I remember when I first heard the term ‘Senior Fellowship’ it sounded so mystifying and important, although I had no clue what it meant for me as a new academic.
Having joined academia after working clinically as a Nurse for a number of years, I found that adjusting to teaching was as challenging as learning itself. Exploring conceptual gateways, widening participation and curriculum design was somewhat different to my prior learning and it took a lot of reflection and discussion with peers to discover the type of teacher that I wanted to become.
I consider myself an eternal student and initially gained fellowship as part of our in house Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP). This focused my development around teaching and learning as a new academic and really inducted me into the HE environment with a rounded understanding of its structures and processes and new colleagues to share reflections with. I gained so much from the PGCAP and initial fellowship status, that I was keen to attach my progression to the attainment of senior fellowship as I began to develop within leadership roles and new challenges. For me application at this higher level seemed the appropriate next step for my academic career, supported by mentors and colleagues.
Applying for Senior Fellowship has enhanced my reflective skills requiring consideration of ones impact on colleagues, students and others within my career to date. I found the process difficult at times and it is uncomfortable writing about oneself, something I have often avoided. Through my exploration I had to demonstrate my commitment to teaching and learning and the reflective element really made me consider how much I had progressed since first hearing the term ‘Senior Fellow’. This process supported by my organisation allowed me to highlight not only my professional achievements but also my personal success in demonstrating leadership qualities and considering areas for improvement and progression moving forward. I truly found that once I had started the application it became easier as it was confidence boosting in considering the variations within my role. I would strongly recommend that others to apply for Senior Fellowship as not only can you use the post nominal, you gain access to a network of likeminded professionals and it provides you with space to set new career goals and aspirations.
Achievement of the Senior Fellowship has only inspired me to continue on my lifelong learning journey and explore areas for not only my personal development but my profession. As we attempt to adjust to a new normal in higher education I plan to continue to set goals for the future and remain focused on my mission to enhance the student experience and most importantly improve patient outcomes.
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. Advance HE's Fellowship Category Tool has been designed to help you to reflect on your practice.