From Lecturer to Vice Principal: How my Fellowship helped to inspire our commitment to great teaching and our College’s aspiration to innovate curriculum to meet community needs
As a Vice Principal in Further Education, working in one of the UK’s largest College Groups and becoming the College’s first Principal Fellow. Our growth in the Higher Education courses at The Bedford College Group has been one of our most significant achievements. It has raised the aspirations of further education students and colleagues across the College Group. In addition, I am proud to have developed our Higher Education strategy, which enables us to drive up participation, meet employer needs, and to have helped to inspire a commitment to great teaching and learning – all so vital in areas of social deprivation. My Fellowship has allowed me to develop our college’s reputation for being sector-leading by promoting our policy development and Teaching and Learning impact to external audiences. We have established our reputation for high-quality teaching and learning by sharing this practice across the sector.
My Fellowship has always been important to me, starting as an Associate Fellow when I began my teaching career in further education. It was essential to have this recognition and hold this award as recognition of my commitment to the development of teaching and my leadership skills in navigating two operating environments, FE and HE. It has allowed me to foster and grow the number of Fellows at the College by demonstrating my commitment to teaching excellence. In addition, my Fellowship has led to deeper collaboration with stakeholders and have had the opportunity to work on external policy development and leverage my influence over policymakers locally and nationally, bringing benefits to the college and the local communities of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.
In my organisation, the Fellowship has enabled me to grow my passion for the promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion by using the events from Advance HE to develop my own skills to promote diversity within the college and build an environment that promotes positive and inclusive practices that enhance the student experience for diverse students within the College and our local community. I have implemented initiatives within our Access and Participation plan that builds awareness of different opportunities to promote inclusive teaching practices that have positive impacts on students and their outcomes.
My Fellowship allowed me to continue to develop my professional practices by reflecting on my work in the sector over the last ten years. It has helped me navigate my career from Lecturer to Vice Principal by building my network and providing me access to events to strengthen my leadership, such as collaboration opportunities and sharing best practices with peers across the sector. In my practice, my Fellowship has allowed me to develop, enhance and implement effective teaching and learning policies, which have positively increased student support and improved the quality of teaching and learning, which have directly improved the student experience.
Alex Mortby is the Vice Principal for the Bedford College Group. The Bedford College Group is a large general FE College Group with over 18,000 students across Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. Alex’s role includes Curriculum Leadership, Research and Higher Education.