Each HEA application requires a written commentary from two referees. The function of the reference is to provide a peer review of the applicant’s experience and to support and supplement the information given in their Account of Professional Practice. If possible, you should comment on the applicant’s most recent role and responsibilities. You should take time to read your colleague's account of professional practice before composing your reference.

For further information please see the following links from the Higher Education Academy:

Guidance notes for Associate Fellow applications
Guidance notes for Fellow applications
Guidance notes for Senior Fellow applications

Questions and Guidance

What should the reference contain?

You should provide a summary of the applicant's experience and achievements in teaching and learning. His/her research record should only be included insofar as this directly informs their teaching.

Base your reference on how the applicant meets the dimensions of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) (at Higher Education Academy) at the relevant descriptor level, using your knowledge of his/her work, professional practice in teaching and supporting learning and the context within which the applicant works.

Practical examples should be used to support your comments wherever possible. Any innovative practice, contribution to developments in teaching and learning and/or within the discipline in which the candidate is involved should also be included.

The Academy expects the core knowledge and professional values of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) (at Higher Education Academy) for teaching and supporting learning in higher education to underpin the practice of those recognised by the HEA. Please provide examples, where appropriate, of ways in which this underpinning is apparent in the account.

Is there a standard reference format?

There is no standard form for references; you may find it helpful to comment under the Dimensions of the UKPSF (at Higher Education Academy) identified in the application (e.g. within the Areas of Activity).

You should provide an electronic copy to the applicant and ensure that it includes your name, job title, organisation (including department where applicable) and email address. It is the applicant’s responsibility to collect the reference from you. The HEA recognises that this is a different kind of reference from one that is normally required for promotion or job appointment, as they are looking for evidence of commitment to and effectiveness of teaching and/or supporting learning rather than general academic achievement. The HEA may wish to contact you to clarify points in your reference.