Fellow (FHEA)

What a FHEA application looks like

Checklist for FHEA. 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. 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.

In the examples given, notice how there is a mixture of description and reflection 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.

Fellow (FHEA) 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. When I became a PhD student, I was keen to become a tutor in [my discipline], and tutored one course a semester for three years. I started convening courses as soon as I took on my position as Lecturer in [my discipline] here at ANU in 2013, and I have convened the undergraduate courses AAAA2000 [Name] and AAAA3000 [Name] for the past three years. Each course has 30-60 students, and I do all the ‘lecturing’, tutorials and assignment marking. I participated in the Foundations of University Teaching & Learning modules in 2013, and have been attending the annual teaching seminars in my College. I have just been invited to sit on the College Education Committee as an early career representative.
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 an academic today I have both those teachers often in mind, and that makes me work hard to treat each student as an individual 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 teaching is also driven by my constant desire to learn more about how to communicate what I am researching, because I am passionate about my discipline and want my students to feel excitement of primary research. A compelling influence on me as I have moved into running my own courses has been the notion of ‘servant leadership’, as discussed by Robert Greenleaf and Larry Spears (2002) in ‘Servant Leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness’. It seems to me that in our courses, every convenor is a ‘leader’ and yet also a ‘servant’ in terms of making sure their students are well supported as learners. I try to remember this when students ask the ‘same old question’.

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.

Describe and reflect upon your recent (past three to five years) engagement and experience of teaching and support of learners, including reference to all elements of your Core Knowledge K1 to K5 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. Include references to scholarly works that have influenced your teaching.

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 2 to make sure you are providing all the evidence needed to meet this set of criteria.


I am very keen on online learning as the future for taking my discipline to a broader audience. I have spent a great deal of time designing my courses in a blended format that makes really good use of technologies such as Wattle (Moodle) and multimedia, for example by making very thoughtful use of Socrative for student engagement in classes, and making small videos about lab techniques, which I have uploaded onto Wattle (K4). My knowledge about working in online environments comes from training I did on Moodle in 2009, and my work experience at ANU since then (K1). I have attended Moodleposia for three or four years now, and an ascilite conference last year (A5), and that really helped me understand more about relevant learning theory, and how online learning needs to be designed (K2). I am particularly keen on Laurillard’s Conversational Framework (Laurillard 2000, 2008) as a model for designing online learning, and also see Khan Academy videos as a model to work towards.
Section 4.2 Reflective narrative on Area of Activity (800 words max)
A2 Teach and/or support learning

I’m a researcher in the same field that I teach, which means that I am confident in my knowledge of the subject I am teaching, and am usually quite up to date with new research (K1). I attend conferences in my field, and last year attended the Education stream of the Association of [my discipline] annual conference, so that I could really be up to date with the way my discipline is taught. I came back very keen on a particular way of teaching using an online role play that was demonstrated there, and has subsequently been published, by Mahanty and Beckmann (2016). I used their ideas to create my own online role-play, with the help of an educational technologist from the College (K4). I evaluated the role-play at every stage of development (K6), using design-based research (Reeves, 2006), and the students were very positive. Next year’s version will be even better. When I teach, I try to help the students focus on concepts from their readings rather than detailed information recall. I learnt about doing this through a group work technique I learned from the Foundations modules I attended at CHELT (A5, K2). Through attendance at an APD module on “How students learn” (F4, Nov 2015), I came to understand about constructive alignment and the power of learning outcomes in course design (Biggs & Tang, 2011; V3). I was also able to talk to other lecturers at Foundations and get their ideas on dealing with worried students. I now focus on making the students feel comfortable and safe as learners, as a starting point to each lecture and tutorial. For example, I share with them that I also find deadlines an issue sometimes, so then we can talk about time management techniques when thinking about assignments.
Section 4.3 Reflective narrative on Area of Activity (800 words max)
A3 Assess and give feedback to learners

In my courses I use a range of assessment approaches: essay, lab notebooks, online self-paced and self- correcting quizzes, and a short end of course exam. I find that planning is the key to good assessment – so I spend a lot of time on trying to get the assessments right. I think students must feel respected, emotionally safe, and comfortable to admit gaps in their knowledge and skills, regardless of their background (V1). This means they must be sure that they are safe to admit when they don’t know something, or if they get something wrong, so I try to be very fair and careful in assessment and feedback all times, especially in the face to face and group settings in lab sessions.

Thinking about student support and guidance in the context of feedback, I have tried the ‘feedback sandwich’ model of ‘tell them something good they do, then their weakness, then another strength’, which I learned about from a CHELT seminar on assessment by David Boud last year, but usually most students seem to focus on the negative feedback anyway. But after reading some of the research on assessment (V3), I have more confidence in following through with my own intuition.

