Fellows’ testimonies

Hear from some of the University’s fellows about their decision to apply for a fellowship, their experience of the application process, and advice for new applicants!

Associate Fellows
Diep Ganguly AFHEA

Post-doc, Pogson Lab
ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology
ANU College of Science

Why did you decide to become a Fellow?
As a researcher, there are few expectations for my role as a teacher. However, motivated by my peers and advisors and my own experiences, I wanted to provide the best service I could in my teaching roles. I learnt about the Educational Fellowship Scheme and saw it as a massive opportunity not only for building networks to discuss teaching, but also to self-evaluate and consolidate my skills and weaknesses and receive formal recognition of going through this process.
What does being an AFHEA mean to you?
As an associate fellow, I feel that I am a part of a community of teachers who want to go the extra mile in providing a quality teaching environment for their students. Furthermore, it also means formal recognition for performing these duties, which are often overlooked in research-intensive environments.
How did going through the process of applying for AFHEA prompt you to reflect on, and potentially improve your teaching?
The biggest gain from going through this process was to go through a formalized process that prompted self-reflection on current teaching activities. This prompted me to realize that many habits were instinct-based rather than evidence-based. Indeed, this facilitated my exposure to a wealth of research, aimed at improving teaching outcomes, to which I would otherwise be oblivious. I found it rewarding to use this information to identify the strengths and weaknesses of my practices with empirical data.
What advice would you give to prospective EFS applicants?
Be open, honest, and willing to spend time on this. In a research-intensive setting, it was hard to prioritize my EFS application. However, I was eventually able to set aside time where I could really focus on thinking about my application, reflecting on my experiences, and looking up the relevant literature to help inform my thinking. Ultimately, I feel like this paid off as I feel empowered with my newfound knowledge, connections, and qualification.

Nabila Nisha AFHEA

PhD candidate
Research School of Management
ANU College of Business & Economics

Why did you decide to become a Fellow?
My first piece of professional development as an educator took place when I participated in the Principles of Tutoring and Demonstration module at CHELT. The sessions made me realise that you cannot improve your teaching if you do not know your own teaching philosophy. Who you are can affect the way that you teach! The need to think about and evaluate my own teaching philosophy stimulated my interest in becoming a Fellow.
What does being an AFHEA mean to you?
Being an Associate Fellow has exposed me to invaluable resources, support and professional networks for learning more about effective teaching strategies. I am, fortunately, now a part of an international community of practitioners and scholars that provides professional recognition for teaching and learning activities. For me, this is a constant reminder that my skills as an educator need continuous development.
What was the best part of the Fellowship process for you?
The Fellowship application process involves assessing your dimensions of practices in the form of Areas of Activity, Core Knowledge and Professional Values. Bringing these components together in the application was the most challenging, and the best part of the process. It allowed me to think about my own teaching philosophy and introduced me to educational scholarships.
What advice would you give to prospective EFS applicants?
Teaching is a privilege and to be an effective educator it is important to invest in one’s teaching practices. The EFS application process provides you with this investment opportunity. It makes you think about and assess, your own teaching philosophy, and enhances your teaching and professional learning. If you are new to teaching, an EFS application can be a great place to start to learn and reflect on your teaching strategies, and raise your own teaching standards.

Jennifer Amparo AFHEA

Fenner School of Environment & Society,
ANU College of Science

Why did you decide to become an Associate Fellow?
I learned about the Educational Fellowship Scheme from my advisers. As a full time academic in the Philippines, it would be strategic to be part of an internationally recognised educational scheme. I also see that I will benefit from the support training and services provided by CHELT through the EFS.
What does being an Associate Fellow mean to you?
It means being recognised for your teaching skills, innovations, and values. Being an Associate Fellow provides recognition to your initial teaching milestones and inspires you to be bolder in teaching innovations including coaching early career educators as you become a full-fledged fellow.
How did the process of applying for AFHEA prompt you to reflect on, and potentially improve your teaching?
I attended the Principles of Tutoring and Demonstration training/workshop and the coaching sessions with CHELT. The process helped me re-assess my teaching philosophy and strategies. These are commonly taken for granted particularly if you have been teaching for a long time. The application process helped me evaluate my years of teaching – see what worked, what needs improvement and what I could contribute to fellow academics and facilitators when I return to teaching after I receive my PhD.
What advice would you give to prospective EFS applicants?
Humility, openness, and dedication. These are the three things that I believe any EFS applicant needs. Your number of years teaching does not always mean you are a teaching expert – we might be an expert in our field and discipline, but teaching is another thing. We need to be open for new ideas as teaching-learning context differs. The EFS application requires us to sit down, evaluate and write down our teaching philosophy, statement, among others. It entails a number of process, thus we need to be patient and dedicate to complete the process.

