University academic recognised for professional excellence

University academic recognised for professional excellence 

Academic Developer Nicky Meer, from Lancaster, has just been made a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA), an accolade that is highly regarded in the academic world.

Nicky, who works in the university's Academic Quality and Development Service, originally joined St Martin’s College in 1997 and so has just completed her twentieth year.

Nicky’s role as an academic developer sees her developing, championing and enhancing the teaching and learning practice of all academic staff within the University of Cumbria. “We do this in a variety of ways such as through academic programmes, support for individuals, teams and departments, workshops and seminars”, she explains.

In order to receive the award, Nicky compiled a 7,000-word reflective account of her activities that had to demonstrate: a sustained record of effective strategic leadership in academic practice and development. In addition, she submitted three advocate statements that supported her claim to become a principal fellow. A panel of assessors from the HEA then evaluated her claim and happily agreed that she met all the criteria.

Nicky says, “There are only 800 principal fellows of the Higher Education Academy worldwide and so I am obviously delighted at gaining my recognition, and particularly pleased that, although the process took over eight months to complete, I received the award in the university’s tenth anniversary year.”

This success demonstrates the calibre of our staff, emphasising that they are working at the highest level of expertise and ability in learning and teaching, and Nicky now joins the university’s other principal fellow, Dr Heather Prince, in gaining this prestigious honour.

And in future Nicky’s colleagues will be able to turn to her for advice. “Now I have successfully completed the process,” she says, “I aim to mentor, develop and assist other academic and senior staff in their applications for principal fellowship status.”