Shining a light on ‘hidden heroes’

Author: Dr Julie Hulme (NTF 2016, Keele University, find her on Twitter @JulieH_Psyc)

During the COVID19 quarantine period, there’s been a lot of attention paid to the ‘hidden heroes’ who make our society function. Rounds of well-deserved applause for keyworkers, including those working within the NHS, but also carers, bin collection crews, cleaners, supermarket workers and delivery drivers have swept across the UK.

Within UK Higher Education, the highest accolades for recognition of educational excellence include the National Teaching Fellowships (NTFs) and Collaborative And Team Excellence (CATE) awards co-ordinated by Advance HE. The proudest moment in my career to date was standing on the stage at Merchant Taylor’s Hall in London, nervously receiving my NTF award.

But what happens next? The applause settles, the ecstatic award winners travel home, and those excellent teachers return to their day jobs. We carry on, making a difference every day to our students and our colleagues, impacting on the sector, often in quiet ways that may not be noticed. Some of us remain the spotlight – we all know some NTFs and CATE winners who inspire us at conferences, on Twitter, and through high profile papers. But some are hidden heroes, those who are more humble and less noticeable, and as a community (the Association of NTFs and CATE, ANTF), we are keen to shine a light on these people, and their work. We benefit collectively from hearing about their work and their ideas.

The Committee of ANTF, then, would love to hear from YOU! Can you write us a blog? Can we share your event via our social media channels? Can we help you to disseminate your work to a wider audience? We’d love to raise the profile of you and your colleagues, to increase the impact you can have and help you make a bigger difference. We’re especially excited to share the work of our newest NTF and CATE winners! (Congratulations again!).

If you’d like to know more, or to submit a blog post for consideration, please email me. If you have something you’d like us to promote, please fill in the google form here. And if you would like to give a shout out to a ‘hidden hero’ of higher education, tag them and us in a tweet (find us on @NTF_Tweet), and we’ll retweet to shine a light on a new source of inspiration for the community. And please do encourage those quieter souls to get in touch with us too – we’re keen to support everyone to contribute to the community.