Being an Associate Fellow and adapting to online support – a view from the Archives staff

photo of the Archives Strong Room

In the HEA Fellowship blog, we’re continuing to measure the impact that HEA Fellowship has on teaching practices, on students and on the practices and approaches of peers. We’ve also asked for some suggestions when teaching/supporting learning online!

In this post, Katrina Legg, Assistant Archivist in the Richard Burton Archives shares her story about the impact of Associate Fellowship recognition and how she (and the rest of the Archives staff) had to adapt to supporting learners and staff online.

About Katrina’s support for learners and researchers

I started at Swansea University in 2007, initially cataloguing the Co-operative Societies of South Wales Collection and the papers of Raymond Williams as well as transcribing the diaries of Richard Burton; but my role developed and included supporting existing teaching sessions and developing new opportunities.

The sessions delivered or resources created usually give an introduction to the Archives at Swansea University and to what archives can offer to students and researchers and can have a generic or specific approach. The Archives have worked with colleagues in History, English, Nursing, Geography, Linguistics and Social Policy and there’s scope to go to other disciplines too.

Why did gaining Associate Fellowship recognition matter to you?

It validated not only what I did but what the Archives offered to staff and students across the university. It showed that there was an appreciation of these sessions and helped to raise the profile of the service.

It opened up opportunities to do other things, including working with SALT such as CPD sessions and the co-authoring of ‘Applying the seven principles of good practice: archives in the 21st century university’ for Archives and Records (

It was interesting to analyse the pedagogical and theoretical aspects of learning and teaching as well as the practical, which tend to take precedence.

How have you continued to apply the standards of the UK PSF in your work during the move to online teaching/support for learning?

The Archives has been keen to continue supporting learning and teaching. As part of this sessions that were previously delivered in person in lecture theatres or in the Archives Reading Room have been reviewed and developed.

We have provided short videos for lecturers to include in sessions. Online in person teaching sessions via Zoom have been delivered and it has been interesting to add aspects that can only be done online to these, e.g. searching online catalogues and portals. This type of interactive element has also been included in a CANVAS Non-Accredited Course: Using Archives that has been developed for anyone at Swansea University.

We’ve also created a series of research guides to promote the collections and show some of the immense potential. Attending sessions at the online SALT conference 2021 was a really useful way of finding out what approaches colleagues are taking and we were pleased to deliver a live, interactive workshop – More than Documents and Digitisation! Archives for Learning and Teaching – now available online.

What top tips would you offer to someone delivering online teaching/learner support in HE?

Think about what you already offer and how this can be translated into an online world, as well as how an online version may give different opportunities. There’s lots of different ways to do things online.

Give yourself time to learn the technology, prepare and deliver/create. With other commitments it can be a fine balancing act so do take advice and get support from the outset.

Have support on hand for live sessions via Zoom. We’ve found that it’s good to have two members of staff so that one can deliver the session and another can keep an eye on chat / technical issues as well as providing a second voice.

Be prepared to speak to a lot of blank screens, which can be a bit disconcerting!

For someone not sure about applying for HEA Fellowship recognition what words of encouragement could you offer?

It’s a really useful way of exploring what you already do and thinking about why you do particular things, how they can be improved and what you might like to do in the future.

It gives you recognition and validation of the work that you’ve done and how it’s had a positive impact.

It highlights connections between colleagues and suggests other ways of working, to reach and support more staff and students across the university.

What top tips would you offer to someone preparing an HEA Associate Fellow/Fellowship application?

Start listing things that you’ve done – you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve achieved that is relevant to the process

Talk to colleagues in SALT – they’re really friendly and helpful

Look at the SALT and Advance HE websites – great for information and inspiration

Talk to colleagues in your department and elsewhere who have either gone through the HEA application process or are also considering it

For Further Details

Visit SALT’s webpages for details of the internally accredited programme leading to Associate, Fellow or Senior Fellow and for links to Principal Fellow resources

Leave a Reply