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An anatomist’s journey to Senior Fellowship

22 Mar 2021 | Dr Samantha J. Taylor Samantha Taylor of Queen’s University Belfast tells us about her experience applying for Senior Fellowship and the impact this has had. She also shares some practical advice that will hopefully help colleagues who are currently preparing an application or planning to apply in the future.

I gained Fellowship in 1999 following successful completion of the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHET) at Queen’s University Belfast; this was during my part-time employment as a Teaching Assistant in the then Department of Anatomy.  Unfortunately, my contract was temporary and I left the university in 2001 to work within the pharmaceutical industry – experience that wasn’t lost!  I was very fortunate to go on to secure a full-time permanent academic post as Teaching Fellow back at Queen’s in 2004.  Almost 17 years later I still have the same enthusiasm for teaching anatomy! 

It was during 2019 when I started to give serious consideration to applying for Senior Fellowship.  I pulled out the UK Professional Standards Framework and felt that I could make a strong case for Senior Fellowship based on my many years of teaching, curriculum development, leadership roles and mentorship of colleagues.  I started working on my application during the summer of 2019 and I have to say that creating space to really think about what I had achieved within Higher Education was personally really rewarding.

I was delighted to be awarded Senior Fellowship through the Queen’s Merit Award – in February of last year.  I am hugely grateful to Karen Fraser from the Centre for Educational Development at Queen’s for her tremendous support during preparation of my application. From a personal perspective, receiving professional recognition for my work has been extremely rewarding; following my successful application, a number of colleagues have expressed interest in applying for Senior Fellowship which is great!

Here are some of my top tips for colleagues who may be planning to apply for Senior Fellowship at some stage in the future:

  • keep a detailed record of all of the various activities that you are involved with e.g. modules you have led and developed, curriculum development, external examiner appointments and external consultancy, mentorship of colleagues.
  • archive all of your module evaluations – you can use positive student feedback to help evidence the impact you have had on teaching and learning. 
  • definitely keep hold of external examiner reports for modules you are responsible for delivering – quotes in support of your contribution to Higher Education are extremely valuable!
  • most importantly – when you are writing your case studies, keep impact at the forefront of your mind.  Avoid presenting a purely narrative account of your experience; yes – tell the panel what you have implemented, but focus on the impact that you have had on the student experience.

Dr Samantha Taylor is a Senior Lecturer (Education) in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast.  As an anatomist, Samantha has led gross anatomy teaching within the 2nd year of the undergraduate medical degree for over 10 years.  She has played a key role in the planning and development of the new C25 medical curriculum and is Programme Co-ordinator of the MSc in Clinical Anatomy.

Are you an individual able to provide evidence of a sustained record of effectiveness in relation to teaching and learning, incorporating for example, the organisation, leadership and/or management of specific aspects of teaching and learning provision? Then Senior Fellowship may be for you.

For further information, resources and and guidance on applying, visit our dedicated Senior Fellowship page.


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