HEA Fellowship – an opportunity for cross-cultural pedagogical reflection

Giselle Tur Porres photo

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, Gisselle Tur Porres from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science shares her story of reflecting on both pedagogical and cultural differences in supporting learning helped frame her claim for HEA Fellowship (FHEA).

“As a reflective practitioner myself, the Fellowship recognition process has allowed me to reflect, rethink learning and teaching experiences and work towards further development of my teaching practices, with cultural pertinence

Continue reading “HEA Fellowship – an opportunity for cross-cultural pedagogical reflection”

Make 2022/23 your year to gain HEA Fellowship Recognition

sunflowers field
sunflowers field
Sunflowers – Image by Siggy Novak on Pixabay

What are you planting today to harvest tomorrow?  Lailah Gifty Akita

The last 2 to 3 years have been a real challenge, but also meant a lot of changes and innovations in teaching practice. If you do not currently hold a category of HEA Fellowship, then make 2022-23 the year to complete an application. Consider what you have done the last 3 academic years and what you will be doing this academic year and how that experience can be harvested to gain HEA Fellowship.

Watch our for regular encouragement from SALT’s Recognition Team to plant the first seeds of your Fellowship claim.

More information about gaining HEA Fellowship recognition at Swansea University can be found here.


Associate Fellowship recognition – supporting student learning as a demonstrator

photo of Xiaorong Li

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, Xiaorong Li from the Faculty of Science and Engineering shares her experiences of supporting learners as a demonstrator and how, in reflecting on that, gained Associate Fellowship recognition (AFHEA).

Continue reading “Associate Fellowship recognition – supporting student learning as a demonstrator”

Preparing to teach (again) – Top Tips to get you back in the swing

We hope that you were able to recharge your batteries over the summer and so may be starting to think about your teaching for this coming semester.

Here’s some easy, concise tips and suggestions of how you might review what and how you teach or provide support to your learners.

Some Fundamentals

  • Review your syllabus – check out the learning outcomes, content and assessment. In particular make sure that Week 1 is planned really well and that materials are engaging, inclusive and accessible.
  • You might record the assignment task and criteria in a video – click this link to self-enrol on a course to explore using Studio in Canvas. You’ll probably cover the assignment expectations in class, but this will be an easy ‘go to’ resource to signpost to students.

The TEL Team within SALT is offering a range of sessions to help get your content ready on Canvas.  Visit: Get Ready for 2022/23 – Swansea University

  • Find out about your students – how many might be enrolled, their backgrounds (e.g. mature/international/visual or learning impairments). This information will help to inform you of any adaptations necessary to have relevant examples/case studies and suitable approaches and materials.
  • What learning spaces have you been allocated and/or what are possible other spaces you can use? We’d recommend you visit and familiarise yourself with the teaching spaces, and the equipment, if possible before you teach. Check out the centrally bookable room images on Flickr: Learning Environments’s albums | Flickr
  • Refamiliarise yourself with your teaching methods (SALT can help with e.g. using podcasts or Flipped Learning approaches – see our webpage: Pedagogy – Swansea University).
  • Look (again) at past module evaluations for practices to improve – but take a long perspective and don’t respond necessarily to possible ‘fads’.
  • Try not to leave things to the last minute! Your tone of voice and presentation for audio/video resources can be negatively impacted when you are under time pressures. (For other tips, review this excellent resource: Top 10 Tips for accessible, engaging video microlectures (edgehill.ac.uk))

Delving a bit deeper:

  • Get peer feedback – as a one-off or as an ongoing activity.
  • Investigate what professional development courses are available that would help hone your skills? SALT’s programme can be booked via our Forthcoming events: https://bit.ly/SUSALTEvents but there may be other sessions available organised through the University’s Department for Training Services, at School/Faculty level or via your subject or professional body.
  • Review resources you have previously highlighted. Remember all those ‘likes’, bookmarked web pages or articles you emailed to yourself to look at? Time to read priority ones.
  • Keep reflecting on your teaching – as you teach, make notes on your slides/handouts/ keep a ‘teacher’s diary’. This activity will be particularly helpful for HEA fellowship claims/remaining in good standing and for PDR/promotion.

