The following questions are designed to help you with some of the more common queries that we get about Beacon. However, if you have other questions or need further information please get in touch with us at Beacon@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 Which category of Fellowship should I apply for?

You need to review the categories carefully before making a decision. If you have not already done so you should review the UK Professional Standards Framework which sets out the categories and the criteria for each. The categories tend to link to your role and professional experience. The evidence that you will need to produce will depend on the category that you apply for and so it is important to spend some time thinking about this before putting an application together. The first Orientation Workshop that you attend will help you to make this decision and your mentor will also offer advice and support as you write your application.

 How long does an application take?

Anecdotal feedback from staff who have participated in Beacon would suggest that this varies but we generally advise that this requires around 50 hours of work. The actual amount of time will depend on the category that you are applying for and the extent to which you have examples and evidence ready to use in your submission. Some colleagues are new to the reflective style of writing required in an application and we can offer support with this.

 What does the evidence look like?

The evidence that you use in your application will be based on examples of how you teach and support learning which draw upon scholarly activity in learning and teaching.  You will need to think carefully about the examples that you use. The application requires a reflective account that provides a narrative around why and how you make choices in relation to your practice and how you evaluate them. Evaluation of your practice can take many forms, from personal reflection to more formal mechanisms such as module evaluation questionnaires. You are not required to separately attach evidence of evaluation to your application but your referees will be asked to corroborate your account in their supporting statements.

 How long is an application?

The length of the application depends on which category you apply for. An Associate Fellow application will be around 3,500 words, Fellow 4,500 (which includes one case-study) and Senior Fellow 5,500 (which includes two case-studies).

The forms that we have designed are intended to help you to structure your submission by dividing it into sections that map onto the UK Professional Standards Framework. Each section carries a word limit to keep you on track.

 How will I get a mentor?

We will normally allocate a mentor to you. However, if you are already working with a colleague who is a Fellow of the HEA then it is possible for you to request them as a mentor. 

 What can I expect the mentor to do?

The role of the mentor is flexible. They are there to support you as a critical friend who will keep you on track with your application, give you feedback on ideas and advice on your draft application. There are currently no minimum or maximum requirements in relation to working with your mentor. You should keep in mind, however, that these colleagues will be offering their support in addition to their usual roles and responsibilities and so you should try to avoid contacting them at the last minute with requests for help.

 What do my referees need to do?

Whether you are applying for Associate Fellowship, Fellowship or Senior Fellowship you will be required to submit two referee statements in support of your application. These colleagues should be in a position to comment on your record of effectiveness in relation to teaching and learning.

The role of the referee is to provide an informed peer review of your eligibility for fellowship and to comment directly on the content of your account. Referees need to be familiar with the UK Professional Standards Framework and at least one referee much be a Fellow (or Senior or Principal Fellow) of the HEA.

 How will my application be assessed?

You application will be assessed by internal assessors and reviewed by an external assessor (the external’s role will move to one of moderation as the scheme matures). Associate Fellow and Fellow applications are assessed by two internal assessors and Senior Fellow by three internal assessors. The assessors will all be experienced members of staff who hold an equivalent or higher category of Fellowship. 

 When can I submit an application?

You can submit a Beacon application at any time. You must have attended an Orientation Workshop and Writing Workshop prior to submission.

There will be two assessment panels per year, one in October and one in June. When you submit your application will be assessed and presented to the next available panel for a decision.