Becoming a Fellow: my experience with accreditation and fellowship with the AUA | AUA Blog

 

Jessica Napthine-Hodgkinson Research Support Officer University of Manchester

 

You may have heard about AUA accreditation and fellowship at an event or on the website, but are not sure what it entails or whether it is right for you. Having recently become a Fellow of the AUA, I hope to give you an insight into what it entails, the support available to you and what you can get out of it.

First of all, why apply for it? For me, fellowship represents a commitment to my ongoing professional development. Working alongside academic staff, I regularly see postnominal letters in email signatures that represent membership or fellowship of various professional bodies. I feel it is important that as an AUA member, I do everything I can to advance parity of esteem with academic colleagues and being able to use FAUA in correspondence helps to do that. I have already had a couple of colleagues (both academic and professional support services) ask me what it stands for. Being able to tell them about the AUA and the professional commitment I have made made me feel very proud.

What are the benefits of accreditation or fellowship? The benefits of undertaking accreditation or fellowship begin before you have even submitted your application. The process of writing your professional reflection will show you how far you’ve come in your career, help you to identify areas for development and start making plans to further your career. As I was applying for fellowship, I had to produce evidence of how my CPD related to all 9 of the professional behaviours. This might sound like a lot of work but don’t let that put you off, you’d be surprised how many examples come to mind when you reflect on your career. Also, the professional behaviours align closely to the key skills on many job descriptions so bringing these together in one document means I now have a template I can use when applying for roles in the future.

Aside from the recognition of your commitment to professional development so far, accreditation or fellowship also demonstrate that you are knowledgeable and proactive about developing your professional practice to meet the needs of a rapidly changing sector. This deeper level of reflection on what it means to be a successful university administrator will make you a more attractive candidate for roles as you continue in your career.

But, how do you know if your application is on the right track? The AUA recognise that completing the application may seem like a daunting task but they offer plenty of support to give you the greatest chance of success. You can email the AUA at any time for advice or guidance on any part of the application that you are having difficulty with. Also, colleagues within the AUA who are Accredited Members or Fellows will be happy to provide support. When I was completing my application, I got some great feedback from a Fellow that helped me to shape my professional reflection. Hopefully, as the AUA website is developed a forum will be set up for those considering accreditation so that they can make direct contact with Fellows and Accredited Members.

In summary, my experience of applying for and attaining Fellowship has been really positive. The work involved was not too onerous and really helped me to celebrate my successes as well as highlighting some areas I want to work on in future. The response I have had from colleagues at all levels has been great and I think it was well worth the application fee to be able to proudly say that I am a Fellow of the Association of University Administrators.

If you would like to get in touch to discuss accreditation, I would be happy to hear from you: Jessica.napthine-hodgkinson@manchester.ac.uk

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