Engaging with your learners

  • Think about how you can engage your students and harness enthusiasm for your course. If you’re still teaching online, we have various Tips or you can use a range of active learning approaches or engagement activities in person or online.
  • Share your teaching philosophy – explain why the course is designed as it is and why certain aspects reflect professional requirements.
  • Ask students about what their goals are and find out their prior knowledge on your subject – you can then tailor activities and build connections.
  • Set clear expectations of both self and students and you might want to consider jointly developed rules or assignment tasks (co-created activities)
  • Think about how you might build community among your learners, introduce ice breakers and make it fun e.g. a PADLET to collect photos/favourite music

Connecting with your team

  • Get to know colleagues who teach or support learning on your course – including those in professional services such as student experience advisers, subject librarians, technology enhanced learning staff to support one another and provide a great programme level experience for your students.

SALT can help!

If you need help with any of the above, please get in touch with us in SALT: salt@swansea.ac.uk or via our website: Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching (SALT) – Swansea University


The above suggestions reflect a combination of ‘crowd sourced’ suggestions via Twitter in August 2022 combined with the 2021 blogpost by Alexandra Mihai: Time to reboot and start the new semester (substack.com) – her blogpost has some suggestions specific to teaching again in the pandemic and includes more links to further resources.

Word version of the above post: Preparing to teach blogpost Sep 2022

Supporting Staff in Assuring and Enhancing Quality of Learning and Teaching

James Bennett

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, James Bennett from Academic Quality Services (AQS) shares how he was able to draw on his work in supporting staff in developing new and revised programmes of study to gain HEA Associate Fellowship and the adjustments needed to support staff in changing delivery modes in the pandemic.

Continue reading “Supporting Staff in Assuring and Enhancing Quality of Learning and Teaching”

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 (https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa53509).

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

Valuing Teaching and Influencing others – Ellen Spender reflects on her SFHEA Journey

coloured board game pieces with the one in front in focus

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!

Ellen is also going to share her story and tips in preparing her Senior Fellowship claim with opportunity for questions – Swansea University staff register via SALT’s Upcoming Events for this session on May 9th at 12 noon!

Ellen Spender, SFHEA, School of Management


I am Ellen Spender and I am a Senior Lecturer in Accounting and the School Engagement Partner in the School of Management. I completed my Postgraduate Certificate of Education in 1999 and I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Why did gaining Senior Fellowship recognition matter to you? Why apply?

I have been employed in Swansea since 2015 and it was around this time that I first heard about Fellowship and shortly afterwards applied for Associate Fellow of the HEA. This process enabled me to reflect on my teaching and, following this achievement, I was awarded several teaching awards and also received a National Inspire Tutor Award. In 2021 I decided to apply for Senior Fellowship to further reflect about why I teach and the importance of building good relationships with my students. It took me 9 months following registration to start my application as I found the idea of thinking about 2 case studies, unique to me, quite daunting. At this time, I started to think about what I do on a daily basis that makes a difference to not only my students but how I also support my colleagues. In addition to reflecting on my own teaching practice it was essential to collect evidence of how my teaching practice influences others. The benefits of applying for Senior Fellowship are numerous: it enables the reflection of your own personal development and how the practices you use influence your teaching and how you can use your practices to inform your colleagues.

How have you continued to apply the standards of the UKPSF in your work since gaining that recognition whilst teaching online?

Achieving SFHEA is not the end of the journey but rather a guide to use in preparation for future teaching. Reflection on prior experience informs future practice and I now use the Dimensions of the Framework to:

Design my programmes by reflecting on the blend of teaching strategies I use to develop an effective learning environment for my students.

Achieving SFHEA helps me with my research and preparation of teaching and assessment materials. It helps me reflect and research appropriate learning technologies relevant to my discipline with focusing on the quality of my teaching.

The process of completing my SFHEA enables me to continually use evidence-informed approaches to respect individual learners and the diverse learning communities I am part of.

What top tips would you offer to someone delivering blended teaching/online learning in HE?

  1. Provide students with prior knowledge – let students know what topics will be covered and direct them to relevant sources prior to the schedules class. This can be through articles, pre-recorded lectures, YouTube videos.
  2. Let students know what is expected of them and establish a routine. Will you expect the chat to be utilised, reactions to be used, cameras on, etc.?
  3. Encourage collaboration both inside and outside the learning environment. Set collaborative tasks for student to bring to class. Utilise breakout rooms when teaching online and encourage students to meets their fellow students and form a learning community
  4. For workshops and seminars limit the use of slides and encourage learners to look at each other in order to connect. Aim for student-generated content rather than a lecture style prepped presentation. Try to make sure the students do most of the talking.
  5. Let there be silence but not for too long. Try not to jump in straight away if students do not contribute. It takes time for students to trust the learning environment.
  6. Do not let the session run over time.

