Why I applied for a University Teaching Fellowship

By Dr James Garnett Institute of Education (Early Career Teaching Fellow 2012/13)

I applied for an Early Career Teaching Fellowship because teaching is the part of my job that is most important to me. On the one hand the fellowship puts me in closer touch with teaching across the University so that I can continue to learn from colleagues working in different contexts. On the other, it enables me to trade this new knowledge for my own experiences. It is helps in the process of becoming more self-aware, rather than just doing what I do. In terms of career development, I am hoping that the Fellowship will bring with it opportunities to develop links with the wider University community and to contribute to the development of teaching and learning both in my own school and beyond it.

By Dr Richard Mitchell Systems Engineering (University Teaching Fellow 2011/12)

I have had a leading teaching and learning role in Cybernetics and the School of Systems Engineering for nearly 20 years, which has enabled me to have a positive influence at both the School and University level. The University's Fellowship Scheme is a good way of recognising the importance of teaching and learning within the University and of rewarding those of us who have made such a contribution. One reason for applying for my UTF was to get that recognition and reward, and I got a real buzz when I learnt I had been successful. Since becoming a UTF, I have attended our regular meetings and am pleased to say that we as a group are endeavouring to use our collective voice to have a positive impact on teaching and learning.

By Helen Hathaway Library (University Teaching Fellow 2011/12)

I was really genuinely surprised when my application to be a UTFS was approved. Amazement was closely followed by pride - not only on my own behalf, but because I felt the award recognised and even accredited the joint efforts of Library staff particularly Liaison Librarians over a number of years to put teaching at the heart of their relations with students. I was the one with the Information Skills in my job title but it has not only been my ideas and work that have improved the quantity and quality of the lectures, presentations and workshops, not to mention the guides, web pages, Info tips that we now offer to support students at all levels - and staff.

I unsuccessfully applied for funding for a major project on Information Literacy with particular emphasis on referencing and International students addressing University enhancement agendas on Internationalisation and academic transition, but I am managing to do some of what I hoped via the currently TLDF funded project "What did I do wrong: Supporting independent learning practices to avoid plagiarism".

The award has allowed me to network more widely with academic colleagues and use the information gathered to inform Teaching and Learning plans within the Library. I also indulged myself with the purchase of the iPad 3 as soon as it became available and hope to fund my attendance at an international conference later this year.

By Dr Matthew Nicholls, Classics (Early Career Teaching Fellow 2011/12)

I applied to the University's Teaching and Learning Fellowship scheme for several reasons. Firstly, I've been developing some innovative practice in teaching and wanted to be able to take that further; the Fellowship scheme has given me access to grant funding, and channels of dissemination both inside and outside the University. I'm now about to implement a new module designed as part of the Teaching and Leaning Development Fund grant that grew out of my Fellowship application. Secondly, the formal recognition provided by a Fellowship was appealing both in itself and for career development terms; it played a part in my promotion to Senior Lecturer. Thirdly, my department, Classics, has been doing a lot of good work in Teaching and Learning and was very pleased at my Fellowship award (and that of my colleague David Carter). It's something that we talk about a lot at open days and in promotional literature, since we feel it shows that we're committed to excellent and innovative teaching. Since being appointed to my Fellowship I've enjoyed the opportunities it has brought to discuss teaching matters with colleagues from across the University. I'd highly recommend it.

By Professor Matthew Almond, Chemistry (University Teaching Fellow 2010/11)

I had three principle motivations for applying to the University's Teaching Fellowship Scheme. First, I had always been interested in teaching and throughout my career had seen undergraduate teaching as being a very important part of my work. The students have always given me excellent feedback. I saw a University Teaching Fellowship as giving me some recognition for this, but also I felt in some way that it recognised the students' comments. I think many of the students have been pleased that I was awarded a University Teaching Fellowship. It makes them feel that the comments they give on lectures are actually considered somewhere.

Second, Elizabeth Page with whom I have worked for many years had previously been awarded a University Teaching Fellowship. This gave me a bit of competition to go for it, but also I saw that it would be good for Chemistry to have 2 such Fellows early on. I think for a while we were the only department with 2 university teaching fellows.

Third, I was looking for career progression and saw a university teaching fellowship as an important part of my portfolio which formed the proposal that I put in, 18 months later and successfully, for promotion to Professor.

By Dr Cindy Becker, Literature and Languages, (University Teaching Fellow 2009/10)

When I first applied for a University Teaching Fellowship I had no idea how momentous the decision to do this would be. The fellowship scheme was then perhaps less well publicised than now and I only applied because I had a specific project in mind and I wanted to gain as much support for it as possible: the fact that this would make me a Teaching Fellow of the university did not really register at that early stage.

Little did I know what would follow. Within weeks I was attending my first Teaching Fellows lunch. Indeed, this was my first ever teaching event and I loved every minute of it. Meeting like-minded colleagues to talk about nothing but teaching was a joy - and most reassuring. Having an idea for a project is one thing, but when faced with the reality of putting it into action I suddenly felt lost - that is where the network of Teaching Fellows made such a difference. They offered ideas, suggested useful contacts and, most importantly, supported and encouraged me.

Since gaining the fellowship - and thus a far greater understanding of how teaching is privileged in this way by the university - I have felt reinvigorated in my efforts to teach effectively and have had my commitment to teaching and learning reaffirmed on many occasions. All this, and I get to meet regularly with an enthusiastic and fun group of colleagues!

I wear my University Teaching Fellowship purple badge with pride and gratitude.

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