Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy

fhea certificateI was very pleased to be awarded Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy at the start of December 2017. This is a recogniton of “commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in higher education.”

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) is the national (UK) body which “champions teaching excellence” and seeks to inspire and improve teaching in higher education. One way that they do this is through Fellowship, which “provides individuals with recognition of their practice, impact and leadership of teaching and learning.” There are four categories, from Associate to Principal Fellowship.

An accredited route to fellowship is being offered through Durham University’s excellent Centre for Academic, Researcher and Organisation Development as part of the Common Awards scheme for Theological Education Institutes. During 2017 I was able to audit an online version of their course Fundamentals of Learning & Teaching in Higher Education, which leads to Associate Fellowship. Having audited this course, and based on my previous teaching, I was then able to apply for Fellowship through Durham’s experience-based programme.

For theological educators, I’d highly recommend participating in this accreditation. This is particularly the case for those, like me, who teach alongside other roles. I found it very helpful in giving me time, space, and resources to more formally reflect on my pedagogical practice, not least due to the excellent staff in CORD. This is of course alongside the benefits of having our previous experience recognised and the ongoing opportunities and encouragement to develop as teachers.

Threshold Concepts
For me, one of the most interesting parts of the Fundamentals course was the understanding of Threshold Concepts. These are particular concepts in every discipline that are difficult to grasp, but once grasped, transform how the subject is understood.

The most comprehensive collection of resources on Threshold Concepts is Mick Flanagan’s dedicated website (which he frequently updates), which is well worth a visit. Threshold Concepts are something that I hope to explore further in the future.

There aren’t very many examples of applications for FHEA online, which makes it more difficult to judge if you’re on the right lines (in the same way that example essays and past exam papers are helpful). I received invaluable feedback during the process from the team at Durham, but found it easier to know where I was heading once I’d found a couple of examples. I was helped by Dr Katherine McDonald’s blogpost and bibliography and Dr Elisabeth Wielander’s application for FHEA (she is now a Senior Fellow).

So, to add another example into the mix, a pdf of my FHEA application can be downloaded. I’ve removed the appendices for reasons of confidentiality. I have also put my bibliography below, but arranged into the main subject areas.

I hope that these are useful and would be very interested in hearing if they are and how you got on!



Butcher, C., Davies, C., Highton, M. 2006 Designing Learning from Module Outline to Effective Teaching. Oxford, Routledge.
Bickford, D. and Wright, D. 2006 Community: The Hidden Context for Learning, In Oblinger (ed.), chapter 4.
Biggs, J and Tang, C. 2011 Teaching for Quality Learning at University. Maidenhead, Open University Press 4th edn
Elder, Z. 2013 Even Better If we specifically focused on What Went Well
Even Better If we specifically focused on What Went Well
Exley, K. and Dennick, R. (2009) Giving a lecture : from presenting to teaching. 2nd edn. London, Routledge.
Fry H., Ketteridge S., Marshall, S. 2009 Understanding student learning, In Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (3rd edn), eds. Fry H., Ketteridge S., Marshall, S. Routledge, Abingdon.
Gaudet, M. J. 2015 Increasing Engagement through Oral Exams, Teaching Theology and Religion 18(1):98
Jaques, D. and Salmon, G. 2007 Learning in Groups. London, Routledge.
Oblinger, D. G. (ed.) 2006 Learning Spaces, Educause https://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/books/learning-spaces
van Note Chism, N. 2006 Challenging Traditional Assumptions and Rethinking Learning Spaces, In Oblinger (ed.), chapter 2.
Vacek, H. 2016 Isolating Central Arguments with Tweet-Length Summaries Teaching Theology & Religion, Vol 19(4):385

Threshold Concepts

Gilmour, R. 2016 The Exodus in the Bible’s Teaching and Our Teaching of the Bible, In Journal of Adult Theological Education 13(2):116-127.
Land, R., Meyer, J., Flanagan, M. (eds) 2016 Threshold Concepts in Practice. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam.
Meyer, J. and Timmermans, J. 2016 Integrated Threshold Concept Knowledge, In Threshold Concepts in Practice, eds. Land et al. pp25-38.
Meyer, J., Knight, D., Baldock, T., Callaghan, D., McCredden, J., and O’Moore, L. 2016 What to do with a Threshold Concept, In Threshold Concepts in Practice, eds. Land et al. pp195-209.
Rymarz, R. 2016 A response, In Journal of Adult Theological Education 13(2):163-170.

Theological education

All Saints nd A Formation for Ministry http://allsaintscentre.org/ordained-ministry/vocational-formation/
All Saints nd B Reader Assessment http://allsaintscentre.org/reader-ministry/reader-assessment/
Brown, K. H. 2013 Formation and the Education of Ministers, Theological Education 48(1) (2013): 15-23
Church of England nd Initial Ministerial Education
Church of England 2003 Formation for Ministry within a Learning Church. London, Church House Publishing.
Hull, J. 1985 What prevents Christian adults from learning? London, SCM Press.
O’Loughlin, R. 2008 Interview with Stanley Hauerwas HEA https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/subjects/prs/Interview_with_Stanley_Hauerwas
Stuebing, R. W. 1999 Spiritual Formation in Theological Education, In Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology 18(1):47-69

Subject-specific works

Beard, M. 2014 The Public Voice of Women. LRB Winter Lectures 2014. https://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n06/mary-beard/the-public-voice-of-women
Burridge, R. and Roberts, R. 2014 What did Brian ever do for us? Panel discussion, Greenbelt Festival.
Holdsworth, J. 2014 Conversation with the New Testament. London, SCM Press.
Hooker, M. and Young, F. 2010 Holiness and Mission. Norwich, SCM Press.
Rutter, G. P. 2014 Women speaking https://0lem.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/women-speaking/
Rutter, G. P. 2016 A learning God? https://0lem.wordpress.com/2016/10/29/learning-god/
Welby, J. 2015 Is inequality sinful? http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5481/archbishops-speech-at-creating-the-common-good-conference-in-new-york


One thought on “Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy

  1. Pingback: Tips for Writing for the FHEA – Goldsmiths Teaching & Learning

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