vs, and the Dimensions and Descriptors. I’ve been a cheerleader. And I have learnt a lot along the way.

This “passport” has allowed me to explore global perspectives. I’ve mentored academics in China through the Fellowship process and I’ve had conversations about Fellowship with colleagues in the UK, over a cuppa at a conference, and was grateful for the common language of the PSF.

To me, Fellowship is a passport to connections that support sharing of conundrums – and I realise that we indeed share many of the same challenges across campus and across countries. It is the conversations to discover creative solutions that others have to these challenges, and to help others recognise that their “It’s just what I do, it’s not special” is indeed special!

It means celebrating good teachers and professional staff doing good things.

It means conversations to raise awareness about Fellowship with colleagues at the water cooler… “So what is this Fellowship thing about..?” To educate our colleagues about our community…or, to educate one’s partner that Fellowship is not quite the same as the Fellowship of the Rings from Lord of the Rings…

I thought that receiving my Fellowship meant the destination. But as a passport, it is the beginning of opportunities – many of which I could not anticipate, and for all of which I’ve had my passport ready and open.

You have your passport:

  • to connect: as a mentor, peer reviewer, referee, cheerleader
  • to use this common language to learn about others and about higher education beyond your profession
  • to start the conversation to raise awareness of Fellowship and encourage others to engage
  • to celebrate good people doing good things

Dr Allison Mandrusiak, Senior Fellow

I was asked to give a short speech about my Graduate Teaching Associates (GTA) experience at the Fellowship celebrations, the impact that it had on my teaching and why I decided to re-engage with the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation and the Fellowship program. As we celebrated the achievements of some members of our teaching community, I thought that it was befitting to talk about the role the teaching community has played for me.

My GTA journey commenced in 2017 when a dear colleague and friend of mine suggested that I investigate the courses offered by the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation at UQ. By the time I enrolled in the GTA program, I had been teaching for a few years after transitioning from legal practice. It was going well and I was enjoying it, but if I was to refer to my teaching as a Facebook page I would say I like it, but I did not love it anymore. The passion was gone, the romance was gone and I knew that I needed to do something about it. The GTA program was a fantastic experience, reinvigorating my passion for teaching. Most importantly, the program played a key role in securing a teaching focused position following successful completion of my PhD.

The supportive role of the teaching community that coalesces around Fellowship is the thing that stands out the most for me. Teaching at university is very rewarding and very challenging work. Members of the Fellowship community do not just talk the talk - they walk the walk. Consequently, I continue to be involved with the GTA program as a mentor. Once I had collected enough evidence of my teaching practices, following the advice of some members of our community, I enrolled in the HEA@UQ program to become a Fellow. My journey continues!

Having a whole teaching community out there encouraging us, helping us and supporting us makes a big difference and goes a long way into making our job much more rewarding and less challenging. To have the opportunity to share experiences and practices from such a diverse community in terms of disciplines and people is priceless. So, let’s make sure we continue to participate, to give and to contribute to our teaching community. Let’s continue to support those who support us.

Dr Maria Dolhare, Associate Fellow

Fellowships are embedded in the UK and have been adopted by increasing numbers of higher education institutions globally, from the Americas to Australasia. Find out more about the range of benefits Advance HE Fellowship offers. 

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