This post was inspired by Lorna Saunder’s post about the RISES programme, earlier this year, which encouraged me to share my experience of the programme (Thanks, Lorna!). This academic year, I was really grateful to be involved with the RISES (Recognising Individual Staff Education Status) programme. RISES is a Continuing Professional Development route to fellowships of the Higher Education Academy at all levels. Having gained Fellowship 10 years ago, I knew that I was ready to apply for a higher level, but was unsure which level was most appropriate, and did not really know how to get started in putting together a claim. Happily, the RISES programme addressed both of these issues, and supported and encouraged me to submit a claim for Principal Fellow.
RISES this year was supported by an initial workshop for all staff, explaining the programme and various levels of fellowship. This was useful for my own claim, but also in helping to advise other staff wanting to gain fellowship. Once on the programme, I found the Moodle module to be an excellent resource, including templates for claims, and examples of previously successful applications. Another incredibly useful aspect of RISES are the writing workshops, which allow applicants to set aside time to work on their claims, with support from the LEaD team, and from peers. I attended three of these while writing my claim, including one by Prof. Sally Brown, which got me started choosing the areas on which I would focus, and writing in the appropriate style. All the workshops were an incredible way to make some progress and start getting words down onto paper, whilst also sharing experiences and ideas with other applicants. Having Dr. Pam Parker on hand for advice during the workshops was invaluable, and, towards the end of the process, Pam also provided detailed, supportive and constructive feedback to improve my application. I submitted my claim in June 2015, and was incredibly happy to be awarded a Principal Fellowship in July. I know that I would not have achieved this without the RISES programme and all the forms of support offered, and would very much encourage other staff to enrol on the programme if they would like to gain recognition for their work in teaching, learning and education.