An integral part of my work as a postdoctoral scientist in a university research laboratory is the teaching and support of learning of students. A day-to-day role is the supervision of students in the lab, including training in practical skills and encouraging and evaluating critical thinking and problem solving important for scientific research. It is an important, challenging and rewarding part of my job.

But how do I know if I’m doing it well?

A few years ago, I heard about the Higher Education Academy, which is an independent organisation that fosters excellence in teaching and learning in higher education. They support academic staff to enhance the quality of teaching and to improve the learning experience for students.

As a mechanism to support the higher education community, the Academy offers professional recognition of expertise and commitment to student learning. Recently, I have been working towards such recognition. Following assessment against the UK Professional Standards Framework, which benchmarks teaching and learning within higher education, I am pleased to have been awarded Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

This award ensures that my role in the supervision of students in the lab is aligned with a nationally recognised standard for higher education. Using the Professional Standards Framework also helped me to plan my Continuing Professional Development, which, as a Chartered Biologist, I integrate with the Society of Biology’s CPD scheme. Achieving professional recognition from the Higher Education Academy was a searching and useful experience and one that will continue to guide my approach to the teaching of students.

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