Deakin HEA Fellows 
Profile Series 01 | Joanne Smissen
MARCH, 2019
HEA Fellowship
Teaching & Learning
Joanne Smissen SFEA J Faculty of Science, Engineering & Built Environment Senior Lecturer in Educational Design & Team Leader (SEBE Learning Support)
Why did you apply for the HEA fellowship?

To achieve recognition for my leadership, ideas and achievements in teaching and learning at Deakin. I also saw it as a personal challenge, a chance to reflect on my career and my achievements, and an opportunity to prioritise writing in my day-to-day work. I hoped that being awarded a Senior HEA Fellowship would be a step towards recognition within Deakin and potential promotion.

What have you got out of the experience?

It was a really valuable experience for me. As a writing project it was very different from anything I had attempted before, but I enjoyed the writing and I think it was beneficial to take the time to evaluate, reflect and document my achievements. I should do this more routinely but in my current role I rarely have the time. I learned a great deal from the Deakin HEA Fellowship program. The workshops, checklists, and feedback from the program mentor were excellent, and very effective in guiding me through the process of preparing an application that evidenced all of the required areas of practice in an interesting and compelling (I hope) narrative … within a very challenging word-limit. I am very proud to have been successful and I look forward to mentoring others in future cohorts in the program at Deakin.

“Take advantage of all opportunities to receive feedback from the program mentors. ”
What advice would you give others contemplating joining the program?  

  • Allow plenty of time. This is likely to be a writing exercise that is different from other academic writing, and it may take time to mould and connect your examples and evidence into the required reflective narrative.
  • Use the resources and mentors provided in the program. I cannot over-emphasise how helpful these are.
  • Don’t stress about accessing the successful applications of others. There is no perfect format or style for the application. This is a very personal account of your career and your achievements and determining your personal approach to telling your story within the application is an important part of the process … and adds to the ultimate reward.
  • Get used to writing about YOU. If you are anything like me this will be the hardest part of writing your narrative, but you have to be able to describe your ideas, your reasoning, your achievements and your contributions to the achievements of teams, so that you feature prominently in your story. The resources provided in the program will help you do this.
  • Expect to be challenged. Take advantage of all opportunities to receive feedback from the program mentors. The feedback you receive will be positive and constructive, but may sometimes be challenging. Mine was. You are of course the author of your own narrative, but you should be confident that all feedback given is aimed at improving your application and your chance of a successful outcome.
  • Be brief and succinct. The word limit is brutal.

For More Resources on HEA Fellowships:

DTeach HEA Overview:

Higher Education Academy: Home page

HEA Fellowship Tool

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