Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How to become an HEA Fellow

Higher Education Academy After I announced recently that I had been made a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), I was gratified by the many messages of congratulation I received. In conversations online and in person, several people also asked for advice about applying for HEA fellowships, so while I make no claim to be the right person to do this, I am happy to share my experience with you and make a few suggestions that I hope will be helpful to others considering applying.

1. Could you show me your application?
Certainly - here it is.
This is my application for a Senior Fellowship and may not be of much value to you, but I am happy to share this.

I urge you to read the guidance on the HEA website and make sure you are applying to the most appropriate level for you:
 AFHEA – Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
 FHEA – Fellows of the Higher Education Academy
 SFHEA - Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
 PFHEA – Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Be realistic but don't be too modest about your achievements.

3. So many frameworks, so little time
The main problem I had writing my application was conflicting advice. HEA makes it clear that applications should align with the UK Professional Standards Framework. Fine. However, the application form and guidance notes for each level on the HEA site do not mesh clearly with the UKPSF. Try as hard as you can to map the strengths identified in your application to both sets of criteria, and be explicit in defining where you have done this.

4. Referees
You'll need two "referee statements" (references). If one of those can be from your line manager, great, but pick the two most supportive and influential people you can find to argue your case - and make sure they've read the UKPSF and reference it explicitly in their statements so that they don't just write you a bland endorsement.

5. Good luck with your application!


  1. Very helpful documentation and careful selection of simple but effective ideas. I am FMHEA and thinking to apply for SFHEA but cannot find time to write two case studies and related commentary....But your blog encouraged me to go for it.
    Thanks for uploading your files.

  2. Some good tips here. Just received news of my own SFHEA success today and a Cranfield colleague pointed to this as an online sample to recommend to others. Funnily enough I am a Leicester Biological Sciences graduate who took 3rd year virology in 1992/93!