I design assessments to be formative as well as summative, and develop the marking criteria well in advance in the form of a rubric that I can share with students, so that they are primed for the kind of feedback I will be giving. In a safe learning environment, I find students can listen carefully and start to develop better skills, as long as they feel I am being fair with my feedback.

Section 4.4 Reflective narrative on Area of Activity (800 words max)
A4 Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance

I spend several hours each week teaching students in small groups (20-25 students). I strongly believe that a safe and supportive environment lays the foundations for effective learning (V1). This means I work hard to create a nurturing learning environment in my lectures and tutorials and spend time thinking about this in my planning. I make sure I never sit behind my desk if we are meeting in my office but sit next to them, so they feel like we are equals. I don’t always have such control over the physical environments in which we meet as a group, but, if possible, I certainly try to ensure a comfortable temperature, appropriate seating and lighting, and an arrangement of seating that suggests (and supports) collaborative learning rather than a ‘me and them as individuals’ pattern. Last year I tried out a flipped classroom model (supported by advice Professor Joe Hope in Physics) which meant we spent many hours a week in the drab and fairly ugly tutorial rooms. I started to bring along a set of research posters (relevant to the topic) each time, which I stuck up with blu-tak. This was an idea I picked up at a conference. It takes a few minutes but it is worth it. Students have remarked that this bit of colour brightens up their day and makes them more cheerful in my classes than in others that they attend. The psychological environment is even more crucial.

As appropriate, I try to ensure that the students know I think of them as real people, all individuals with their own needs (V1). I also make sure I am up to date in what ANU expects us to do to help students with problems—I did the online Foundations module F9 ‘Supporting our Students’ and that really gave me all the information I needed (V3, V4). I have had several students come to me with major issues in their lives that are impacting on their learning, so I make that I listen well, but then ensure that they get professional support from the Counselling Centre or medical services. Last year I had to phone Access and Equity to help me with a student with a learning issue: the student was encouraged to register and then I was sent an Educational Access Plan for the student, which helped me to know what to do (V1). I worked with the Head of School to identify first the ‘inherent requirements’ of the courses I teach, and then the ‘reasonable adjustments’ I should make. For example, I found that giving a student with a learning disability a week longer to think about the essay topic, and a longer consultation time to discuss it, worked quite well to meet that student’s needs without drawing attention to differences.

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

Last year I completed the ANU Foundations of University Teaching and Learning decamod. The online module F1 (Teaching at ANU: Policies and Context) really helped me understand the national regulatory context in which ANU operates, which I had no idea about before! I also now understand the ANU policies that impact on me as a teacher at ANU.

I found I learnt ideas from nearly all the Foundations modules that I was able to put in place immediately. For example, I’d never heard about constructive alignment before, but it really made sense to me as a way of thinking about teaching, and I am now reading ‘Quality Teaching at University’ (Biggs & Tang, 2011) to try to understand more.

I have so many students from different language groups and cultures in my courses that I have to work hard to be inclusive in my teaching (V1). I don’t always find this easy, I admit, so I have taken every opportunity to read about cross-cultural competence in my field of business studies (e.g. Johnson, Lenartowicz, & Apud, 2006) and to talk to my students about times when my teaching style of asking lots of questions may make them uncomfortable or unsure what to do. Helping international students achieve their best is an issue for all Australian universities, and it’s something we talk about in our School quite often, so I have been identifying some research supported by the Office for Learning & Teaching (V4).

I always try to write down one actual practice I could incorporate into my teaching whenever I read educational research, and my favourite so far has been the use of student response systems – like the ‘clickers’ that Eric Mazur used in peer instruction at Harvard (V3). For example, I now use the free software Socrative in all my classes, either to test students’ knowledge of concepts, or their ability to solve problems, or to get feedback on how the teaching has gone that day.

Section 5. Reflective case study on an aspect of my peer engagement practice (1000 words max)
The case study allows you to focus on describing, and reflecting on, an area of your teaching or learner support in some depth. It should extend your narrative to ensure you have addressed all the elements of Core Knowledge and Professional ValuesAND all elements of Descriptor 2. How to approach writing a case study is discussed in module E3.
Section 6. Literature reference list
Include a reference list of all literature cited in your application in the reference 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 2. This is the part of the intra- College and cross-University mentoring within the EFS. If this poses a problem for you, please seek advice from your EFS mentor).

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 efs@anu.edu.au for feedback from an EFS mentor. When you’re satisfied with your final application, you are ready to submit.