Could you be a RET Fellow?

Issued: Mon, 15 Aug 2016 13:54:00 BST

Recognising Excellence in Teaching (RET) is a professional development scheme which celebrates colleagues at the University of Glasgow who are passionate about learning and teaching. 

RET is aligned to the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) and accredited by the Higher Education Academy (HEA), the organisation whose mission is to enhance learning and teaching in higher education in the UK.

This is a dual award: by successfully participating in RET you will be awarded a Glasgow RET Fellowship AND a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. So far UofG has a total of 800 fellows across the four catergories: Associate Fellow, Fellow, Senior Fellow and Principal Fellow.

A RET award is a portable asset, recognised nationwide.

Why apply?

Professor Frank Coton, Vice-Principal (Academic and Educational Innovation) says: “There are real benefits to securing a RET Fellowship. In addition to the positive impact on your own teaching practice, it allows you to evidence achievement of key elements of the teaching-related criteria in our promotions processes.

“I encourage all members of the University community who teach or support learning to continue to develop your practice and to gain recognition for the work you do by participating in RET.”

Dr Jane MacKenzie in the Learning & Teaching Centre adds: “A fellowship is official recognition from your peers. This time last year we had 19 Senior and Principal Fellows, now we have 45. With so many inspiring people at this University I’m sure the number of fellows will continue to grow. ”

Who is RET for?

RET is open to anyone at the University who teaches and/or supports learning, including academic staff, Graduate Teaching Assistants and professional staff.

If you also support, mentor or coordinate others to teach you may be an ideal candidate for a Senior Fellowship and your application would be especially welcome as the University is committed to building a network of expert teachers through RET.

What do you have to do?

  • Attend an introductory session: the first of these for 2016-17 will take place on Tuesday 6 September -  book via the link below.
  • Take part in peer teaching observations.
  • Complete a written application.
  • There is also a series of optional workshops to support you as you gather evidence and prepare your application.

Find out more on the RET website


Case studies

Dr Joanne Burke

Dr Joanne BurkeRole: Senior University Teacher, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing
RET Award: Senior Fellowship, awarded in 2016

Joanne has 20 years of experience in medical education. Her current roles include: Problem Based Learning facilitator, Staff Development Officer and School QA Officer.

What inspired you to engage with the RET scheme?

"Having participated in a number of schemes before, RET seemed like a natural and worthwhile progression. I am passionate about teaching and learning and was delighted to be recognised for this at the first University Teaching Excellence Awards, in 2006. In 2007 I was among the first cohorts of staff to be awarded a Masters in Academic Practice, and I’ve been awarded several Learning and Teaching Development Fund grants over the years."

What was your experience of the assessment process and support?

"The application was a challenging piece of work to write and took longer than I anticipated. However the workshops, guidance and support from the Learning and Teaching Centre were most helpful."

What advice would you offer someone who's thinking about getting involved?

"I would strongly recommend you engage with RET as it provides an opportunity for true reflection on your beliefs and academic practice, and also promotes engagement with the recent literature."

What was the best part?

"I found the peer observation process most interesting and refreshing, and I enjoyed sharing challenges and good practice with teaching staff from other parts of the University."


Dr Tim Dempster

Dr Tim DempsterRole: Senior Lecturer, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
RET Award: Senior Fellowship, awarded in 2016

Tim has worked at the University for 30 years, teaching and researching in a range of aspects of Earth Science.

What inspired you to engage with the RET scheme?

“With increasing pressure on Universities to provide evidence of teaching quality, I thought it would be helpful to have more official recognition in this area. And given the emphasis I personally place on the teaching and support of students in our School, it seemed appropriate that I should participate in RET.”

What was your experience of the assessment process and support?

“The reflective elements encouraged me to think about my teaching in different ways, which was a really useful and interesting experience. The application process was a bit more time consuming than I was expecting, but the individual support I received throughout was first-class despite being unable to attend many of the group drop-in sessions, ironically due to teaching commitments!”

What advice would you offer someone who's thinking about joining the scheme?

"Whenever possible, make use of the help and advice available."

What was the best part?

"You get TWO certificates! But seriously, the most useful part was the opportunity to observe and be observed teaching by staff from different subject areas. This gave me a fresh perspective on my teaching, which doesn’t happen often enough." 


Ms Carole MacDiarmid

Carole MacDiarmidRole: English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Manager, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
RET Award: Senior Fellowship, awarded in 2016

Carole is the responsible for teacher training and development in the English for Academic Study Unit. She has worked at Glasgow since 2003, teaching on EAP courses for international students, and on TESOL programmes.

What inspired you to engage with the RET scheme?

"It was an ideal opportunity to step back and reflect on my teaching in different contexts within the University. It encouraged me to take time to focus on my beliefs and practices, and provided an additional stimulus for future development. At the School we are keen to encourage colleagues to take part in the scheme, and by doing it myself I now have a clearer insight into the process. Of course there was also the added benefit of achieving both University and HEA recognition."

What was your experience of the assessment process and support?

"The support provided was excellent, both from colleagues in the Academic Development Unit and from my assigned peer group. The online resources were also very useful. I really appreciated the time and guidance provided in talking through outlines of case studies. I also really enjoyed meeting with colleagues from very different subject areas, and the discussions around the observation cycle.

"The feedback I received on my portfolio of work was detailed and very helpful, particularly in relation to directions for future development."

What advice would you offer someone who's thinking about getting involved?

"Start early, do a little often and meet with your peer observers as soon as possible. Make sure you use all the Moodle resources and take advantage of the intensive writing day if offered."

What was the best part?

"The planning for and discussions of the peer observation was the best part. Not only do you get to work with colleagues from different subject areas but it really sets you up for thinking about all the other aspects of the RET scheme."


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