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, Adesola Ademiloye from the Faculty of Science and Engineering shares his story of gaining HEA Fellowship (FHEA) recognition through the PG Cert teaching in Higher Education programme and of the tremendous benefits to his practice he gains by mentoring and guiding others in his assessor role.
“I find the opportunity to mentor others in their journey to become better teachers and gain recognition for their teaching practices to be incredibly fulfilling, even as an academic on the enhanced research pathway“
I am Dr Adesola Ademiloye. I am a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and a member of the Zienkiewicz Institute for Modelling, Data and AI (previously, Zienkiewicz Centre for Computational Engineering). Within the Biomedical Engineering department, I serve as the academic coordinator for the Swansea-Texas A&M University exchange programme and a core member of the student experience working group. I currently co-chair the Swansea International Race Equality Network (SIREN). I am a Fellow of the HEA and a UKAT Recognised Practitioner in Advising. In 2014, I started teaching in Higher Education (HE) as a Teaching Assistant during my PhD degree at the City University of Hong Kong and I joined Swansea University in October 2018 as a Lecturer.
Why did gaining Fellowship matter to you?
I gained the fellowship status of the HEA in November 2020 after completing the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PGCtHE) at Swansea University in the same year. Although I have a very strong passion for the delivery of high-quality teaching and mentoring, I originally enrolled on the PGCtHE programme to achieve one of the necessary conditions to complete my academic probation.
My interest in teaching pedagogy was, however, ignited by the initial challenges (mainly, low student engagement) I experienced during my first semester of teaching in the UK. Through peer observations and action research, I discovered and adopted the use of technology to enhance my student learning. For instance, the use of videos to introduce fundamental concepts in Engineering and sli.do, an online audience-response system, for formative assessment and collection of students’ questions and feedback anonymously. These teaching interventions helped to improve my students’ learning and engagement, and I derived more satisfaction in my role as a teacher in HE.
Completing my PGCtHE modules and gaining the HEA fellowship status allowed me to reflect on teaching practices, engage in action research, implement teaching interventions, add value to my student’s learning and discover my teaching identity.
How have you continued to apply the standards of the UK PSF in your work since gaining that recognition – especially in an online mode?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was able to quickly move my teaching and support for students learning online because I had previously embraced the use of technology for student engagement in my teaching.
For my live delivery, I combined the use of Zoom and OBS studio, free and open-source software for video recording and live streaming, to ensure a seamless transition between different teaching materials across multiple devices, thus providing my students with an uninterrupted engagement and learning experience.
As a teacher and mentor, the standards of the UKPSF helped me to remain conscious of the importance of delivering high-quality student-centred teaching and learning experiences, irrespective of whether my students are in front of me or thousands of miles away.
How have you adapted the resources you produced during the pandemic as we’ve largely returned to face-to-face teaching?
For face-to-face teaching, it is important to properly plan the sessions. Before the pandemic, it is often difficult to provide additional support to learners during the teaching period due to the pressure to cover all the planned content.
With the move to online teaching and now a blended mode of teaching, I have become more comfortable with creating asynchronous teaching videos. For certain topics that students need additional support on, I now spend quality time explaining the fundamentals and giving additional examples. If I can’t deliver all the planned content within the period, I use asynchronous video teaching to complete the lesson. Very importantly, I ensure that students are fully aware of this approach during the introduction class.
What do you feel you and your teaching practice have gained from being a HEA Fellowship Assessor?
First and foremost, it is a privilege to serve as a HEA fellowship assessor. It comes with a lot of responsibilities; however, it is equally rewarding.
I am very keen on supporting colleagues by sharing my experiences and providing them with feedback on their teaching portfolios. I find the opportunity to mentor others in their journey to become better teachers and gain recognition for their teaching practices to be incredibly fulfilling, even as an academic on the enhanced research pathway.
Furthermore, this role has helped me to stay up to date with teaching pedagogy in the sector, thus serving as a form of continuing professional development. By interacting with prospective applicants and reading their reflections, I have learned about new teaching practices and interventions that I wouldn’t have researched on my own or implemented in my teaching (at least, for now).
What words of encouragement could you offer to someone thinking of gaining recognition?
The process of gathering evidence on the effectiveness of teaching practice, reflecting on them, and writing a reflective essay could be very challenging. However, gaining HEA Fellowship recognition is a way of showcasing the incredible amount of effort that you have invested in developing yourself, your peers, and your students. So, start (re)searching, reflecting, and writing TODAY!
What would be your top tips in preparing a claim for HEA Fellowship?
Here are my top six tips for a colleague or mentee preparing a HEA Associate Fellow or Fellowship application:
- Not sure about how to start, talk to a mentor or a colleague that has recently achieved the same level of recognition.
- Research literature to discover your teaching identity and explore how this has changed over time using a timeline diagram.
- Think about the steps and/or actions you have taken to connect with and/or support your students.
- Gather evidence on the impact of these steps and/or actions on your students.
- Reflect on the identified impact. Ask yourself these questions – what has worked, what has not worked and what can be improved?
- Lastly, start writing!
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.