Here a Fellow, there a Fellow: Recognising good teaching in a time of crisis

Donaldson, Lisa (2021) Here a Fellow, there a Fellow: Recognising good teaching in a time of crisis.


The recent and ongoing pandemic has caused a sea change in teaching practices. 1.4 billion schools and universities closed globally and almost overnight teaching went online (McCarthy, 2020). This necessitated lecturers redesigning and planning learning activities, adapting to new ways of teaching or supporting learning, and developing innovative assessment practices. These are all Areas of Activity in the UK Professional Standards Framework which form the basis of Advance HE Fellowships (Advance HE).

This presentation will examine the Advance HE Fellowship scheme which has been adopted by increasing numbers of higher education institutions globally and provides individuals with a recognition of their practice, impact and leadership of learning and teaching. As so many lecturers and those who support learning have made huge strides in digital technologies, online pedagogies, and alternative assessments in recent months, it is a time to reflect on these experiences and innovations and consider it in the context of gaining recognition for teaching excellence. The value and importance of investing in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for those who teach has never been more important than in the current climate. Fellowship can be seen as a welcome recognition of the huge complexities faced and overcome by those in Higher Education this year.

Cultivating an environment that recognises the importance of teaching is a key focus of the DCU Strategic plan which values continuous professional development of all staff that support the student learning experience. In 2020, sixteen DCU staff became Fellows, joining over 128,000 worldwide. This presentation will share information on Fellowship levels, evidence requirements, and sample applications, as well as the experiences of DCU lecturers, learning technologists, and academic developers who have recently gone through the Senior Fellowship process. Central to the presentation will be a call to pause and reflect on all that we have collectively learned during the pandemic and consider this an opportunity to demonstrate and gain recognition for individual professionalism in learning and teaching .


McCarthy, N. (2020, March 24). UNESCO: COVID-19 School Closures Have Impacted Nearly 1.4 Billion Students. Forbes.

Advance HE. Fellowship.

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