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 is accredited by Advance HE and is an internal process, supported by the Academic Development and Enhancement (ADE) team in CQSD (the Centre for Quality, Support and Development), through which colleagues can gain professional recognition for their work in teaching and/or supporting learning.

The FLAIR Framework (Facilitating Learning and Teaching Achievement and Individual Recognition) allows us to award all categories of HEA Fellowship.

What is the AFHEA pathway for doctoral researchers?

This year (2018/19) the ADE team and the Graduate School are running a pilot to support a selected cohort of doctoral researchers to work towards and 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 and interview process for selection onto the scheme
  • two compulsory taught days with input and support provided around writing an application (view dates here)
  • school-based support (through a mentor)
  • submission of an application under the FLAIR scheme which is reviewed by a panel

How long does it take?

The timeframe, from the interview selection process to final submission, takes three terms (Spring - Autumn): two compulsory full taught days consisting of workshops including introductions to the UKPSF and writing support, plus the writing and submission of a reflective application.

If your submission is successful you will receive a certificate of professional recognition at Descriptor 1 of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) meaning you are an Associate Fellow of the HEA (AFHEA).

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 UKPSF, with three Areas of Activity completed
  • A CPD log
  • A CPD plan
  • A reference list
  • Two supporting statements

Am I eligible for selection?

There are eligibility criteria. In order to apply, you will have:

  • previously attended the Preparing to Teach course
  • sufficient "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.

What counts as 'teaching' hours?

Your teaching activities 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 to complete the application process.

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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