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Law Student Secures WIHEA Fellowship

Third year Law and Sociology student and Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) Chair Lucy Young has been awarded a Warwick International Higher Education Academy (WIHEA) Fellowship. When asked how she felt about the news she told us, “I'm over the moon! I was quite nervous when I submitted my application, but I'm so glad I have the opportunity and resources to contribute towards substantial change across the university.”

WIHEA is the UK's first institutional academy of educators for staff and students engaged in the advancement of learning and teaching excellence. Dr Jane Bryan is a WIHEA Foundation Fellow and has been involved from the very start, as she explains, “WIHEA is a fantastic opportunity for staff and students to get involved in the collective institutional voice on learning and teaching and the academic student experience. WIHEA consists of fellows and members who are actively involved in governance, development initiatives, networks and think tanks that set the tone and develop the direction of learning and teaching at Warwick. They also deliver and host a range of events and activities, as well as provide funding opportunities.”

We caught up with Lucy, who began her fellowship at the beginning of February, to find out more.

How did you hear about WIHEA?

I originally found out about it while browsing the Warwick website, I had no idea what it was, so I opened a few of the annual reports, read through them and explored it a bit more. Around a year later, a member of WIHEA alumni recommended I apply for the fellowship. I then got in touch with other existing fellows who eventually became my signatories within my application. Everyone on the programme is kind and approachable, and I'm really enjoying the fellowship so far.

How did you apply?

Everything can be found online, simply by googling 'WIHEA Warwick'. The International Higher Education Academy aims to improve teaching and learning practice at Warwick, meaning that you need to be engaged with the student body and want to improve the student experience. I demonstrated this through the adoption of various roles this year, both within societies and within the Law School. The application itself involves completing a form, and providing a short statement explaining why you'd make a solid addition to the existing team. You then require the approval of an existing WIHEA fellow - they can come from any academic department, mine came from the Modern Languages department. The entire process ensures you're well integrated within the team, and that there is always a familiar face in the learning circles you contribute towards.

Why did you apply?

I applied for the fellowship because I knew I'd be able to do a lot more with the support of other professors and academics from different departments. This fellowship allows me to get involved with research 'learning' circles which are funded by the university. It's the first entity of its kind within the UK, so I'm glad to be contributing towards such an efficient and effective scheme that has positively affected the education of thousands.

An example of work done includes implementing the asynchronous learning in such a short timeframe, with minimal technical errors. This was a process that was tested throughout the summer, with student volunteers testing each resource and sending approval rates. Essentially, I want to help capture the bigger picture of the current higher education system in context of modern technology, and WIHEA can help me do this.

What are your plans for the future and how will the Fellowship help you?

After careful consideration, I still don't know what I want to do after university. I'm really interested in cyber law, and I've been researching a few London universities that run specialised courses covering this topic, alongside many others. If I decide against this, I'll want to explore grad work - I know that whatever I do, it will involve a legal specialisation in something I find interesting. I'm not completely against commercial work, I just know that there are a lot of opportunities out there, and I want to explore everything.

The fellowship is the type of role that requires self-sufficiency and an existing skillset, and to get the position, you need to be able to demonstrate your motivation through experience you've already had. The application process itself requires a good depth of introspection that you'll most likely require when applying for future professional positions. I also communicate regularly with loads of professors from every discipline, where I am often the only student in the call. Looking back to my first year, this prospect would probably terrify me, but with experience it comes with ease. The role helps students develop to the professional world, especially in the kind of profession where they'll be the youngest and least experienced in the room.

Further congratulations goes to Law School Teaching Fellow Dr Rebecca Limb who has also been awarded a Fellowship in this round. She told us, “It is a privilege to be invited to work alongside esteemed colleagues. The role is a wonderful opportunity to learn from and work with like-minded colleagues to create innovative teaching practices and make a real difference to the teaching and learning landscape at Warwick.

“Inspired by interdisciplinary teaching pedagogy, research-led and co-creative teaching practice, I strive to provide an inclusive, student-centred, and enquiry-based learning environment that introduces absent and underrepresented voices into the teaching and learning environment. Moreover, I am acutely aware of the barriers to education and academia that students and staff with disabilities experience. This WHIEA fellowship is a unique opportunity to be involved in the dismantling of some of these barriers.”

Associate Professor Christopher Bisping who was also awarded the 3 year fellowship back in 2019/20 told us, “WIHEA uses the strictest selection criteria to ensure that staff and students with a genuine interest in pedagogy are appointed as fellows of this unique group among British Universities. This is a tremendous achievement for both Lucy and Rebecca.”

Congratulations to both Lucy and Rebecca and best of luck with the Fellowship.

Fri 19 Feb 2021, 11:30 | Tags: Award, undergraduate, Student Achievement, Staff in action