Fellowship, mentorship and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Three ships to professionalism – Alice Lee
We are training future lawyers, dentists and architects, but very few of us had the privilege of receiving formal training when we were recruited as teachers. Teaching is a profession and there are many things we wish we had known when we started teaching. Gradually, the situation has changed due to a better recognition of the importance of preparing teachers for their job. In the Faculty of Law, we are launching a staff development seminar series for colleagues to share their experiences, challenges, tips and strategies in a collegial setting. At the University level, our Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) has been running a certificate course for new teachers and teaching assistants. The Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (CTLHE) course is a requirement for all new research postgraduate students to undertake teaching or assessment duties for their departments. It covers the basic principles of learning, teaching, assessment and feedback in a university context, as well as more advanced topics such as engaging learners in small group settings and lab-based learning.1
For current teaching staff, HKU has been collaborating with the UK Advance HE (formerly the Higher Education Academy, or ‘HEA’) in offering intensive training on the UK Professional Standards Framework2 and on Advance HE strategic themes such as ‘internationalisation’, ‘interdisciplinarity’, ‘assessment and feedback’ and ‘students as partners’. As the first batch of HKU staff joining the CETL Professional Programme on Leading Teaching and Learning3 , I was able to reflect upon my teaching philosophy and practices and turned my experiences into two case studies on ‘students as partners’ and ‘assessment and feedback’ for my Senior Fellowship application. As I put down in the online survey,
‘The networking is the best part of the programme. Academic leaders usually meet at research conferences. They seldom have the chance to get to know each other or share their views on teaching and learning. Since attending the programme, I have become more willing to reach out to colleagues in other faculties or other institutions. I have joined hands with other participants in teaching development grant applications. It is empowering to work with other academic leaders.’
The Professional Programme not only provided an eye-opening experience, but also opened the doors to a whole new world of collaborations and partnerships. I have since partnered with colleagues from different faculties, from CETL, TELI, Knowledge Exchange Office and other units in Teaching Development Grant projects. I have also partnered with my students in all aspects of learning and teaching, from curriculum design and co-construction of learning tools to evaluation of teaching effectiveness and pedagogical research.
To share the joy and benefits of professional training, I have been mentoring colleagues in their Advance HE Fellowship applications and sharing my experience of portfolio-writing. The newly-launched HKU Advance HE Fellowship Scheme Workshop is a timely initiative to equip current mentors with the knowledge and skills they need such as the U21 Teaching Standards Framework4. It also prepares colleagues for Senior Fellowship for which ‘successful coordination, support, supervision, management and/or mentoring of others in relation to learning and teaching’ is a specific requirement.5
While fellowship is a form of recognition, mentorship is a mutually beneficial relationship. It is not a cliché to say that the mentor and the mentee learn from each other. It is also the beginning of a community of practice, for which the most effective impetus would be developing the scholarship of teaching and learning. That is why I have started co-authoring articles with my student-partners on pedagogical innovations and on our partnership experience. It is through fellowship, mentorship and scholarship that we can promote professionalism and enhance the impact of teaching and learning.
- 1 https://www.cetl.hku.hk/certificate-courses/
- 2 https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/ukpsf
- 3 https://www.cetl.hku.hk/professional-certificate/
- 4 https://www.cetl.hku.hk/TP21/the-professional-standards-framework-hea-advancehe/
- 5 https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/individuals/fellowship/senior-fellow