Teaching & Learning


Gaining Principal Fellowship helped me examine the impact of my work: Professor Lynn Ang

Professor Lynn Ang, Pro-Director and Vice-Dean Research (IOE) explains how she became a Prinicipal Fellow of the HEA and why you should consider an application.

Lynn Ang

12 January 2022

What is your role?

I am Pro-Director and Vice-Dean Research at the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society. I am also Co-Chair of UCL Research Ethics Committee (REC) where I lead a cross-faculty multi-disciplinary 16-member team to deliver UCL ethics strategy. My role involves strategic leadership of the Faculty's overall research strategy to deliver UCL's institutional objectives of research excellence and impact.

What was your motivation for applying for fellowship?

What really motivates me as a researcher and educator is a passion for supporting learning and finding ways of creating learning opportunities for young children and students across the levels. Over the years, I have successfully taught across the levels from undergraduate, Masters to Doctoral students.

My motivation for applying for fellowship is two-fold. On a personal level, teaching remains one of my distinct pleasures and applying for Principal Fellowship was an opportunity to consolidate and reflect upon my own development as an educator.

At a strategic level in my leadership roles, I am committed to research-informed education and valuing the intrinsic links between research, teaching and learning. I hope my award will set a precedent for other research leaders to be active contributors in the translation of research to inform teaching and learning to benefit future generations of researchers and students.

Tell us about your experience of applying for fellowship? 

The Principal Fellowship Higher Education Award (PFHEA) is the highest recognition granted to individuals for their sustained contributions and effective record of impact on academic practice in higher education nationally and internationally. The Advance Higher Education (HE) states only 1% or around 1,000 of total fellows worldwide are Principal Fellows.

The UK Professional Standards Framework descriptor 4 criteria sets a high bar for Principal Fellowship and this may seem daunting. However, my experience of applying for fellowship was both rewarding and empowering.

UCL Arena Centre provided excellent support and I worked with very knowledgeable and kind mentors at the Centre and in my Faculty. This made all the difference.

It took me over a year to prepare my application and the final submission was close to 40 pages. It was a challenging process but with the support and encouragement of my mentors, my experience of applying for Fellowship was a very positive and fulfilling one.

What was the most useful aspect?

The most useful aspect of applying for principal fellowship was that it allowed me the space to examine my own practice in the context of my research and the accumulative impact of my work. Applying for Principal Fellowship became something of a personal journey of self-discovery. Being Principal Fellow is the culmination of my career in Higher Education and I found the experience to be most rewarding.

How are you planning to further develop your work as a senior leader?

It is an honour to be awarded Principal Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. I have been in a leadership role for many years now and have the privilege of working with very talented colleagues. I hope my Principal Fellowship will provide further opportunities for me to continue my institutional service and influence the university's strategy and policy in ways that will have a deep and lasting benefit for colleagues and students.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking about applying?

The Principal Fellowship application is a complex document with multiple levels of criteria which requires time and dedication to prepare. Don't rush into it. Give yourself time and space to write your application and keep persevering! You will be amazed at how much you have achieved and it will all be worth it at the end.

Start your application today

Visit the Arena Fellowships page or join an 'Initial guidance' event for staff considering an application to any level of Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Upcoming dates for 'Initial guidance' online sessions: