Senior Fellow (SFHEA)
What a SFHEA application looks like

Checklist for SFHEA. Overview of my teaching/learner support experience. Philosophy of teaching and learning. Reflective narratives for 5 Areas of Activity (A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5): including K1, K2, K3, K4, K5, K6, V1, V2, V3 and V4. 2 reflective case studies (both case studies must focus on mentoring and supporting your peers). Literature reference list. 2 referee reports (both referees must authenticate your practice. 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.

Senior Fellow (SFHEA) 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, including work with peers. The assessors will expect this overview to be expanded upon in the reflective narrative that follows.


I became a tutor in [my discipline] when I was a PhD student and tutored one course a semester for three years. This gave me a taste for teaching, and I started convening courses when I became a Lecturer in [College] at ANU in 2010. I have convened the third year undergraduate course AAAA3000 [Name] and the postgraduate course AAAA6000 [Name] for the past six years. These courses have enrolments from 30-80 students, and I do all the ‘lecturing’ (three one-hour interactive lectures) and assignment marking, and manage/support two tutors a year. I have coached my tutors to become much more focused on active learning in tutorials. I was involved in my Program’s recent curriculum review, and was particularly involved in introducing the idea of formative assessment across the major. I have been a member of various College Education Working Groups. I completed all the Foundations of University Teaching & Learning modules in 2013, attend teaching seminars in my College, and have joined my discipline’s education-focused associated. My interests as an educator are in authentic, research-led learning, and giving my students a blended experience of learning so that they are familiar with online approaches to learning in [my discipline]
Section 3. My philosophy of teaching and learning (400 words max)
What is your philosophy of teaching and learning? What drives you as a teacher in higher education? What is your personal understanding of teaching and learning at university? Which theories or ideas motivate your approach to teaching? Which values or beliefs inspire the way you work with students? Who or what has specifically influenced teaching? Which values or beliefs inspire the way you work with students? Who or what has specifically influenced you, through your professional development, reading, coaching (either as a coach or as an applicant), or your own learning experiences? Where appropriate, refer specifically to the individual Professional Values (V1V4).

This part of your application is not “assessed” as such (philosophies may be quite personal), but provides an important context in which the assessors can understand your approach to higher education teaching.

Section 4.1 Reflective narrative on Area of Activity (800 words max)
A1 Design and plan learning activities and/or programs of study
Section 4 is the main feature of your application. Reflect on all five Areas of Activity starting with A1 here.

As an applicant for SFHEA, you are expected to be able to describe, and reflect on, a very high level of engagement and experience of teaching and/or supporting learners at AQF6 and above; an evidenced commitment to upholding the Professional Values; and a clear focus on developing your professional understanding about teaching, and applying this. You are also expected to have been significantly involved with working with your peers as part of these activities.

This reflective account should therefore recount your personal story of your experience with university teaching and learning. It must show how you have learned from your experience and your engagement in professional development, and reflect on your practice. The narrative must include reflection, not just description, and should address all the elements of Descriptor 3 of the PSF. As you write the following five sections (4.1 to 4.5), please ensure you consider your experience in all its breadths and depth.

Some of the questions that you may ask yourself, supported by your EFS coach, might include:

  • With which kinds of teaching or other ways of supporting learners have you been involved (e.g. associated with lecturing, supervising, tutoring, demonstrating, coaching, leadership, research, administration, support or scholarship)?
  • How have the activities in which you have been involved contributed to your professional practice in teaching and learning, and the way it has developed over time?
  • How have you engaged with your peers in developing both your own, and potentially, your teaching practice?
  • What particular lessons have you learned from your experience, and how has your thinking or practice changed as a result?

You may want to allude to career highlights, roles and responsibilities, relevant qualifications, teaching awards, professional development activities, initiatives and innovations, and/or research in teaching and learning, but avoid simply listing them – you must reflect on how these have influenced you as an educator.

Please annotate your reflective narrative with reference to PSF (e.g. A4, K6, etc.) and Descriptor 3, in substantive (not superficial) ways, as discussed in the EF modules and by your EFS coach.

Section 4.2 Reflective narrative on Area of Activity (800 words max)
A2 Teach and/or support learning
Same as above (Section 4.1) but reflect on A2 here.
Section 4.3 Reflective narrative on Area of Activity (800 words max)
A3 Assess and give feedback to learners
 Same as above (Section 4.1) but reflect on A3 here.
Section 4.4 Reflective narrative on Area of Activity (800 words max)
A4 Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance
 Same as above (Section 4.1) but reflect on A4 here.
Section 4.5 Reflective narrative on Area of Activity (800 words max)
A5 Engage in continuing professional development in subjects/disciplines and their pedagogy, incorporating research, scholarship and evaluation of professional practices
 Same as above (Section 4.1) but reflect on A5 here.
Section 5.1 Reflective case study on an aspect of my peer engagement practice (1000 words max)
D3.7 Successful co-ordination, support, supervision, management and/or mentoring of others (whether individuals and/or teams) in relation to teaching and learning
To be successful in an application for SFHEA, you must show that you have taken others with you – that you have engaged fully and effectively with your peers – on your learning journey as an educator in higher education.

To ensure that we can assess this aspect of your experience in all its breadth and depth, we ask you to focus on demonstrating PSF Descriptor D3.7 in two case studies. These case studies allow you to give in-depth reflections on two distinct aspects of your professional practice in teaching that demonstrate your successful and sustained contribution to others, specifically through engagement with your peers through coaching or leadership, and supervision and support of junior staff such as tutors or demonstrators. These roles must be in the context of university teaching and learning. Your case studies should also be annotated with reference to all elements of Core Knowledge and Professional Values, and reflect Descriptor 3 overall.

Section 5.2 Reflective case study on an aspect of my peer engagement practice (1000 words max)
D3.7 Successful co-ordination, support, supervision, management and/or mentoring of others (whether individuals and/or teams) in relation to teaching and learning
Same as above (Section 5.1). Provide another example of a reflective case study on an aspect of your peer engagement practice.
Section 6. Literature reference list
Include a reference list of all literature cited in your application in the style of your choice.
Section 7. 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 3. 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.