Following the announcement of our 10,000th Senior Fellow, Louise Lumsden – Head of Fellowship at Advance HE – introduces the Fellowship Category Tool, which aims to support individuals when reflecting on their practice and help them decide which category of Fellowship is most appropriate.
HEA Fellowship provides opportunity for those who teach and/or support learning in a higher education context to be professionally recognised at one of the four categories of Fellowship:
1. Associate Fellow
3. Senior Fellow
4. Principal Fellow
Individuals can apply for a category of HEA Fellowship based on their experience of teaching and/or support of learning that is appropriate to them. The types of evidence and experience that individuals are able to draw on is considerable and can range from colleagues who are early in their career to those with strategic leadership responsibilities.
Introducing the Fellowship Category Tool
One of the first questions that individuals ask when they enquire about HEA Fellowship is ‘which category should I apply for?’ The Fellowship Category Tool is an online tool that has been designed to support individuals when thinking about their practice and to assist them in selecting the category of Fellowship that is the closest match to their practice. The tool consists of a set of statements, which are aligned to the UK Professional Standards Framework (UK PSF), to support them in their initial stages of thinking about and reflecting on their practice.
How does the Fellowship Category Tool work?
Once individuals have confirmed that they have read the Professional Standards Framework (UK PSF) and that they teach and/or support learning in Higher Education, they then go on to answer questions relating to their practice. The questions are designed to provide key prompts as to the types of activities they may be undertaking. Individuals are guided to choose the closest match or the statement that best represents their main activities and responsibilities, or best reflects how they approach their work. Once an individual has completed all the questions (there are 18 in total), they are sent a full report of their results including the most likely category of HEA Fellowship that they may consider applying for.
This final stage of the Fellowship Category Tool not only provides a text summary of their responses, but also a visual representation of how answers to the statements reveal the most appropriate category of Fellowship to apply for. The visuals include a pie chart that provides an overview of what may be the most appropriate category for the individual to apply for, based on the answers they have self-selected. In addition, the results of the Fellowship Category Tool are instantly sent to the individual via email in the form of a pdf report, which they can then use and refer to as they begin to explore and construct their application for Fellowship.
Once individuals have been provided with an indication of the most appropriate category of HEA Fellowship for them, they will be able to start their application, initiate discussions and seek advice and guidance from a mentor, for example, which will be useful to support the development of their application.
The Fellowship Category Tool is freely available to anyone interested in seeking professional recognition of their practice in teaching and/or supporting learning at the appropriate category. At a recent Accredited Programme Manager event, scheme leaders who used the Fellowship Category Tool with colleagues on their programmes commented that:
“The Fellowship Category Tool is a very valuable resource for Scheme Leaders. This new tool will help colleagues with the sometimes ‘thorny’ problem of which category of Fellowship ‘fits’ best for them”. Chris Ribchester, Scheme Leader, University of Derby
Another accredited programme leader who has used the Fellowship Category Tool, Rob Daley, Heriot-Watt University, said that:
“This tool should be useful in informing discussions around development needs and plans beyond just Fellowship attainment”.
To find out which category of HEA Fellowship may be appropriate for you, try the Fellowship Category Tool today and start your journey to professional recognition of your teaching and/or supporting learning practice.