Celebrating 500 Fellows at Swansea University – How Senior Fellowship has influenced my teaching

Non Vaughan Williams, Senior Lecturer in Digital Media

“The experience of reading about members of staff across the university’s expertise and sharing opinions with other assessors from different disciplines means that I continue to learn and develop as a teacher”

I’m a senior lecturer in Digital Media in the department of Media and Communications, College of Arts and Humanities. I’ve worked in Swansea University since 2012. My background is in broadcasting; I’ve worked in the higher education sector as a lecturer for twenty years and have combined this with work in media production.

I’ve never been on a teacher training course and, unlike many of my colleagues, I haven’t got any experience in a research career. I was eager to formalise, what I believe comes naturally to me, sharing my experience, skills and expertise with others within the classroom. My intention was to apply for Fellowship, but my heads persuaded me to apply for the category of Senior Fellowship because of the initiative I’ve shown in the College such as, establish an Industries Panel within the Department of Media and Communication.

The process of preparing the application became apparent because what I was doing was natural in giving examples of good practice and offering examples of necessary evidence to strengthen the application. Despite my extensive experience, I realised whilst reading pedagogic research that I needed to challenge some of my teaching styles by adopting new methods.
The process has prompted me to question what I do objectively, by placing the student in the centre of the learning experience. I’ve become more confident sharing my teaching methods with students to encourage them to understand the learning process. Since completing my application and gaining Fellowship, I’ve also been more willing to adopt the attitude of refreshing my skills (I’ve always done so with the work within my subject) within the pedagogic area of my work.

The decision of investing time in developing myself as a teacher was a decision worthwhile and I received constructive support from a mentor within my college. The process of preparing the application was challenging as it was in the middle of a busy term and a lot of patience was needed to put the application onto the Pebblepad software.

Since finishing the application and certainly since gaining Senior Fellowship, I’ve had the confidence to share my teaching methods with colleagues within the department, for example blended learning and group assessment. I have since trained as an assessor and a mentor and have had the chance to lead a team whilst assessing internal applications for recognition of the Higher Education Academy. The experience of reading about members of staff across the university’s expertise and sharing opinions with other assessors from different disciplines means that I continue to learn and develop as a teacher. I look forward to mentoring members of staff and being able to offer support in Welsh and English.

Recognition as a Senior Fellow validates the guidance I’ve given to various initiatives and has inspired me to explore and reflect on different ways of leading colleagues and teams. I’ve recently been promoted from a Lecturer to a Senior Lecturer and I believe that being a Senior Fellow has contributed towards this.

I would encourage anyone to apply to gain recognition, as you are more than likely doing it day to day. It will enhance your practice and will benefit your students and yourself in terms of professional development and give you satisfaction in your everyday work.

One Comment

  1. That’s a very inspiring story, Non!

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