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Gaining Fellowship helped me to think more strategically: Kalliopi Fouseki

Kalliopi Fouseki (Institute for Sustainable Heritage) on achieving Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

Person writing notes at an Arena event

1 October 2019

Which Arena pathway did you follow?

Arena Open and then the dedicated route for Senior Fellow.

There are four bespoke sessions offering guidance on each step of your application.

The first session is compulsory, followed by three non-compulsory sessions which you can attend as required. 

What was your motivation?

Having taught for 8 years and completed a PgCert in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 6 years ago, I wanted to refresh and update my knowledge as well as reflect on my practice.

What was the most useful element?

The application made me realise how much leadership is involved in my role. 

Before this, I felt that I was just delivering the postgraduate course that I am coordinating. 

While reflecting during the application process, I realised how much work I do on a daily basis that is not just leading the course but leading and mentoring a diverse range of people who are at different stages in their career. 

This process also motivated me to look at useful literature on leadership in higher education. 

I identified my leadership style as being ‘participatory’, which has worked quite effectively over the years.

How has it changed your approach?

This process made me think more strategically about maximising the impact of this work across UCL. 

I lead on a series of “Best Practice Exchange Seminars on PhD Supervision” that proved not only popular but also critical after the IQR exercise was complete since one of the action points recommended was exactly this.

The significance of the seminars was recognised at departmental level but also UCL level. Thanks to UCL Arena, I disseminated the results of this initiative to Faculty Graduate Tutors across UCL with the intention to replicate this model in other departments.

Kevin Mansfield, Departmental Graduate Tutor (Research) (BSEER) said of the seminar series:

“BSEER’s Research Degrees Committee welcomed Dr Kalliopi Fouseki’s initiative in setting up termly meetings for the Exchange of Best Practice in PhD Supervision during the 2018—2019 Session and strongly recommends that all supervisors attend at least one session per academic year. Further, in response to the findings of BSEER’s Internal Quality Review (IQR), I would encourage Kalliopi to continue this initiative with enhanced contributions from the DGT (Research) and the Institute Doctoral Programme Tutors.

How do you think your students have benefited from you taking part?

I developed my skills to be more effective at managing the PGTAs who assist in the course and consequently in improving the teaching experience for the Masters students supervised by PGTAs.

My PhD students have thus benefited from getting better training in working as PGTAs and my Masters students in receiving better teaching support as a result of this.

When did you do this?

I tried to work in spring 2018 by attending the various seminars and workshops offered by UCL Arena. My initial hope was to submit my application in September 2018.

However, it was difficult for me to block enough time so that I could properly reflect and write the application.

I thus worked over the Christmas holiday. By that time I was working sporadically with more intense work over December.

Due to the teaching commitments, I managed to fully concentrate over the Christmas holiday. It was though a pleasant exercise to undertake during a holiday period.

It boosted my confidence and made me realise how much and how important the work is that I am doing as a course director and a PhD supervisor of a large number of PhD students.

I was awarded Fellowship in January 2019.

Kalliopi's top tips for applying for Fellowship

  1. Attend UCL Arena sessions: initial guidance and developing your application. 
  2. Allow enough time to reflect (ideally on a daily basis).
  3. Block a week or so to write it up.