Ever felt you’ve been Lesleyed?
You probably thought you were already a professional in higher education — despite the salary cuts, the overwork, the undervaluing … all part of education now. But no: you cannot be a professional HE teacher until you become a Fellow or Senior Fellow (or even Principal Fellow — management bods only of course) of the Higher Education Academy. Taraaa! It’s all part of Ratty and Lesley-Hyphen-Jane-Hyphen’s bright idea to turn us into … er, good teachers.
The latest Fellowing panel is shortly to convene. The March applicants’ wearily assembled 7000 words that describe their senior fellowish qualities will be judged against criteria that are waffly, amorphous and tangled; they cross their fingers and hope it suffices. They have sat through the evidence gathering and EDI workshops, listened to Isabel Suet’s turgidities and Nona McDuffer’s tortuous elaborations.
Applicants will no doubt be wondering how weathering the workshops and writing all that verbiage will have made them into better lecturers. The answer is of course that it will not have added anything, except fatigue. Fellowship of the HEA is just another hoop for staff to jump through, held up, set fire to and moved about by Ratty, with the aid of his senior management lackey Hyphenated-Lesley, whose sole purpose is to promote all this teachy-learny stuff — well, the pay’s good I suppose. On top, staff have to attend all these KAPS workshops, at which they are supposed to develop teaching skills and knowledge. That is not a bad idea in principle, but how many casual chatty sessions on blended learning and curriculum development do we need?
Some may be wondering why bother with all this flannel when it adds nothing to the expertise of the staff but a lot to their workload. Rat has made that clear in his newsletters and other missives: he so desires it, and a heavy threat hangs over any academic who does not toe the line. So not many will be CHERPing with pride when they get the fellowship, just a feeling of relief that at least one Penny Burden has been lifted from their backs.