Timothea Horn AFHEA

Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy,
ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Why did you decide to become an Associate Fellow?
I was looking for ways to translate my years of tutoring experience into a more formal qualification to consolidate my skills and also look to open up professional possibilities after my PhD. We are very lucky that the ANU offers us this opportunity to complement our research programs with an internationally-recognised teaching program. Once I’d made the first step to applying, I was in. The time and effort required are an excellent investment in becoming a better teacher. I haven’t looked back since.
What does being an Associate Fellow mean to you?
Being an Associate Fellow means being affiliated to a professional body that is instantly recognisable at home and internationally for its standards of excellence. Of course this is a boost for job applications! But its also a reminder to keep brushing up on skills and training, particularly for Associate Fellows given there are multiple tiers to keep working towards.
How did the process of applying for AFHEA prompt you to reflect on, and potentially improve your teaching?
Self-reflection makes better teachers, and the application process for the Associate Fellowship is an excellent way to brush up on those skills. The process itself might prompt you to dig deeper on certain teaching practices in the future, but there are high chances you will also walk away with a sense of pride in your achievements. Writing them all down in succinct format can be a boost to morale.
What advice would you give to prospective EFS applicants?
Make the most of the resources and support available to you from the EFS team. The Wattle site is a great place to find links to research in pedagogy, which was particularly useful as this was a very new field for me. The events that the EFS team host are always worthwhile – you will walk away illuminated and inspired!

Fellows
Dr Josh Brown FHEA

Lecturer & Convenor,
Italian Studies
School of Literature, Languages & Linguistics
ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

What does being a FHEA mean to you?
Having a community where you can share your experiences in teaching, and hearing about others’ experiences, is invaluable. Teaching is an art form which can never perfected, so being able to constantly improve by hearing how colleagues teach is a reminder that I am always a student too.
How did going through the process of applying for FHEA prompt you to reflect on, and potentially improve your teaching?
The most insightful, but also difficult, part of the whole process was articulating my reflections on teaching. This forced me to interrogate whether the techniques I was using in the classroom were working or not, and how I could improve them. The process of applying for the fellowship allows you to step back and examine how all of your activities gel together.
What was the best part of the Fellowship process for you?
Conversations with colleagues about teaching. Everyone teaches differently, has a special talent, or a unique ‘trick’ they use in the classroom. Some teachers have very inventive ways of engaging students, motivating themselves, making material more accessible etc., which I had never thought of. The fellowship indulged my passion for teaching, and allowed me to talk to others about why they enjoy it so much as well.
What advice would you give to prospective EFS applicants?
Start jotting down thoughts about your teaching and examples as early as possible. The more you can incorporate everything you do into a “narrative” and tell a story about who you are and why you teach, the easier it will be to write those early drafts!

Tahseen Kamal FHEA

Ph.D.,
Research Associate, Adaptive Optics,
UNSW Canberra at ADFA

Why did you decide to become a Fellow?
I believe that having professional standard frameworks surrounding university teaching can ensure quality of education in the higher education sector. This recognition as a fellow not only translates to the quality of the teacher, but also helps the teacher to track his/her own performance. This is the reason I decided to become a Fellow. In my case, I had been teaching for a long time in Bangladesh. I wanted to make sure I was on par with the quality required to teach at an institution like ANU.
What does being an FHEA mean to you?
I feel that being an FHEA not only reflects the level and quality of education I can offer, but also adds to my responsibilities of maintaining that quality. It also gives me exposure to a network of experts and peers in university teaching. The level of confidence I have gained since being awarded an FHEA is something that adds flavour to my classroom teaching. Additionally, I feel that being an FHEA means I can also offer guidance to colleagues about resources related to the Professional Standards Framework (PSF).
What was the best part of the Fellowship process for you?
For me, the best part of the process was the access to resources that I knew existed but never explored, such as scholarly articles and information about the Professional Standards Framework (PSF). As a researcher and innovator, I do tend to practice different approaches in teaching. However, the support offered by the scholars adds much more to these practices.

