Principal Pathway

The Principal Pathway is an internal route to applying for recognition as Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA).

Principal Fellowship is very different to the other categories of fellowship supported through the Personal and Foundation Pathways. Rather than focusing specifically on your teaching practice, it requires you to demonstrate a 'sustained record of effective strategic leadership'. Examples of this leadership could be at an institutional or sector-wide level, but you need to be able to demonstrate effective leadership beyond your immediate department or Faculty.

Due to its very different nature, applicants will be assessed through a dialogue with a panel. You will be asked to submit some written documentation, but this will be used to inform the discussion with the panel.


The first stage is to attend an overview workshop that will give you the opportunity to explore the requirements for PFHEA, and how these relate to your own practice and experience. This will also explain the rest of the application process in more detail. We hold two workshops per year.


Applicants are supported through a Google community and optional workshops. You will also have the opportunity to request a mentor, who will be a colleague in the institution who has been recognised as PFHEA.

Build up your expertise

Engagement with learning and teaching  events, networks and communities can contribute to the evidence you use to support your application for recognition at any level.

Visit our Events page

Explore communities of practice

Explore mentoring opportunities around learning and teaching

Get in touch

Contact Us

Email the Learning and Teaching Professional Recognition Team

Principal Pathway