Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Experienced Pathway to HEA fellowship


The Academic and Professional Pathway for Experienced Staff (APP EXP) is a continuing professional development programme which has been accredited by Advance HE to confer the status of Associate Fellow, Fellow, Senior Fellow and Principal Fellow. This pathway supports experienced staff in their engagement with the Professional Standards Framework (PSF 2023) Link opens in a new windowand helps them to evidence their engagement through either a dialogic or written route.

We define staff as all those who teach and/or support learning at the University of Warwick. Within our definition we include postgraduate researchers who teach and professional services staff who support students directly or indirectly.

Further information about this pathway can be found below and in the APP EXP handbook. Please be aware that those embarking on APP EXP will need to have a minimum of 6 months remaining on their employment contracts with the University of Warwick because they need to be employed at the point of award of fellowship. Students who teach may be eligible to apply for Associate Fellowship through APP EXP but they may also wish to consider the APP PGRLink opens in a new window pathway.

If you are interested in joining the pathway you are invited to enrol on the APP EXP Introductory Moodle course, which offers basic information about the pathway, and is a pre-requisite to attending the APP EXP Introductory Session.

Self guided pathway with support.

What are Advance HE Fellowships?

Advance HE, formerly the Higher Education Academy (HEA), is the UK national body which champions teaching quality. Their mission is to support the higher education community to enhance the quality and impact of learning and teaching. Advance HE fellowships play a key part in this, enabling individuals to demonstrate their expertise against the Professional Standards Framework (PSF 2023) at different stages of their career.

Why should I become an Advance HE fellow?

Advance HE fellowships are a recognised measure of success across the Higher Education sector, both in the UK and internationally. Employers are increasingly looking for fellowship status as a condition of promotion and appointment.

The main benefit of gaining an Advance HE fellowship, however, is a personal one. Preparing your application gives you a unique opportunity to reflect on your academic practice and identity. It gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to teaching, learning and the student experience, through engagement in a process that encourages research, reflection and development. It also allows you to look back over your achievements and accomplishments, acknowledge your strengths, and identify your next professional and career goals.

Once you have successfully completed the process you will be able to identify your expertise with the use of post-nominal letters (AFHEA, FHEA, SFHEA, PFHEA).

The four categories of fellowship

There are four categories of fellowship, and they are awarded on the basis of individual experience and the ability to evidence success and impact within your sphere of influence. The first step to a successful application is to select a category of fellowship appropriate for you. In deciding which category of fellowship to apply for at this stage in your career, you will need to determine which of the four Descriptors is most appropriate to your practice. Your professional experience and current responsibilities will determine your eligibility for the award of Associate Fellow (AFHEA), Fellow (FHEA), Senior Fellow (SFHEA) or Principal Fellow (PFHEA). Remember that assessors will not decide which category you belong to on the basis of your application, but whether you meet the criteria for the category you are applying for.

You may wish to work through the Advance HE Fellowship Category Tool. The APP EXP introductory Moodle course and introductory session will also help you to decide which category of Fellowship is relevant to your particular context.

D4 has a somewhat different process.

Associate Fellow (AFHEA)

Fellow (FHEA)

Senior Fellow (SFHEA)

Principal Fellow (PFHEA)

How do I become an Advance HE fellow?

The University of Warwick is accredited to award all categories of fellowship. This means that you can apply for HEA fellowship through our pathway for experienced staff, APP EXP. The pathway supports your engagement with the PSF 2023 and helps you to gain recognition for your experience through either the written or dialogic route. While on the pathway you will need an APP EXP mentor who can help you decide which route to is most suitable for you and identify the appropriate category of fellowship. Regardless of which route you choose you will be provided with support to help to develop your application.

Choice of routes: Dialogic or Written

The pathway offers two routes: dialogic or written, and applicants can decide which would best suit them. The dialogic route involves a reflective professional conversation with two assessors, whereas in the written route applicants submit a written reflective narrative.

Supporting your reflection

Evidence presented to assessors should be reflective, not just descriptive, and consider the rationale behind decision making. Learn from it.

What's next

In order to apply you will follow these steps:

  1. Complete the APP EXP introductory Moodle course (you can enrol here), the course takes about 2 hours to work through. This offers basic information and help you to start gathering your evidence.
  2. Attend the APP EXP synchronous introductory session to support you engagement with PSF 2023 and introduce the two routes (written and dialogic).
  3. Register on the APP EXP pathway.
  4. Independently develop your application with support from your mentor.
  5. Submit your application via the APP EXP Moodle course for assessment.

Support for APP EXP participants

A range of opportunities are available for APP EXP participants. These include support from an APP EXP mentor, a Moodle course, regular network meetings, and termly writing and dialogue preparation retreats.

How long does it take?

The APP EXP pathway but 12-months is a common duration of registration on APP EXP. Discussions with your mentor will help to understand when you are ready to submit your application. Registration is for 18 months.

How are applications assessed?

APP EXP applications are peer reviewed by assessors drawn from across University academic and professional services departments, who themselves gained fellowship of an appropriate category. We endeavour to complete the assessment process within 6-8 from submission.

How do I complete APP EXP?