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Personal pathways to Fellowship

03 May 2022 | Lorena Ajuria Lorena Ajuria, a senior ELICOS teacher and mentor at the Centre for English Language in the University of South Australia (CELUSA), shares her reflections on her personal journey to achieving Fellowship.

Achieving Fellowship status provided a solid platform for in-depth personal reflection and evaluation of my teaching practice and student experiences. Along with strengthening the foundations for life-long learning, it facilitated opportunities for growth in leadership skills. In my journey to Fellowship, the paths I travelled proved to be rewarding in several ways. 

The challenges of working from home in isolation from students and teacher colleagues throughout the pandemic in 2020 gave me a unique opportunity to start reflecting on how I was travelling in my teaching and mentoring. Applying for Fellowship the following year was an avenue to explore and gain insight into my roles, teaching practice and learner experiences.    

As a first step, I took part in the Navitas Advance HE Fellowship Programme, which is a wraparound assistance programme that guides Navitas staff through the application process, creating a network of peer support and feedback. Participating in the programme while working extensively on the application drafting process was rewarding since it helped develop my writing style and contemplate the draft content with the guidance of encouraging annotated feedback from the programme team. Importantly, I got to collaborate with the diverse Navitas Learning and Teaching community and participate in peer writing workshops which I especially enjoyed.   

While learning how to use the application writing style was rather straightforward for me, constructing my narrative was the difficult part. Using the Professional Standards Framework as a lens to identify the right supporting evidence to demonstrate the areas of activity took time, focus, and lots of patient revision. In doing so, I began to see in-depth patterns in my practice relating to my core teaching competencies as well as areas I needed to work on.

What was really positive to see was that I’d made lots of progress in building communities in virtual classroom settings, providing online student leadership opportunities, and upskilling in my application of digital learning tools. Another highlight was the growth in my mentoring capabilities leading to a strong sense of personal accomplishment. I was able to see active engagement in supporting peers in collegial professional development, and my role in the consecutive success of CELUSA graduates I’d mentored in achieving StudyAdelaide awards for academic excellence and ambassadorship.

Patterns also showed the need for further training in flexible learning delivery to better assist students, which I aim to focus on in the coming months. Making the most of opportunities for improvement in this area will ensure that I can further contribute to student learning experiences and academic outcomes. 

The reflective journey towards achieving Fellowship worked to boost my morale and wellbeing during my time working from home and gave me encouragement and empowerment in my personal and professional development. It’s a rewarding career path to embrace that can lead to insight and growth. 

 

Lorena teaches academic English tertiary pathway programs and strives to support the educational journey of socio-culturally and linguistically diverse international students. Additionally, Lorena advocates for student leadership and has won praise for successfully mentoring award-winning graduates in academic excellence and for student ambassadorship.  

Fellowship Application Builder
A short online, self-directed course of six units designed to enable participants to use their experience of their teaching and supporting learning practice in higher education to develop an application for Fellowship. Find out more

Professional Standards Framework Review 2022

The Professional Standards Framework (PSF) has become a globally-recognised framework for benchmarking success within HE teaching and learning. Since it was last updated in 2011, the learning and teaching landscape within HE has changed considerably making a review necessary to ensure the framework continues to be relevant to higher education now and in the future. As custodians of the PSF, we committed to this review on behalf of the sector in our Strategy 2021-24. Find out more

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