As a National Teaching Fellow (2014) and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA, 2018) Professor David Evans is both keen and excited to promote the various levels of Fellowships to his colleagues at the University of Greenwich. Here he describes his mentoring style of ‘cascade learning’.
The nine colleagues I have had the privilege of mentoring to successful Senior Fellowship (SFHEA), and two to Associate Fellowship (AFHEA) are all within the health professions side of our faculty. ‘I had a dream’, an inspiration or a goal, to aim for mentoring 10 colleagues in term one of a particular year. If those ten then took on one person each to mentor in the following term, and if all 20 (presuming they all achieved SFHEA status) mentored one each in term three, then we could get almost 100% of our department with Senior Fellowship in one academic year!
Of course, life, work, teaching, personal studies and other priorities and commitments all happen at the same time, which means that it’s not always convenient or as simple as I was hoping for. But that didn’t deter me, I was determined to champion this cause both in my department and across others. Therefore, I chose to do a departmental presentation and then post a support video on our departmental website.
I used a phrase so many of us in healthcare are accustomed to: “See One! Do One! Teach One!” It was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but a way in which I hoped to cascade the learning about mentorship for various HEA Fellowships, especially SFHEA.
Here’s the original 15-minute departmental video I produced in 2017. It’s a bit dated now, in that our approval process at Greenwich has changed, but it spells out this cascade approach to mentorship that I was aiming for with my colleagues:
The GOLD Scheme and the HEA Fellowships
The University of Greenwich has an in-house HEA-validated scheme, called GOLD: Greenwich Opportunities in Learning and Development. Within this provision, our PhD candidates undertaking a specific teaching and learning course (which they then put in to practice) can achieve AFHEA. Likewise, the PGCertHE, for initial teacher qualification, is aligned to AFHEA. Personally, I have always wondered why our Master’s in Education and / or EdD are not aligned to SFHEA, but that’s just me wondering!
“If you’ve got it, flaunt it!”
One of the most satisfying aspects of mentoring so many people from my perspective is that I have learned things about colleagues I would never have otherwise known. That’s not me being nosey, but most of my colleagues have managed some truly great achievements in life. More than one has developed and sustained advances in promoting nursing and teaching in poorer countries of the world. Some have made a national and / or inter-health-professional impact on improving aspects of professional practice or clinical client care. Some have transformed learners with poor self-confidence issues into great current and future leaders. The list could go on!
A saying I love using, from the former TV series Absolutely Fabulous, is “If you’ve got it, flaunt it!” Sadly, so many of these inspirational examples of amazing achievements, suitable for Senior Fellowship claims, have been hidden away from all but the mentors, referees and the Recognition Panel. We should be shouting this stuff from the rooftops!
But mentoring is a two-way process. My mentees have said some lovely things about my role in mentoring them, too!
Jane Matonhodze, SFHEA, MSc Advanced Clinical Practice Programme Lead, says:
“David is an excellent mentor. Through his dedication, commitment and enthusiasm around teaching and learning, he inspired and motivated me to achieve my SFHEA. Without David’s support I would have possibly given up along the way, however through his passion he was able to encourage me to feel that I could do it and it was an achievable task. I am so honoured to have been mentored by David and he continues to inspire others in the same way”.
All-round professional impact of Fellowships
It is a clear indication of our professional development to see ‘SFHEA’ (and the various other Fellowships) being written in to new job descriptions. This requirement – as ‘essential or desirable’ - demonstrates a validation of individuals and recognition of their professional seniority. We all have initial qualifications to become teachers, and many have various academic qualifications to become even more specialised teachers, too, but SFHEA is a true capstone on one’s personal and professional development. Fellowship processes can be so affirming of one’s self, giving us time and space to reflect on the multi-potential development that we bring to the learning we provide to others. Fellowships help validate both the seniority and expertise of who and what are, as advanced teachers in Higher Education. I just wish our students knew so much about us all!
Use the Fellowship Category Tool to determine which category of HEA Fellowship is right for you.