AFHEA pathway for doctoral researchers

What is AFHEA?

Associate Fellowship (AFHEA) provides recognition of professional practice for supporting teaching and learning in Higher Education. It entitles you to use post-nominal letters AFHEA and is increasingly sought by employers across the sector for appointment and promotion purposes.

Why apply for recognition?

Professional recognition of your teaching is important, and many employers expect new colleagues to have Associate Fellowship or to be working towards it during their probationary period. Associate Fellowship status is recognised across the higher education sector in the UK, and increasingly internationally, as confirmation of knowledge, skills and experience gained in teaching and learning.

What is the University of Reading FLAIR Framework?

The University of Reading FLAIR Framework (Facilitating Learning and Teaching Achievement and Individual Recognition) is accredited by Advance HE and combines three strands: an AFHEA pathway for doctoral researchers, the Academic Practice Programme (APP) and a non-taught CPD scheme. All three pathways are supported by the Academic Development and Enhancement (ADE) team in CQSD (the Centre for Quality, Support and Development) and enable colleagues to gain professional recognition for their work in teaching and/or supporting learning.

What is the AFHEA pathway for doctoral researchers?

Through the Graduate School, the Academic Development and Enhancement team (ADE) in CQSD supports a selected cohort of doctoral researchers to apply for recognition for their work in teaching and supporting learning, in order to attain AFHEA status: Associate Fellowship of the HEA.

The pathway consists of:

  • an application for selection onto the scheme
  • full participation at three compulsory taught webinars (view dates here)
  • school-based support (through a mentor)
  • CQSD ADE support around writing an application
  • submission of an application under the FLAIR scheme which is reviewed by a panel

How long does it take?

The timeframe, from the selection process to final submission, takes three terms (Spring-Autumn): three compulsory taught webinars introducing the scheme, unpacking the Professional Standards Framework (PSF) and exploring the Areas of Activity as well as supporting the writing and submission of a reflective application

What is reflective writing?

You will write your application in the first person voice ('I' and 'my') to refer to the activities, knowledge and values which underpin your experiences in teaching and supporting learning in Higher Education.

What goes in an application for AFHEA?

Your application will consist of:

  • A short contextual statement
  • A Professional Activity Table (PAT) aligned to the Professional Standards Framework (PSF), with three Areas of Activity completed (information on the PSF can be found on the page outlining the enrolment process). 
  • A CPD log
  • A CPD plan
  • A reference list
  • Two supporting statements

If your submission is successful you will receive a certificate reflecting the award of HEA Fellowship at the category of Associate Fellow (AFHEA).

Am I eligible for selection?

To be eligible for consideration for selection, applicants must have:

  • previously attended the Preparing to Teach course
  • sufficient and relevant "teaching" hours (a minimum of twenty across the academic year) which enable you to engage in supporting teaching and learning
  • support from your doctoral supervisor and Head of School (or equivalent)

Please note that due to the level of commitment required, we recommend that doctoral researchers do not embark upon this scheme during the writing-up phase of their doctoral studies. Priority will be given to second year and third year full-time students (or part-time equivalent).

What counts as 'teaching' hours?

The ways in which you teach/support learning might be formal and timetabled, or they might be informal and outside of scheduled classes.

Applicants to the scheme should be able to refer to a variety of teaching and learning support in order to demonstrate sufficient breadth across their application. So, for example, twenty hours of marking alone will not provide a broad enough range of experiences for an application to be successful.

Please note: what constitutes "teaching and/or supporting learning" will vary according the context in which you are working. This includes for example lecturing, delivering seminars and workshops, marking, supervision, demonstration, field trips, etc. Teaching and learning support may be undertaken in collaboration with more senior or experienced lecturers or mentors. For a more detailed explanation, see the document what counts as teaching.

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