Professor Tess Maginess PFHEA
When asked to reflect on “what does being a Principal Fellow mean to you?” Tess answered:
Being awarded a Principal Fellowship was very humbling. it would not have been possible but for the amazing encouragement and support of colleagues, and, indeed, my students.
My journey really started by applying for a Teaching Award around 2009. I got great help from people like Liz McDowell, who then suggested I go for an Advance HE award. I won a National Teaching Fellowship in 2013. As I progressed through the different levels of Fellowship, colleagues such as Karen Fraser and mentors from Advance HE, had such faith in me, however doltish I must often have appeared.
Having faith in colleagues is a really central part of being in a true Community of Practice and, for me, having faith in students is just as crucial. Gaining each level of HE Fellowship, right up to PF, has underscored that. And part of that faith is an integrity of enthusiasm and an odd wee bit of humour.
Being a PFHEA has also made me even more aware of how important it is to continue to be critically questioning – not only of received ideas - but of my own values and practice as a teacher. And it has given me confidence to continue to engage with adult learners often marginalised in Higher Education; older people, people living with disabilities, migrant peoples (eg Photovoice Project | Photovoice Project (qub.ac.uk). That capstone award has been very important too, in endorsing pedagogic innovation, in my own case in the use of a variety of arts-based approaches and in endorsing co-research models which value what students can teach us.