T&L Development Programmes

Applying for Advance HE fellowship as a PS colleague


Anest Valentine had been interested in pursuing Advance HE fellowship ever since joining the higher education sector. However, it was only at The University of Manchester that she discovered an accreditation scheme with a clear fellowship route for PS colleagues. After a couple of false starts, Anest completed and submitted her application in June 2022.

Here she talks us through the motivations behind applying for Fellowship (FHEA) and reflects on the challenges she has faced along the way.

What role do you hold within the Faculty TLSE team?

My job title is Teaching, Learning and Students Coordinator. I support a range of Quality Assurance processes across the Faculty including areas such as programme development.

What prompted you to apply for fellowship?

I think becoming accredited in a profession demonstrates your commitment to the area and improves your own practice, whilst also improving your future employability. I’m already finding that the application has helped shape my understanding of how I approach my work, which in turn has given me insight into my strengths and how I can best utilise these.

How did you determine that Fellowship (FHEA) was the level you should apply for?

I attended a LEAP information session before signing up and this really helped me to understand the levels. After attending I had a think about possible case studies I could use and how these would align with the descriptors. I felt I could meet the descriptors for FHEA.

What was the biggest challenge you faced whilst completing your application?

Time. I joined the LEAP programme in February 2020 but during Covid I struggled to find the headspace to complete the application. I started writing on two separate occasions but never got close to submitting.

How did you overcome this challenge?

A colleague offered to informally mentor me and this gave me the push to see the application through. They gave me advice on how to break down the application into manageable tasks and kept me accountable by checking in on me and making sure I was making progress. This helped me to carve out dedicated time to complete the application.

Did you access any support or resources provided by the LEAP team?

I attended a workshop back in March 2020 which was really useful. However, so much time passed between attending and starting my application that I wish I’d attended another as a refresher. I also found the LEAP blackboard space useful, especially looking at examples from PS colleagues to understand how they had mapped their experiences against the descriptors.

Were you apprehensive about applying for fellowship as a PS member of staff?

I definitely felt daunted by the prospect, especially as some descriptors felt very abstract when trying to tie them to my own work. I had to carefully select my case studies to ensure they mapped to the descriptors.

But I would also say that applying for fellowship has helped to enhance my wellbeing at work. It’s easy to lose sight of how far you’ve come, but the reflective portfolio allowed me to see the progress I’ve made in my role and the progress I am still making.

What advice would you give to other PS colleagues applying for an Advance HE fellowship?

Pick a deadline and stick to it. I never fully committed to submitting on a certain date and always thought I’d aim for the next one. In hindsight I could have done my application much sooner.