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

Trust yourself. We are unique individuals and, outside of our teaching, we usually have another role within the university. This is a great starting point for one of the case studies. Applying for SF is a valuable experience and, the process of reflecting on my teaching practices and speaking to students and colleagues, it simply made me a better teacher.

What top tips would you offer to someone preparing a HEA Senior Fellowship application

  1. Attend an information session.
  2. Familiarise yourself with the terminology, descriptors and what is expected of you.
  3. Think about the contribution you make to your students and the university.
  4. Choose two case studies that you can discuss and evidence.
  5. Start collecting documents and researching data to evidence your claims in your application.


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

Role Modelling and Strategically Leading – the value of Recognition as a Principal Fellow – Part 2

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.

Dr. Jo Berry, PFHEA
Dr. Jo Berry, PFHEA

Jo Berry gained her PFHEA in November 2021 and is an Associate Professor in the School of Culture and Communications, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.  She’s held a range of College, School and institutional roles, including Dean of Assessment and Feedback. She is currently the School Education Lead.  Her passion is supporting student learning through effective assessment and feedback and inclusive learning practices.

She shares with us why she applied for Principal Fellow recognition and what this means to her.

Continue reading “Role Modelling and Strategically Leading – the value of Recognition as a Principal Fellow – Part 2”

A Pinch of SALT Podcast – #Breaking the Bias for IWD 2022

IWD 2022

For women all over the world, just being a woman can be hard. Having an International Women’s Day means that some of their stories can be told. Those more fortunate can learn from them and begin to understand how privileged they are.

In an episode of Swansea University’s own learning and teaching themed podcast published on International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2022, we celebrate being women in higher education. We discuss our fortunate position of living in a country where higher education is no longer just a male opportunity. We draw on our varied backgrounds, sharing our experiences, to offer a range of perspectives on university life. We also discuss the meaning and value of International Women’s Day.

In this insightful conversation, Mandy Jack and Rhian Ellis, from Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching, talk to:

  • Sophie Leslie, Student Partnership and Feedback Development Officer
  • Liza Leibowitz, a former Swansea University student and the Welfare Officer for Swansea University Students’ Union
  • Saabina Abubaker, second year student studying psychology and sociology
  • Dr Helen Williams, Lecturer in People and Organization, based in the school of management
  • Professor Yamni Nigam, faculty of medicine, health, and life sciences
  • Joanne Parfitt, Head of English Language Training Services.

Listen to the podcast by clicking on the link below:

A Pinch of SALT: What International Women’s day 2022 means at Swansea University

Together we show how far we have come from the London 9 back in 1869. But also, how there is still much more to do to achieve gender equality. By everyone, for everyone.



Role Modelling and Strategically Leading – the value of Recognition as a Principal Fellow – Part 1

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.

Dr. Claire Morgan, PFHEA
Dr. Claire Morgan, PFHEA

Claire Morgan gained her Principal Fellowship recognition in November 2021 and joined a small, but growing number of Principal Fellows at Swansea University.  Claire is Associate Professor in the Medical School, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Science specialising in cancer genetics.

Claire gained her PFHEA through the themes of strategic leadership in establishing/delivering the first NHS funded Genomic Medicine MSc in Wales to educate the healthcare professionals in genomics, Programme Director for the Genetics and Medical Genetics BSc Programmes, her external roles such as external examiner for HEI institutions including Bangor, Aberystwyth, Kings/St George, as well as her advisory role in subject specialist groups.

She shares with us why she applied for Principal Fellow recognition and what this means to her.

My honest answer in why I applied is that the University decided to embed HEA fellowship status into the University’s strategic goals. I therefore applied and obtained Fellowship in 2015 and in 2016 I applied for Senior Fellowship. However, in the process of applying for both FHEA and SFHEA it became more than a “tick box” exercise but one of self-reflection and to examine my own teaching practice. Now as programme director of the UG genetics and medical genetics programmes and the MSc Genomic Medicine programme, I felt I should apply for Principal Fellow to continue my journey of self-reflection but also to act as a role model to my colleagues and the students on my courses and for external recognition that my teaching and leadership is of a high professional standard.

