Aspiring NTF Networking event report and links

Hosts of the Aspiring NTF event


Top L: Danielle Hargreave (AdvanceHE)  Top R: Prof Debbie Holley (facilitator)

Middle L: Sue Beckingham Middle R: Dr Nicola Watchman-Smith (AdvanceHE) 

Lower L: Dr Helen Webster Lower R: Karen Hustler (AdvanceHE)  

This webinar, one of a series to support aspiring NTFs organised between Advance HE and the ANTF, brought together three experts within the ANTF community who have experience in building online networks and also using them to further the reach and impact of their work nationally beyond their immediate contexts.

  • Prof Debbie Holley (NTF 2014) is Professor of Learning Innovation at Bournemouth University
  • Sue Beckingham (NTF 2017) is Principal Lecturer in Computing at Sheffield Hallam University
  • Dr Helen Webster is a Learning Developer and Head of Newcastle University’s Writing Development Centre.

Debbie opened the webinar with some mythbusting, breaking down the idea that to be an NTF, you have to be a Russell Group professor with a traditional linear career in the disciplines who gets the NTF on their first try. She reminded us of the three criteria that an aspiring NTF needs to evidence, and made a case for networking as key to all of them: extending your reach, articulating your values (and value!) as a leader and demonstrating your impact. A network will allow you to share your work, support colleagues’ development, and offer a space to learn new things and reflect on them. AS NTF Prof Sally Brown points out, a successful network is a two-way, reciprocal relationship, building and sharing rather than boasting and showing off!

Sue gave us an overview of the role that networking played in her own NTF. Specialising in the use of social media for learning, she was able to create a narrative around her work, incorporating comments from students, but also co-authored papers with students, a Social Media for Learning conference and special interest group SMASH. She also described how she built up her own community of practice online, bringing in people you don’t yet know from other disciplines and institutions. She invited us to reflect on our own use of digital tools, using David White’s Visitor/Resident framework, mapping how we use each one to build a network, some tools leaving visible traces of our presence, others less visible, and offered the example of a conference as an opportunity to create a presence online, or Creative Commons licenses to share materials more widely.

Helen offered an example of how building an online network can raise the profile of someone who is in a junior professional services role, yet can still achieve recognition as an NTF. She described how the use of social media, especially blogging, played a key role in sharing her work and evidencing its impact. She had successfully incorporated tweets, blog stats and sharing of her Creative Commons licensed resources as evidence, as well as the more traditional quality assurance data. She also addressed Criterion 3, often the most tricky section to write, showing how her blog had offered a space to learn new things and reflect in public, and impact on others at the same time. She presented an overview of different blogging genres that participants might like to try, with tips on connecting your blogging presence with other tools to encourage interaction and increase reach.

The session ended with some next steps for participants to begin building their own networks:

  • Map your potential networks and tools
  • Make small starts within your comfort zone
  • Keep a ‘happy file’ of evidence from students and peers to demonstrate impact
  • Do ONE brave thing next week and tweet it to @NTF_Tweet!

AdvanceHE recording:

 Passcode: P+KGj98J

 And link to slides:

Report by Dr Helen Webster

NTFs and CATEs Annual Symposium (online)

NTFs and CATE winners, and those aspiring, and national leaders in Higher Education – come and join us at our 17th annual gathering for lively debate, collaboration and personal development organised by The Association of NTFs with CATEs, in collaboration with Advance HE.

Submissions are now warmly invited for our themes:

  • Excellence in 2020-21, How I got Mine – tips for a successful application in 2022
  • Building Sustainability into Higher Education (ANTF funded Project 2021)
  • Supporting Equality and Diversity (ANTF research and mentoring Project 2021)
  • Building your Career
  • Promoting Wellbeing and Resilience
  • Wildcard – any innovative ideas in learning and teaching.

Alternative Formats:

  • Live Presentation 30 minutes (20 min + Q+A)
  • Live In Conversation With, proposals to include an interviewer, an interviewee and topic for a 30 minute slot (20min + Q+A)
  • 5 minute pre recorded video presentation, with option for asynchronous chat room

Longer slots may be available upon request. Please provide copies of any slides for publication on the Association website ( and Connect. Please say if you would prefer not to be recorded during your presentation, this will not effect the consideration of your proposal.

Confirmed Content :

Keynotes as In Conversation With:

  • Professor Sally Everett ( Vice Dean Education & Prof of Business Education, Kings College) and co- leader of IN IT TOGETHER research & mentor ANTF Project.

Live sessions :

  • Strength in Collaboration from CATE-Net leaders Mark OHara & Angela O’Sullivan
  • The Professor in Preparation Group
  • Sustainability into the Curriculum by Nottingham Trent University
  • Using social media to build your networks and impact
  • Supporting EDI: latest research and the mentor scheme within NTF/CATE community, led by Profs Everett & Hejmadi
  • The Annual General Meeting of the Association of NTFs with CATEs, open to all

There will be arrangements for online social events for collaboration and networking with your colleagues in the NTF/CATE community and opportunity to discuss the work of the Association and get involved. We are very keen to publicise your pedagogic work.

Please provide an abstract (max 250 words) and one 120 character phrase fit for a tweet by noon Monday March 22nd to detailing your proposal, relevant conference theme/s and preferred format. Please include the status of any AdHE fellowship or other Excellence Award holders involved in presenting as we are especially keen to highlight the impact these.

Whether you can come or not, please tweet with the hashtag #ANTF2021 and Twitter name @NTF_Tweet to promote the work of your community and colleagues.

Thank you

We look forward to welcoming you online