I was thrilled to be awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2008 as I consider it the top accolade for teaching in the UK, and teaching has always been my life. I have worked in just about every sector of education, having trained as a secondary teacher, then worked in further education, supply teaching, in a prison and for the Home Tuition Service, as well as in universities and polytechnics since 1977. And I continue now working as a volunteer in my local primary school where my grandchildren attend, which is a cause of great joy to me.
Having set up the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme in 2000 for the Advance HE-antecedent organisation, the Institute for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and having subsequently worked as a PVC at Leeds Beckett University, I was encouraged there to put myself forward for the award. And to my delight I was successful.
In those days there was funding associated with the award, but in my role I could go to any conferences or events I wished, so I spent the whole amount the day after I received it to support a successful project supporting the recruitment and retention of so-called ‘looked-after children’ entering higher education, who have low entry rates and high levels of drop-out.
For me, the very best aspect of winning the award continues to be the networking opportunities. I have met very many interesting, creative, challenging and original people through the Association of National Teaching Fellows (which I for a period chaired). Our annual symposia and Jiscmail lists both provide unparalleled opportunities to benefit from the expertise and energy of my fellow NTFs: truly a fellowship of the Fellowship holders! I wear my badge with pride.
Networking with NTFs has led to a variety of collaborations on conference presentations, projects and writing, including to the two collections edited by NTF Tim Bilham and colleagues, For the Love of Learning: Innovations from Outstanding University Teachers (2013) and Reframing Space for Learning: Excellence and Innovation in University Teaching (2019).
Although I am semi-retired, I regularly work, play and write with NTF heroes including fellow-Leeds Beckett winners Ruth Pickford, Sue Smith, David Killick and Jane Mothersdale, plus co-author and co-presenters Kay Sambell, Pauline Kneale, Debby Holley, Chrissi Nerantzi, Sue Beckingham, Mick Healey, Lydia Arnold, Julie Hall, Peter Hartley, Mark Schofield and John Bostock plus too many others to name, including the esteemed Professor (and my husband) Phil Race (NTF 2007).
Professor Sally Brown is an Independent Consultant in Learning, Teaching and Assessment and Emerita Professor at Leeds Beckett University where she was, until 2010, Pro-Vice-Chancellor. She is also Visiting Professor at Edge Hill University, and formerly at the Universities of Plymouth, Robert Gordon, South Wales and Liverpool John Moores, and at Australian universities: James Cook, Central Queensland, and the Sunshine Coast.
She holds Honorary Doctorates from the universities of Plymouth, Kingston, Bournemouth, Edinburgh Napier and Lincoln.
She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) Senior Fellow and a National Teaching Fellow.