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Celebrating 80 fellows and a culture of mentoring at Australian Catholic University

22 Dec 2021 | Dr Vanessa Fredericks ACU is celebrating a milestone of achieving 80 fellowships across the institution. Dr Vanessa Fredericks, program lead, speaks to a few experienced mentors and their mentees, who share their learnings from the process.

Advance HE recently reached the milestone of awarding over 150,000 Fellowships worldwide. The Australian Catholic University (ACU) is celebrating its own milestone of having 80 successful fellowships across the faculties and university.

ACU is a national public university which has seven Australian campuses and also maintains a campus in Rome. 

Since the ACU’s Learning and Teaching Centre started the ACU Fellowship pilot program at the end of 2019, Advance HE has awarded 71 Fellowships across ACU: 1 x Associate Fellow, 23 x Fellows, 41 x Senior Fellows, and 6 Principal Fellows. In total, ACU now has 80 Fellows across the institution, which includes 8 Principal Fellows. You can view a full list of ACU’s Advance HE Fellows on the LTC website.

ACU’s Learning and Teaching Centre (LTC) provides support through a structured bi-annual Fellowship Program consisting of online workshops and individual mentoring. Each of these applicants is paired with a mentor from our existing cohort of Fellows, who then go on to become mentors to the next group of potential Fellows following their own success. We believe it is this culture of mentoring at ACU which has been key to the program’s success.

Why apply for fellowship?

We could not have achieved these numbers without the support and generosity of our dedicated mentors. A few of our experienced mentors and new Fellows, some of who have since become mentors themselves, shared their learnings from the application process.

Fellow Dr Kerry Ttofari Eecen

Dr Kerry Ttofari Eecen (FHEA), Lecturer in Speech Pathology, was among the first cohort of Fellows at ACU and has been a mentor in two subsequent rounds. “I was able to reflect on my own teaching practices and consider areas of strength and areas of future growth. I found this experience valuable and wanted to encourage my peers to go through the same process for their professional growth. Becoming a Fellow is highly regarded and can be used as evidence for future career advancement.” 

Fellow Sharon Crosbie

Sharon Crosbie (FHEA), Senior Lecturer in Speech Pathology, was mentored by Dr Kerry Ttofari Eecen and recently awarded a Fellowship. “I learnt a new framework for thinking about approaches to student learning including ways to evaluate the effectiveness of my teaching and promote participation.” 

Senior Fellow Dr Melissa Cain

Dr Melissa Cain (SFHEA), Lecturer in the School of Education, was recently awarded a Senior Fellowship and is now guiding a mentee. “The process of preparing a Fellowship application is a wonderful way to purposefully document my growth as a teacher, researcher, and leader.” 

The benefits of mentoring

Dr John Mahoney (SFHEA), Senior Lecturer in the School of Behavioural and Health Sciences (pictured below), achieved recognition at the beginning of 2020 and is mentoring for the third time. “I’ve found the experience powerfully important. As a project lead of the INSPIREd teaching project at ACU, INSPIRE has taught me a lot about what we could do, but my three mentees have taught me about how we could do it… I feel like I’ve learnt more from them than they have from me," John said of his approach to mentoring.

Image of Dr John Mahoney

John’s mentee Dr Beth McLeod (FHEA), Lecturer in Exercise Science (pictured below), shared how much she valued this mentorship process. “(Mentoring is) a unique opportunity to work with and be guided by a more experienced colleague with a friendly, helpful and approachable demeanour,” said Beth.


Dr Beth McLeod

On reflecting on what she has learned from the process of mentoring, Dr Kerry Ttofari Eecen (FHEA) said, “I have been able to develop my ability to provide constructive feedback to colleagues which can differ from the type of feedback given to students. This is a fundamental aspect of leadership, a current area of development for me.”

Dr Melissa Cain, reflects on becoming a new mentor:  “A key benefit has been getting to know my mentor and mentees' achievements, and learning new ways of working from them. I am looking forward to my next Fellowship application and have started collecting evidence". 

You can view a full list of our mentors on the Fellowship Mentors at ACU webpage.


Dr Vanessa Fredericks is a Senior Fellow and a senior lecturer in academic development in the Learning and Teaching Centre and leads the Fellowship program at ACU. She has experience in curriculum design and course review, continuing professional development, academic leadership and mentoring, and a cultural studies disciplinary background.

Fellowship demonstrates a personal and institutional commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in higher education. Across four categories, from Associate to Principal, Fellowship provides individuals with recognition of their practice, impact and leadership of teaching and learning.
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