Beacon Professional Recognition scheme

Suitable for: all staff employed by the University (academic or professional services) who are teaching and/or support learning and wish to gain recognition for their professional practice.

The University of Birmingham Beacon Professional Recognition scheme provides the opportunity to become an Associate Fellow, Fellow or Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). The University is accredited by Advance HE to award Fellowships to eligible staff in recognition of their continuing success in teaching and supporting learning.  HEA Fellowship is an internationally recognised ‘qualification’ which shows commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning in higher education.

Introduction to the Beacon Professional Recognition scheme

HEA Fellowship is an internationally recognised ‘qualification’ which shows commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning in higher education. As of at 28th October 2021 the number of HEA Fellows is over 150,000. 

fellowsThe University of Birmingham Beacon Professional Recognition scheme (Beacon) provides the opportunity to become an Associate Fellow, Fellow or Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). As such it is ‘mapped’ against the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF), the aims of which are to:

  1. Support the initial and continuing professional development of staff engaged in teaching and supporting learning.
  2. Foster dynamic approaches to teaching and learning through creativity, innovation and continuous development in diverse academic and / or professional settings.
  3. Demonstrate to students and other stakeholders the professionalism that staff and institutions bring to teaching and support for student learning.
  4. Acknowledge the variety and quality of teaching, learning and assessment practices that support and underpin student learning.
  5. Facilitate individuals and institutions in gaining formal recognition for quality-enhanced approaches to teaching and supporting learning, often as part of wider responsibilities that may include research and / or management activities.

(UKPSF, 2011)

Note: you can also achieve fellowship of the Higher Education Academy by successfully completing one of our taught programmes – for further information on the taught programmes please see our HEFi  page.

The following pages should provide you with the information you need to decide whether you would like to join the Beacon Professional Recognition scheme and find out more. If, however, you have any queries please contact us at: Beacon@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

For further information see the

What are the benefits for me?

Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy is recognised across the UK higher education sector (and, increasingly, internationally) as a benchmark of professional practice in teaching and learning. Achieving fellowship provides a recognition of your practice and evidence of your commitment to enhancing the learning experience of your students. Higher Education Academy Fellowship demonstrates a personal and institutional commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in higher education. 

Fellowship brings you a range of benefits: 

  • Consolidates personal development and evidence of professional practice in your higher education career;
  • Demonstrates commitment to teaching, learning and the student experience, through engagement in a practical process that encourages research, reflection and development;
  • Provides a valuable measure of success and is increasingly recognised by international institutions;
  • Fellowship is increasingly sought by employers across the education sector as a condition of appointment and promotion;
  • You can become a mentor for the Beacon scheme if you hold a Fellowship or Senior Fellowship of the HEA.

Joining Beacon and eligibility to submit

Beacon is open to all academic and professional staff employed at the University of Birmingham, on both the Birmingham and Dubai campus, who teach and support the learning of our students. For staff at the Birmingham-Jinan Joint Institute and staff employed by the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) as partner institutions and collaborative partners, staff can access the Beacon Scheme and will be charged an additional fee for HEA Fellowship, which is 50% of the current direct application fee as detailed on the Advance HELinks to an external site. page.  If you have any questions or concerns about your eligibility for the Beacon Scheme, please contact us via beacon@contacts.bham.ac.uk  The University is accredited by the Advance HE to award Fellowships to eligible staff in recognition of their continuing success in teaching and supporting learning. 

Applicants to the Beacon Professional Recognition Scheme must be employees of the University. We understand that some colleagues wishing to submit may be on a fixed term contract. If this is the case we encourage you to check that you are applying to an assessment panel with adequate time not only to submit but to make any revisions necessary after the assessment panel has taken place. Claims for fellowship, including resubmissions, made outside of contract are likely to incur a fee from the Advance HE.

Categories of HEA

The three categories supported by Beacon are briefly described as follows:

  • Descriptor 1 / Associate Fellow (for those with relatively limited or a narrow range of teaching experience, e.g. PGTAs, professional support staff).
  • Descriptor 2 / Fellow (generally for those in more substantive teaching roles who can prove their effectiveness in a classroom context).
  • Descriptor 3 / Senior Fellow (usually for more experienced colleagues who can demonstrate sustained influence on the teaching and learning practice of others within the institution).

Fellowship Category Tool

The Fellowship Category ToolLinks to an external site. from Advance HE has been launched. The tool has been designed to assist individuals in selecting which category of Fellowship closely matches their current practice. The tool consists of a set of statements that are aligned to the UKPSF and individuals are asked about the range of activities they undertake. The process takes 10 to 20 minutes and provides an individually tailored report showing which category an individuals practice is most closely aligned to.

What do I have to do?

Orientation Workshop

Please note: the Beacon Orientation workshop is now online synchronously. You still need to register for the workshop as above to enable enrolment on to the Beacon Canvas page, you can then engage with the materials.

You can join Beacon at any time. The Orientation workshops are designed to give you an introduction to the scheme and to the UKPSFLinks to an external site. that underpins it and sets the criteria for achieving fellowship. At these workshops you will be assisted in deciding which category of fellowship you will apply for and we will offer you some initial advice and support in the writing of your application. The dates for workshops 2022 are below:

  • 15th June 2022 2pm - 4pm
  • 7th July 2022 2pm - 4pm
  • 21st September 2022 10am - 12pm
  • 20th October 2022 2pm - 4pm
  • 10th November 2022 10am - 12pm
  • 2nd December 2022 2pm - 4pm

Please email Beacon@contacts.bham.ac.uk to book a place on an online  workshop.

Once you have attended an Orientation Workshop you will be invited to submit an expression of interest form indicating which category of fellowship you are intending to apply for and which submission date and review panel you are working towards.

You will then be enrolled to a Canvas site that will give you access to the application forms to complete, resources to support you in the writing of your application and a discussion page where you can share ideas with other participants in the scheme.

Writing workshop

You will be asked to attend a Writing Workshop after your initial orientation which will provide you with an opportunity to work on your application and get peer feedback on your progress. Attendance at the Writing Workshop is a mandatory element of the scheme. These workshops are facilitated sessions that offer time and space to work on your application, discuss ideas and challenges and review drafts.

Please note: the Beacon Writing workshop is now online via our dedicated Beacon Canvas page and will be run synchronously on the dates below.

The dates for the writing workshops are below:

  • 28th June 2022 1pm - 4pm
  • 15th September 2022  10am - 1pm
  • 12th October 2022 10am - 1pm
  • 25th November 2022 10am - 1pm

Please email Beacon@contacts.bham.ac.uk to book a place on an online workshop.  It is essential to book so that we can record your participation.

You can submit an application at any time, there are deadlines if you are proposing to submit to a particular assessment panel. Dates for submission are below:

  • 26th September 2022
  • 6th February 2023

Submission

You can submit an application at any time via Canvas, there are deadlines if you are proposing to submit to a particular assessment panel. Dates for submission and review panels are below:

Submission date Review panel date
26th September 2022 17th November 2022
6th February 2023 29th March 2023
22nd May 2023 12th July 2023

 

Colleges

Professional Services