Colleagues recognised for effective strategic leadership in academic practice

We're delighted that our colleagues have been recognised for their effective strategic leadership in academic practice and contribution to high quality student learning.

Congratulations to our colleagues who are now recognised as Principal Fellows of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) following the recent set of panels.

Principal Fellowship of the HEA is a prestigious honour that recognises a sustained record of effective strategic leadership in academic practice and academic development as a key contribution to high quality student learning.

Congratulations to:

  • Professor Wyn Morgan (Economics)
  • Dr Pirashanthie Vivekananda-Schmidt (Medical School)
  • Dr Jenny Burnham (Chemistry)
  • Dr Willy Kitchen (Lifelong Learning)
  • Andrea Ward (Management School)

The panel, which included two external colleagues, was impressed with the work that all of these colleagues had been doing across the University and beyond, and we're delighted that they've been recognised.

Find out more about our Principal Fellows:

Professor Wyn Morgan

Image of Professor Wyn Morgan

Professor of Economics

Professor Wyn Morgan has always sought to raise the profile of teaching and learning across the University by focussing on student outcomes and staff input. Throughout his time as Vice-President for Education (2015-2020), Wyn has been passionate about championing individuals to develop leadership in learning and teaching. Over the past five years we have had seven National Teaching Fellows, nine Principal Fellows of the Higher Education Academy, more than 250 Senior Fellows and more than 900 Fellows and Associate Fellows and the establishment of Elevate to support both individuals and teams to develop their teaching practices.

During his first year in post, Wyn led the development of the Learning and Teaching Strategy, which was shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2017 for its consultative approach. A crucial part of this strategy and perhaps the most notable legacy from Wyn’s tenure is the Programme Level Approach (PLA) established under his leadership.

PLA not only provided a means for dealing with many long standing issues, such as assessment and feedback. It also sought to emphasise a team-based approach to teaching and facilitates the consideration of the student experience from a whole programme angle rather than module by module. It offers a framework for focussing on both student outcomes and staff input, thus moving the University away from an initiative-based approach. This offers a holistic means of addressing the ongoing and important issues of sustainability, inclusivity and employability.

Wyn has been keen to emphasise the use of technologies to enhance student learning and to create flexibility in teaching and studying. Under his leadership, the University introduced a system for lecture capture that now records over 85 percent of all lectures. The importance of student voice and feedback has also been central to Wyn’s approach and he has amplified this through close working relationships with students and their representatives across the University.

Wyn returned to his role as Professor of Economics in September 2020.

Wyn said: "I am delighted and honoured to have received this recognition. Learning and teaching has been a major part of my academic career and it has been a privilege to lead the University in the areas that the award recognised. I look forward in the future to helping others move along the path of HEA recognition too."

Dr Pirashanthie Vivekananda-Schmidt

Image of Dr Pirashanthie Vivekananda-Schmidt

Lead for Professionalism and Patient Safety, Academic Unit of Medical Education

I am humbled to be recognised as a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I am particularly proud of my work within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health in Ethics Education, as well as the leadership I have employed nationally to raise the profile of medical ethics education; particularly through my work with the Institute of Medical Ethics.

I am delighted that the successes through the policies I have developed to sustain safer learning environments and improve inclusivity and quality of learning experiences within medicine have been recognised through this fellowship. In particular, the work on raising concerns and the opportunities I have had to develop the understanding to manage low level concerns both locally and nationally is something I am grateful for.

At an international level I have had the opportunities to lead and facilitate projects to effectively apply technology enhanced learning and serious gaming principles to reduce inequities in learning opportunities. This has also led to improving the availability of flexible learning resources and learning opportunities to improve knowledge and its application to decision making at institutions beyond Sheffield.

Inclusivity and Ethics underpin my values in professional practice in supporting the development of staff and students.