Radhika Chaudhri FHEA

PhD Candidate
ANU College of Law

Why did you decide to become a Fellow?
I don’t have any formal teaching qualifications, and the EFS scheme provided a way to connect my teaching practices with the pedagogical scholarship, and reflect on the values that underpin my approach to teaching. I was also keen to complete this accreditation process and receive formal recognition for my years of teaching experience.
What does being an FHEA mean to you?
I am really proud to have been recognised as a Fellow. It’s great to have an internationally recognised accreditation. More importantly, it has made me a more confident teacher, and the process helped me develop my vocabulary around teaching.
How did going through the process of applying for FHEA prompt you to reflect on, and potentially improve your teaching?
The entire application process encourages you to actively consider what teaching means to you, why you teach the way you do, and where your teaching approach fits within the pedagogical scholarship. Writing a teaching philosophy allows you to really probe what your essential characteristics and values are as an educator and the different sections of the application require you to articulate how your teaching practices reflect professional values and knowledge. This whole process really made me think deeply how and why my teaching practices were effective, which provides a great basis to build upon.
What advice would you give to prospective EFS applicants?
Just do it, even though you don’t have time. With all the demands on academics’ time, an EFS application can end up on the backburner, but it is really worth the investment. My progress was sped up a lot with the support of CHELT, so make use of the resources they offer! They will answer questions, comment on drafts, and they offer writing sessions free from the distractions that invariably crop up in the office. It gives you a useful qualification and will make you a better and more thoughtful educator.

Andrew Fox FHEA

Lecturer & Course Convener, Masters of Project Management,
Research School of Management
ANU College of Business & Economics

Why did you decide to become a Fellow?
For me the journey started with becoming an Associate Fellow. I don’t remember actually deciding to become an AFHEA, I was new to ANU, I was relatively new to teaching after my “day one experience” of standing in front of 130 students and facing the sudden realisation that whilst I was knowledgeable in my area of expertise, I didn’t know how to teach this knowledge to students. I then discovered that CHELT were offering the Principles of Tutoring or Demonstrating (PTD) course, and it was through that process I applied for, and became, an AFHEA. After a further year of teaching as an AFHEA, I felt ready to apply to become a full Fellow whilst at the same time undertaking the Foundations of Teaching and Learning course at CHELT.
How did going through the process of applying for AFHEA prompt you to reflect on, and potentially improve your teaching?
Oddly enough, I discovered that many of the formal aspects of teaching I was already applying quite by accident (and with some I was completely wrong). The application process, along with the CHELT training, really helped me to articulate my teaching methodology and improve in areas that needed improving, such as being able identify the different ways students learn that might not align with my teaching methodology. The process also provided clarity for me in respect of what I wanted to be as a teacher.
What was the best part of the Fellowship process for you?
Well being accepted as a Fellow was a highlight but I think the best part was the comments from the assessors that I received. When I received the acceptance it was thrilling, but when I sat down and read the comments, it felt like all the work was worth it. All the late nights emailing back and forth between my mentor and myself (without her help I could not have achieved this); writing, re-writing and tweaking the application; confronting my own beliefs around teaching head on; getting out of my comfort zone – it all seemed worthwhile when I read the comments about what others thought of my teaching.

Dr AJ Mitchell FHEA

Research School of Physics and Engineering
ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science

Why did you decide to become a Fellow?
I had completed the FOUTAL decamod offered through CHELT and this got me thinking about my own teaching philosophy, and ways that I could raise my own standard of teaching. When I learned about the EFS, first I thought this would give me the opportunity to pull these ideas together and reflect on my teaching strengths and weaknesses. As well as going through this process, I am pleased to have ‘official’ recognition for the teaching I have undertaken. As an ECA, this will be important when I come to apply for permanent positions in the future.
What does being a Fellow mean to you?
I felt extremely proud when I was told my application was successful. This is a positive contribution to my development as an academic and I am very glad that I completed the program.
How did the process of applying for AFHEA prompt you to reflect on, and potentially improve your teaching?
This is inherently built into the process. From the first stage of the process, you are immediately asking yourself questions about your teaching. What kind of teacher do I want to be? How do I see myself as a teacher? How do my students see me as a teacher? It’s easy to drift from course to course, but the FHEA application made me sit and take stock of my experiences, make connections from ideas I had developed from FOUTAL, and ultimately think about how I can evolve as an educator in the future.
What advice would you give to prospective EFS applicants?
Write, write, write! There is a decent amount of work to do in putting the application process together and it can be daunting, especially considering all of the other things going on in work and life. I benefited from the writing sessions run offered by CHELT. Why not get together with colleagues who are completing applications, meet somewhere for a coffee for an hour each week (somewhere without distraction) and use the time to work on the application. It is worth it in the end.

