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Education researcher receives ‘highest category of professional recognition’ by the Higher Education Academy

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Education researcher receives ‘highest category of professional recognition’ by the Higher Education Academy

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Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Education

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) has awarded Dr Tony Lawson Principal Fellowship, the highest category of professional recognition for teaching and supporting learning that is awarded by the national body.

Dr Lawson, who works in the School of Education and is Academic Director of the College of Social Science, now joins Professor Jon Scott as one of only two such Principal Fellows at the University.

One of the responsibilities of the HEA is to provide a supportive process for the professional recognition of teaching and supporting learning, which it does through its Fellowship service. There are four categories of recognition; Associate Fellow, Fellow, Senior Fellow and Principal Fellow, of which Principal is the highest.

Professional recognition is based on the commitment of the applicant to the Professional  Standards Framework of the HEA, which consists of three dimensions; Core Knowledge, Professional Values and Areas of Activity.

For Principal Fellow, the criteria for recognition are different to the preceding categories, in that the commitment to the Framework should be manifested in teaching, learning, leading and policy-making at institutional, national and international levels.

Applications are reviewed by an expert panel of Accreditors, who determine whether the claim meets the highest standards of teaching and learning practice for the category applied for. In the case of Principal Fellow, there are over 120 Principal Fellowships awarded in the country, fewer than one per University.

Dr Lawson said: “I am delighted to have gained Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in recognition of my work in learning and teaching in the School of Education, the University of Leicester, nationally and internationally. It is a great honour.

“Leicester now has two of these: Professor Jon Scott, Academic Registrar, and myself, with a third application in process at the HEA. My application is the first successful Principal Fellowship in the College of Social Science.

“My main area of teaching and learning activity over 24 years in the University is training social science (sociology and psychology) teachers, who then go on to have an impact (positive I believe) on Advanced level students’ achievements. My course was graded as Grade 1 (the highest) by the HMI when the last subject inspection was carried out on the PGCE. My trainees consistently achieve the highest levels against the Teachers’ Standards set by the Department for Education.”

Professor Stephanie Marshall, Chief Executive, HEA said: “Congratulations to Dr Lawson on becoming a Principal Fellow.  Fellowship is a key milestone in the career of any learning and teaching professional in higher education and Principal Fellows are key strategic leaders in the development of learning and teaching at institutional, national and international level.

“Students deserve the very best learning and teaching during their time in higher education, and the various categories of HEA fellowship indicate that the sector's recognised professional standard has been met.”

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