I have been involved in informally supporting a number of HEA Senior Fellowship applicants. I thought it helpful to share my thoughts and feedback on their draft case studies, in hope that it might also be useful for others.
Common issues have resulted in the following advice:
• Consider the impact of each case with evidence – so for example if someone is describing their pro-active and innovative approaches to feedback, it is necessary to say how they know their approach is working well.
• Consider the impact of the case on your own values and attitudes – as a result of involvement in the case did you rethink any assumptions about your role or your approach to supporting learning? By example, the person using innovative approaches to feedback as their case might say that student engagement led them to change their assumptions about students’ expectations; they discovered their students valued less feedback in a timely way, more than they valued extensive feedback which takes longer to deliver, in turn this led them to adjust their feedback practice.
• Consider different types of impact. The impact of the case may be on students, colleagues, the institution and its policies/systems, the discipline community or network or the sector as a whole. A Senior Fellowship application should really include evidence of institutional impact.
• Give detail about individual contributions when working on joint projects.
• Give detail about the specific context; sometimes there is a need to make the institutional and discipline context more explicit. Sticking with the feedback example, there might be a need to describe how the practical emphasis of the curriculum acts as an influence on the approach taken to feedback.
People approach the case studies in very different ways but I would recommend some kind of structure to ensure going beyond description. A proposed structure would be something similar to the following:
- Describe the activity and an outline of the rationale
- Consider what worked well and what not so well in practice
- Identify what you learnt in involving in this activity and note any changes to your prior assumptions
- Describe the impact but ensure that impact points to sources of evidence – student feedback, colleague feedback, or external feedback are all ok
- Describe what the next steps might be to advance this area of practice even further.
This of course is just one way to tackle the task and I’m sure there are many more!