Dr Alison Behie FHEA

School of Archaeology & Anthropology
ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

Why did you decide to become a Fellow?
I have always been very passionate about teaching and helping to encourage students to unlock and find what drives them. However, as many academics, I did not have a professional qualification in teaching. I wanted to become a Fellow of the HEA so that I had the qualification to back up my passion for education.
What does being a Fellow mean to you?
Being a fellow not only increases my confidence as a teacher, but it provides me with a network of like-minded people across the ANU that are focused on providing high quality teaching that I can talk to about challenges and successes in the education space. It also allows me to speak to my colleagues about reasons why they should join the HEA so this network continues to grow.
How did the process of applying for AFHEA prompt you to reflect on, and potentially improve your teaching?
Applying for fellowship of the HEA forced me to delve deeply into what makes me the teacher I am. It reminded me of many of the details of my past teaching that we often forget over time. This encouraged me to think about the variety of teaching exercises I had tried in past classes and to think about how I could revamp and reignite these activities for the classes I was teaching at the time.
What advice would you give to prospective EFS applicants?
Don’t wait! I think for many of us, these applications sit at the bottom of our “to do” lists because they do not have hard deadlines, but this is something that can not only help you in your teaching, but in your career development overall. It is well worth doing now.

Senior Fellows
Tim Grace SFHEA

Senior Manager
Education Communities & Environments
ANU Centre for Learning & Teaching (CLT)

Why did you decide to become a Fellow?
In the three years preceding my move to ANU I had been mentoring academics through the AdvanceHE direct application process at the University of Canberra (UC). Throughout that period I was not an Fellow; and so, to perform my role I relied on the initial guidance of experienced AdvanceHE mentors in the UK. Over time, I developed my own style and grew in confidence as an independent mentor. With experience, I noted some consistent traits that were common to successful applicants. Regardless of discipline and academic status, they became Fellows as a result of persistence applied to a problem they wanted to more deeply understand or resolve. Consistently, the successful applicants were able to describe what they were doing using well-crafted ‘stories’ to describe their educational journeys.
What was Fellowship application process like for you?
When it came to my turn to apply, despite the years of mentoring, the task was no easier for me than others. My thirty-plus years of school teaching formed a useful background but were not sufficient in arguing I had made a worthwhile professional contribution to the University sector. That being so, I set about taking a deep look at how my teaching skills, knowledge and understandings translate into my dealings with staff across the campus; and how in turn, those interactions improve student/teacher partnerships. Having determined my approach, it was great to have a colleague from the EFS team act as my critical friend. To her despair, I wrote way too many words to start with and often went on unnecessary tangents but under her strict guidance I eventually wove my threads into a convincing and interesting fabric.
What does being a Senior Fellow mean to you?
My journey, different as it was, can be generalised as meaningful to AdvanceHE. My signature block proudly includes the post-nominal SFHEA and is not just a marker of professional attainment. More so, it is a reminder to me that I am a member of a Fellowship that advances the cause of higher education through the modelling and sharing of good teaching practices. As a Senior I can help others benefit from my experience. In addition to supporting the EFS committee at ANU I am also privileged to be mentoring new aspirants through their application writing – their recognition as Fellows will be our reward.

Dr Yuko Kinoshita SFHEA

Honorary Senior Lecturer
School of Literature, Languages & Linguistics
ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

Why did you decide to become a Fellow?
I wanted to be a part of a movement which explicitly values university education. There is also a bit of back story. In 2013, the University of Canberra closed its Japanese Program, which I was convening. It was a shock in many ways, but what shocked me most was the realisation that what I regard as educationally extremely important was not valued by the university. This led me to some soul-searching questions: what have I been doing all these years? And what am I going to do now?
After a long period of reflection, I reached the conclusion that I believe in the role of university education, even more so than before. Luckily I was welcomed into the ANU community and introduced to the EFS – so here I am.
What was the best part of the Fellowship process for you?
The process forced me reflect on what I did, why, and how it worked, in reference to criteria set by others. This made me look at things from different angles and connect the dots in new ways.
What advice would you give to prospective EFS applicants?
Embrace it as a learning opportunity, and spend time on it! Reflection is one of the most powerful processes for improving our practice.
Now that you are a Fellow, how you would you like to help improve teaching across ANU?
My ultimate goal as an educator is to foster good thinkers. Being a sessional academic, I do not have much power in bigger institutional discussions. But I continue to develop the courses I teach with my educational goals firmly in mind and to share my practices with my colleagues through academic publications, presentations and personal discussions.