Could you be a RET Associate Fellow?

Published: 11 November 2016

As well as GTAs and staff new to teaching, the RET Associate Fellowship strand is open to library and careers staff, IT technicians, demonstrators and more.

Recognising Excellence in Teaching (RET) is a professional development scheme which celebrates UofG colleagues who are passionate about learning and teaching. A RET award is a portable asset, recognised nationwide. It’s also a dual award: by successfully participating in RET you will be awarded a Glasgow RET Fellowship AND a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

There are four categories of recognition; in recent pieces we’ve looked at Senior and Principal Fellows, and now it’s the turn of the Associate Fellows (AF). There are currently around 100 AF’s at the University of Glasgow, and the most recent 14 of these were awarded directly by the University via RET.

Who can work towards an Associate Fellowship?

  • Early career researchers with some teaching responsibilities, e.g. PhD students, GTAs, contract researchers, post-doctoral researchers…
  • Staff new to teaching
  • Staff who support academic provision, e.g. learning technologists, learning developers and learning resource/library staff…
  • Staff who undertake demonstrator/ technician roles that incorporate some teaching-related responsibilities
  • Experienced staff in relevant professional areas who may be new to teaching or supporting learning, or who have a limited teaching portfolio

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 Angela Jaap, coordinator of the Associate Fellowship strand of RET, adds that “Gaining the award of Associate Fellowship is a worthwhile achievement for our GTAs and those who support learning and teaching across the institution. The fact that the recognition is both internal and external to the institution makes it a worthwhile, portable asset which our colleagues can take with them throughout their career”.

What’s involved?

The RET AF process is similar to the Fellow and Senior Fellow processes. You submit a reflective statement and reflective account of practice, and participate in peer review with Associate Fellow candidates in different subject areas. Each element of assessment is supported by optional workshops to help you work towards submitting an application. Many Associate Fellows have reported that they particularly enjoyed the peer review sessions, and found them to be valuable and eye-opening experiences.

What do I have to do?

  • Attend an introductory session: dates are now available in January and April 2017 -  book via the link below.
  • Take part in peer teaching observations.
  • Complete a written application.
  • There is also a series of optional AF-centered workshops to support you as you gather evidence and prepare your application.

Find out more - and book an introductory session - on the RET website

Case study

Jose Manuel Fernandez

Role: PhD student and GTA for the Criminal Law and Evidence Course
RET Award: Associate Fellowship, awarded in 2016

What inspired you to engage with the RET scheme?

"At first I was just generally interested in the subject matter, aiming to become better at teaching, but after a few classes my initial ideas changed. I understood that engaging with RET was more than getting better at teaching: it was a transformative and enriching experience."

What was your experience of the assessment process and support?

"Because I was deeply involved in the process, engaging with RET was much harder than I expected, but University staff were incredibly helpful and guided me in a process that transformed me as a teacher and as a learner. While reflecting on my practice as a teacher I realized that my teaching style had been deeply influenced by my experiences as an undergrad: what I considered important now was due to what I felt when I was a student a teacher should do. I don’t think I could have done this sort of reflection on my own: you need to have the distance the guidance staff have."

What advice would you offer someone who's thinking about going for an Associate Fellowship?

"Engage with RET as seriously as you can. It is a great opportunity to know yourself better by reflecting on your practice, that is, to reflect on your own history as a teacher. And take advantage of the support and advice given by the incredibly dedicated and experienced staff of RET. There is no need to have doubts concerning whether you will succeed, because the staff are constantly assessing your progress and continuously providing you support. Thanks to them, the process will go smoothly."

What was the best part?

"What I enjoyed most was observing other candidates' classes and being observed in mine. You don't often have the opportunity to observe another teacher's class, especially from another discipline. At first I was skeptical of what it would add to my teaching in terms of insights and experience, however I found it gave me a better understanding of the way I teach. It also introduced me to diverse methods and styles of teaching that, even though they are from different disciplines, I could nonetheless employ in mine."

Related links

First published: 11 November 2016