Associate Fellow (AFHEA)

What an AFHEA application looks like

Checklist for AFHEA. Overview of my teaching/learner support experience. Philosophy of teaching and learning. Reflective narratives for 2 Areas of Activity (A?; A?): including K1, K2, V1, V2, V3 and V4. Literature reference list. 2 referee reports (one of the referees must be a HEA Fellow).

Below is what an Application form will look like, along with some examples from previous applicants. You can download this form along with other relevant documents from here.

In the examples given, notice how there is a mixture of description and reflection, how the applicant reflects on experiences in the relative context of his or her position, and how the Professional Standards Framework (PSF) elements are cross-referenced where appropriate.

Please do not copy or mimic these words or styles. Your reflective writing, and the benefits to you of reflective practice, will be much more powerful if you adopt your own style.

Associate Fellow (AFHEA) Application
Section 1. Application cover sheet
Complete the cover sheet, sign it and scan it to attach to the start of your application. By signing, you are declaring that:

  • the information you have provided is true and correct, maintains academic integrity and does not breach anyone else’s rights to privacy or confidentiality; and
  • if you are successful in your application, you will commit to upholding the HEA Code of Practice, and remain in good standing with HEA and the EFS by continuing your professional development to enhance your teaching skills, knowledge and practice (e.g. by attending EFS events and workshops).
Section 2. Overview of my learning experience in teaching/learning (400 words max)
In this paragraph, you should concisely explain the context of your teaching, and the breadth and depth of your teaching roles and experiences.


I have always been interested in teaching, inspired by great teachers at school and university, and did some peer coaching when I was an undergraduate. So when I became a PhD student, I was keen to become a tutor in [my discipline]. I have been teaching second year students from ANU for one year, across two courses. My main teaching role is in small-group teaching about specific knowledge/skills that complement the course lectures. I also have to mark the main assignment. I participated in the Principles of Tutoring and Demonstrating course last year, and have been attending the Tutor Cafe since then. These developmental opportunities have helped me to think more deeply about how I help students.
Section 3. My philosophy of teaching and learning (400 words max)
In this paragraph, you should concisely explain what motivates and drives you as a teacher. You might find it appropriate to refer to some of the Professional Values here.


Key motivators driving me as a tutor are my own memories of teachers who made a difference, and my concern for the pressures that today’s students have to work under. I had a wonderful high school teacher who always gave me feedback in a great way, even when I was not really producing to my capacity. I also had a really tough lecturer when I was a first year student, who wouldn’t let us slack off as learners, but always reminded us of why we were studying.

In my approach as a tutor today I have both those teachers in mind, and that makes me work hard to treat each student as an individual (V1) wanting to become a professional in my field rather than as a ‘knowledge machine’. I am also conscious that most students pay very high fees to study at university (V4), so I try to make sure that at least my students receive ‘value-for-money’, and are really treated like individuals with different needs and strengths (V1). My tutoring is also driven by my constant desire to learn more about what I am researching, because teaching helps me do that.

Section 4.1 Reflective narrative on first Area of Activity (800 words max)
This is the main feature of your application. Reflect on one Area of Activity here (from A1 to A5)

Describe and reflect upon your recent (past three years) engagement and experience of teaching and support of learners, including reference to (at least) your Core Knowledge K1 and K2 and your commitment to Professional Values V1 to V4. At appropriate points, describe the professional development activities in which you have participated, and how you have incorporated that new knowledge into your activities.

This is a reflective narrative, so please make sure you not only describe what you have done in teaching and/or supporting learners, but also reflect on why you did it that way, what you learned from your experience, and how that has affected what you do now (or plan to do in the future).

Annotate your narrative with the relevant Knowledge (Ks) and Values (Vs), but make these substantive, not tokenistic. Also keep looking back to Descriptor 1 to make sure you are providing all the evidence needed to meet this set of criteria.


A1 Designing learning activities - applicant is an educational designer
A2 Teaching and/or supporting learning - applicant is a tutor
A3 Assessment and feedback - applicant is a demonstrator
A4 Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance - applicant is a tutor
A5 Engage in continuing professional development (in teaching) - applicant is a tutor
Section 4.2 Reflective narrative on second Area of Activity (800 words max)
Same as above (Section 4.1). Reflect on your other Area of Activity here (from A1 to A5). See above for examples.
Section 5. Literature reference list
Include a reference list of all literature cited in your application in the reference style of your choice.
Section 6. Referees
Your application must be submitted with statements from two referees who can authenticate your practice. You can also provide evidence in your reflective narrative that your practice has been authenticated by others, for example, through peer observation or review. You can download a Referee Report template to send them.

Referees are required to attest to the effective elements of your practice, through their personal experience. Your referees should therefore be able to provide informed corroboration of your teaching experience and capabilities in the context of the PSF and your application.

At least one Referee Report must come from an existing HEA fellow in your College (AFHEA, FHEA, SFHEA or PFHEA), who can comment on the evidence you have provided, your teaching and/or supporting learning activities, and the relevance to Descriptor 1. This is the part of the intra- College and cross-University coaching within the EFS. If this poses a problem for you, please seek advice from your EFS coach).

Please include both completed Referee Reports at the end of your application in one PDF document.

What’s next?

Go to Application forms to download all the required documents. Once you have completed a draft, send it to for feedback from an EFS coach. When you’re satisfied with your final application, you are ready to submit.