Obtaining PFHEA is a prestigious accolade. It allows my teaching to be recognised and that my efforts and commitment to both students and staff are valued.

In terms of applying, Swansea University doesn’t have an internal route which is accredited, so all applications are submitted direct to Advance HE for scrutiny. Following the retirement of Professor Jane Thomas, Director of SALT and PFHEA holder herself in November 2020, there were no structured support options available internally.

But Claire is self-admittedly “someone who is very independent” and while SALT established an internal TEAMs site for staff interested in applying for PFHEA, she also contacted AdvanceHE and reports that she “had a detailed discussion with Sally Bradley, senior advisor for HEA Fellowships, which was extremely beneficial.”

In commenting on the application process itself, Claire notes

“The application process is challenging on several levels. You have to provide specific details of your leadership and your contribution and what impact that has had at institutional level or beyond, whilst at the same time adhering to stringent guidelines and word counts. You also must “blow your own trumpet” which can be disconcerting for many people – myself included! But what is key to obtaining PFHEA status is how well you can evidence your strategic leadership with specific examples and ultimately the impact of your leadership.”

There are four categories of Fellowship recognition, Associate, Fellow, Senior Fellow and Principal Fellow with these often being mistakenly for things you progress between and/or reflect seniority.

While Claire has gone ‘through the categories’ so to speak, she notes that the key difference between Senior Fellow (SFHEA) and Principal Fellow (PFHEA) is that

“SFHEA is concerned with supporting other members of staff through supervision, mentoring etc through leading academic teams or specific areas of L&T. The PFHEA still encompasses these roles, but PFHEA goes beyond supporting immediate members of your team. You must demonstrate and evidence your leadership across the University and also externally – how you have led changes that has far reaching impact”

The UKPSF which underpins the Fellowship categories was launched in the mid 2000s and re-issued in 2011 following a consultation. Its probably fair to say that Swansea had a slower start that other institutions in adopting the UKPSF and numbers of Fellows remained very low – less than 100 staff holding any category of Fellowship in 2015. The UKPSF though is embedded within framework for reward and recognition, from appointment to promotion.

So, with that timeframe in mind, is having Fellowship recognition changing perceptions of teaching?

“Definitely, no longer are lecturers seen as “just doing teaching”. Having HEA fellowship is formal recognition, either internally or externally,  of your commitment and experience to the educational process and your area of expertise.

Having to apply for PFHEA directly to Advance HE added another level of esteem as my application had to be reviewed externally giving me confidence that my leadership and impact could withstand external scrutiny.”

Helping others to get their Fellowship recognised

The internal route to HEA Fellowship administered by SALT relies heavily on the contributions of those who already hold Fellowship/Senior Fellowship or indeed Principal Fellowship, to support colleagues in preparing their application.  Claire has acted in that role as mentor and assessor and notes that its

“not only a rewarding experience by helping others but has been of personal benefit to me too. Providing feedback on applications and assessing submissions requires discussions with my colleagues, which has allowed me to learn from them and their experiences.

Not only am I able to disseminate my own best practice to others, but I am able to learn from them in turn, and disseminate best practice from other colleagues/departments (as well as an awareness of what may not be best practice) into my own teaching and that of my teaching staff, as a result enhancing student satisfaction, curriculum development and career progression of my teaching team.”

Quite often, those with PFHEA recognition are not teaching/supporting learners but involved in strategically leading policy.  Not for Claire though and when asked if she might stop teaching now she has PFHEA recognition she gave a robust NO.

“This is my job and I enjoy it. I am passionate about genetics and genomics and imparting that information onto students. I also enjoy supporting colleagues and in turn learning from them.”

And, so those thinking about, but perhaps not turned their attention to gaining recognition, she gives this strong advice.

“Just do it – it is such a valuable and rewarding exercise/experience. You cannot “fail”, you get the opportunity to respond to feedback and revise your application. It makes you think about your teaching, why you do what you do and how you can improve, at the same time as obtaining validation and recognition for all your hard work and commitment. There is nothing to lose but so much to be gained.”

Recognition Team Note

For more details about gaining recognition for your teaching through HEA Fellowship, please see the SALT website:  https://staff.swansea.ac.uk/academies/salt/recognition-hea-fellowship/
and/or contact salt@swansea.ac.uk for information about joining the PFHEA MS Teams site.