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What is it for?

The Distinguished Learner Support Excellence Fellowship is awarded to individuals who have a track record of supporting learning in HE and can demonstrate an outstanding contribution to the student learning experience at Ulster University.

In particular, the individual’s contribution will be directly related to the Educational Excellence themes and priorities within the University’s strategy and will focus on an example demonstrating initiative and effective problem solving/ innovation in direct /indirect learner support.

The purpose of the award is to recognise, reward and celebrate staff who support learning excellence and to create a proactive learning community within Ulster.

Up to two awards are normally available and the award of £1000 to successful applicants should be used to support the recipients’ CPD in learning support.

Distinguished Learner Support Excellence Fellows will be expected to share their experience and practice with colleagues at Ulster.

Who is eligible?

  • Any member of staff who supports learning in a professional service or technician role.
  • Applicants should have achieved AFHEA, or another category of HEA fellowship, at the time of making their application.

Applicants should provide a 2000-word Reflective Statement and Case Study on their particular contribution to excellence in learning support through an innovation(s)/ approach(es)which make a transformative effect directly or indirectly on the Ulster student learning experience.

Submissions should be endorsed by the applicant’s Line Manager to confirm the veracity of the claims made within the application.

How is the award judged?

The award scheme is judged by a panel including the PVC Academic Quality and Student Experience, all Associate Dean(s) (Academic Quality and Student Experience), representatives of Learning Enhancement, the Awards’ Manager, representative University National Teaching Fellows and the President of UUSU.


The Assessment Panel will be looking for applicants’ ability to:

  • Show evidence of an initiative(s) that demonstrates sustained and effective problem solving, enhancement, or innovation in learner support that aligns to University L&T priorities
  • Support the claim with independent evidence, such as testimonials (particularly from key stakeholders e.g. students, colleagues), supporting data and/or evidence of effectiveness and impact – (evidence should be integrated throughout the claim and contributes to the word count.)
  • Demonstrate clearly how the initiative goes beyond that which would be expected of a ‘good professional’ and adds something novel, enhancing, or innovative to supporting learners in their area.
  • Be underpinned by relevant references to the professional knowledge base in HE learner support practice.
  • Include reflection on or evidence of how their intervention has begun to have impact within the broader learner support community that is beyond the applicant’s local area.

When to apply

  • Applications should be received by next deadline TBC
  • Submission as a single PDF File via the Award Dropbox on BBL

Distinguished Learner Support Excellence Fellowship Winners

2023-24 Winners

In this section

Dr Kenny McCartan

Kenny is an ICT Teaching Technology Officer in the ICT Customer Services Team, within the Digital Services Directorate.

Cathy Moore

Cathy is an Employability Consultant in the Faculty Partnerships Team within the Student and Graduate Success Directorate.

Heather Burgess

Heather Burgess is Embroidery Technician within Textile Art, Design and Fashion and Technical lead for the Technician Commitment.