Higher Education Teaching and Learning: Advance HE Fellowship
If you’ve been scouring jobs.ac.uk for lecturing, teaching, or support roles in the higher education sector, you might have noticed employers asking potential candidates to have a teaching qualification and/or Advance HE Fellowship. Person specifications often list these criteria as essential, desirable, or that candidates should have a “willingness to gain” on the job.
So, what is Advance HE Fellowship, how do you achieve it and how can it enhance your higher education teaching career?
What is Advance HE Fellowship?
Formerly known as the Higher Education Academy (HEA), Advance HE is a national, member-led charity that aims to improve and progress higher education for staff, students and society. Its members include higher and further education providers globally.
Advance HE Fellowship provides a framework for recognising the effectiveness, impact and quality of higher education teaching and learning through accredited qualifications (offered by member institutions) and other routes. Becoming a Fellow depends on how your teaching practice meets and aligns with the UK Professional Standards Framework (PSF), which measures success and best practices in higher and further education teaching and learning.
Fellowship is open to those who are already teaching in higher education as a way to consolidate and provide evidence of their practice.
Categories of Advance HE Fellowship
Advance HE awards four categories of fellowship which depend on your higher education-related teaching qualifications and experience, and how these align with the PSF at different stages of your academic teaching career, as follows:
For individuals who can provide evidence of the effectiveness of their teaching practice and/or learning support role alongside more experienced teachers and mentors.
Associate Fellows are usually staff who are new to teaching, early career researchers who carry out some teaching or other subject specialists who have limited experience in higher education teaching.
For individuals who can provide evidence of effectiveness, depth and breadth in substantive higher education teaching and/or support roles.
Fellows are likely to be those who have completed an accredited higher education teaching qualification, early career academics and/or those who have gained a breadth of teaching practice experience in an established academic role.
For individuals who can provide evidence of an established record of effectiveness, organisation and management of teaching and learning.
Senior Fellows are generally established members of academic teaching teams (such as senior lecturers) who have a strong track record in teaching, curriculum design and development and mentoring other teaching staff.
For highly experienced academic staff, such as associate professors or professors, who can provide evidence of effectiveness and impact in relation to teaching and learning at a strategic level of an institution.
Routes to Advance HE Fellowship
Before considering routes to fellowship, the key point to remember is that you must already be teaching or in a teaching-related role in higher education. So, if you are just finishing your PhD or are an early-career researcher, you will need to secure some teaching hours to be able to evidence your practice and how it demonstrates some or all of the four PSF Descriptors before applying for a fellowship.
There are two different routes to fellowship, as follows:
Accredited programmes route
Completion of an Advance HE-accredited teaching qualification or a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme or scheme while working as a lecturer or in other teaching and learning-related roles makes you eligible to apply for an Advance HE fellowship.
Accredited higher education teaching qualifications include the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE) or the Postgraduate Certificate of Academic Practice (PGCAP). Both are Master’s level (Level 7) and internationally-recognised qualifications for higher education teaching staff. They can be carried out part-time at your institution (if offered) or in partnership with another institution while you are working in a higher education teaching-related role.
Individual universities set eligibility criteria regarding which teaching staff should complete the PGCHE/PGCAP. For instance, at some institutions participation may be mandatory for new lecturing and teaching staff and optional for those who have three years or more teaching experience already behind them. The requirement to complete a formal teaching qualification varies between institutions, which set their criteria depending on the nature and level of the academic teaching role.
Direct application route
If you are not in a position to pursue a formal teaching qualification, you can apply for a fellowship through submission of an evidence-based and peer-observed portfolio of your experience as an academic involved in teaching and learning.
This route is particularly popular among experienced academics. However, it depends on each university whether they accept this as equivalent to having a formal higher education teaching qualification.
Visit Advance HE for more information about how to apply for fellowships.
Why gain Advance HE Fellowship?
There is increasing focus on the quality of teaching and learning provided in the higher education sector. Academic staff with a recognised teaching qualification and/or fellowship (or working towards) are highly sought after.
Achieving Advance HE Fellowship helps you demonstrate your commitment to delivering high-quality teaching and providing the best possible learning opportunities for students. Having a teaching qualification and/or fellowship will also give your application the edge when applying for academic jobs in another university (both in the UK and overseas) and for promotion opportunities.