Questioning the Impact of Teaching Fellowships on Excellent Teachers
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 17:45 authored by Mark Warnes
This paper contains the results of a study into the assumed relationship between teaching fellowships and excellent teaching. Twenty-six recipients of National Teaching Fellowships and University Teaching Fellowships, both awarded for demonstrating teaching excellence, were interviewed to determine the nature and extent of the impact of receiving an award on them, their managers, their colleagues, and their students. Fellows reported that the most significant impact was ‘affirmation’: an acknowledgement that their work was excellent, giving them ‘permission’ to continue. Noting how awards are retrospective, Fellows did not change their practice after receiving their Fellowship as they were already excellent. Most Fellows noted that within a year the Fellowship was reduced to post-nominal letters. Although the impact on Fellows’ managers was occasionally positive, some managers were uninterested. Many managers used fellowships for improving the profile of the university through institutional statistics, as a form of Corporate Excellence. While some Fellows’ colleagues were warm, supportive, and collegiate, others engaged in bullying behaviour. Students were mainly unaware of excellent teaching awards. Fellows were reluctant to engage in self-promotion of their Fellowship, preferring to demonstrate their excellence through their practice. These findings challenge the widely held conception that teaching fellowships enhance teaching excellence.
Publication titlePostdigital Science and Education
- Accepted version