Dr Jenny Burnham

Image of Dr Jenny Burnham

Senior University Teacher in Chemistry

My leadership takes the form of advocacy for teaching and teaching quality to create a nurturing environment in which anyone can gain recognition for excellence. I have sought to raise the profile of teaching as an activity by influencing and championing others through networking, mentoring, supporting, encouraging, and providing a stage on which they can reach a wide audience.

My approach to strategic leadership is one of empowerment and I create and facilitate opportunities for colleagues to grow and develop their teaching careers and to showcase their work. Community is a key part of this and my application for PFHEA focussed on my work with the teaching networks I have led nationally, as well as in Sheffield. The assessment panel commended me for my passion for supporting others. They saw to the heart of what I do and have praised me for it.

I am proud of my networks. I am really pleased that my facilitative, bottom-up approach to leadership has been recognised with this award and I hope it encourages other teaching-specialists to seek similar recognition for their work.

Dr Willy Kitchen

Image of Dr Willy Kitchen

Head of the Department for Lifelong Learning

Dr Willy Kitchen has led different iterations of the Department for Lifelong Learning’s Mature Access Programme over the past two decades, contributing throughout this period to the University’s strategic approach to the recruitment and support of students from a wide range of ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds.

Willy led the development and introduction of a suite of new undergraduate degrees with integrated foundation year in 2014 which now guarantee direct progression of students into 40 degree programmes across four faculties.

These pathways offer bespoke support for mature students returning to study at the University who have followed a myriad of different pathways back into education. Their rigour and effectiveness is well demonstrated by the success of former DLL students now graduating across the University, 38 per cent of whom gain first-class and 91 per cent good honours degrees.

Willy has also played a leading role in the Foundation Year Network since its formation in 2007. The network provides a focus for the work of foundation year practitioners across the HE sector, supporting colleague’s individual development, sharing good practice, and advocating on a national stage for the maintenance of a diversity of entry pathways into HE appropriate to the needs of anyone willing and able to benefit from a rounded University education.

Willy said: “I’m thrilled to have achieved Principal Fellowship. For me, this represents timely recognition of the extraordinary work which foundation year colleagues do, not just within my own department, but right across the sector. It also provides an opportunity to celebrate the remarkable things which our students are able to achieve. I have been privileged throughout my career to work with a succession of students whose intellect, critique and sheer bloody-mindedness has been a daily inspiration; they’ve learned me pretty much everything I know as an educator.”

Andrea Ward

Image of Andrea Ward

Senior University Teacher in People Development, Leadership and Change

Andrea is the first colleague in the Management School to be awarded Principal Fellow status. In receiving the award, Andrea has demonstrated a proven track record of effective strategic leadership in academic practice and development which has contributed to high-quality student learning at the Management School.

Andrea has a deep commitment to the student experience and works closely with staff and students to enhance the experience, whilst successfully influencing at an institutional level.

Andrea has held many strategic leadership roles with the University at all levels. She successfully leads and manages complex and competing demands, retaining a focus on establishing quality and excellence across both the Management School and within the wider Institution. She not only leads by example but simplifies routines and processes within the quality assurance and quality enhancement field.

Andrea is also successful in supporting professional development of others as a mentor and coach whether that is a programme director, or a fellow leader within Sheffield and across institutions. She contributes to the professional development plans within the institution in many ways including her membership of the steering group of the profession recognition scheme for HEA.

Andrea said: “It’s a delight and an honour to be recognised in this way and receive Principal Fellowship. High-quality teaching is at the heart of what we do in the Management School and this award demonstrates our commitment to developing knowledgeable and employable students.”

Development, recognition and celebration

Through Elevate, the University provides a number of opportunities for formal qualifications, recognition of learning and teaching practice and for celebrating success at institutional and national level.

If you are involved in strategic leadership around learning and teaching, either within the University or beyond, and would be interested in applying for Principal Fellowship, please come along to our next Principal Pathway Introductory workshop on 9 March 10.30am -12.30pm. Bookings can be made via the LMS.