Academic Quality and Partnerships

Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)


Four participants taking part in a Lego teaching session

What is SFHEA?

Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) is an advanced level of professional standing that evidences expertise in teaching and learning in higher education.

Senior Fellows are typically the colleagues who lead in teaching and supporting learning by supporting others and spreading effective practices. A specific requirement of SFHEA is demonstrating the impact and influence you have on others’ teaching

This video and web resource provide a brief summary of the award of Senior Fellowship.

Why apply?

Senior Fellowship (SFHEA) offers you many benefits:

  • Senior Fellowship is increasingly sought by employers across the education sector as a condition of appointment and promotion for management and leadership positions
  • Recognised and valued by a growing number of international institutions
  • An opportunity to consolidate your personal development and show evidence of influencing other colleagues’ professional practice in your higher education career
  • An opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to teaching, learning and the student experience, through engagement in a practical process that encourages research, reflection and development
  • Entitlement to use post-nominal letters SFHEA

The Fellowship scheme is based on the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF),  a nationally-recognised framework for benchmarking success within HE teaching and learning support. The UKPSF provides a general description of the main dimensions of the roles of teaching and supporting learning within the HE environment. It is written from the perspective of the practitioner and outlines a national framework for comprehensively recognising and benchmarking teaching and learning support roles within higher education.

What support is available?

At Sussex we support colleagues applying for SFHEA through workshops and structured writing retreats. Please see 'Latest News' feature at bottom of page for details of up coming sessions.

There is also a Canvas Site with a recording of the information session along with examples of applications and additional guidance documents.

What are other people’s experiences?

There are over 30 Senior Fellows at the University of Sussex. We are developing a series of video case studies documenting the experiences of those who have applied. The work involved in applying for SFHEA is worthwhile and interesting but it is also significant so it is useful to discuss this with your line manager or mentor to explore how this fits with your workload, priorities and work-life balance.

Case study - Prof Peter Giesl, MPS

How can I apply?

Becoming a Senior Fellow involves an independent online application to Advance HE.  This 6,500 word application consists of an Account of Professional Practice (APP), which includes:

  • A Reflective Account of Practice (RAP)
  • Two case studies of professional practice (CAS)

Download your Senior Fellow guidance pack from Advance HE to find out more and start your application. Your completed APP needs to be supported by two independent referee reports. Referees need to be familiar with the UK Professional Standards Framework and be able to comment on the impact, effectiveness and quality of your leadership and teaching practices.

If you have questions about your eligibility, you may wish to consult the Fellowship Category Tool which has been designed by Advance HE to assist you in selecting the category of Fellowship that is the closest match to your current practice. It might also be useful to reflect on some of the reasons why SFHEA applications are unsuccessful.


Latest News

We are currently offering Senior Fellowship information sessions on the dates below. The information session is an opportunity to discuss and ask questions about developing an application to become a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). The session will be online and is open to all by prior registration using the links below. If you think that you would like to apply for Senior Fellowship now or in the future but are not sure whether the time is right for you now, this is a good opportunity to explore this.

1 hour information sessions (on Zoom):

Writing Days

We are holding a writing retreat day aimed at supporting colleagues to develop their own applications for Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). These days are intended primarily as an opportunity for you to set aside a designated quiet space for you to work on developing your application away from other work demands. The days will be facilitated by colleagues who hold SFHEA and are experienced supporting academic professional development and leading academic writing workshops. They will structure the day into suggested writing blocks and will be on hand for questions and advice. You will also be able to connect with other colleagues who are on the same SFHEA application journey and share experiences and advice together.

We will be offering a seperate online and in-person writing retreat. Please sign up to by clicking the relevant link below.