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Bristol academic becomes Principal Fellow of Higher Education Academy

Gaston Fornes, Senior Teaching Fellow in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

28 March 2017

Gaston Fornes, Senior Teaching Fellow in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies is the second academic from the University of Bristol to gain recognition as a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

This highly respected accomplishment was granted based on the impact Gaston Fornes has made not just within his commitments to teaching and learning at the University of Bristol but beyond the institution.

Amongst other projects, Gaston was involved in the initiation, implementation and leadership of an initiative known as Engaged Learning. This means that students (both UG and PG) get credits for the work they do with local organisations (SMEs or NGOs) which at the same time is part of the assessment strategy of different units. The assessment is carried out in groups and takes the form of a business plan. It is developed in a real local organisation and as a result of this experience students gain new skills and also community partners can develop new strategies for their organisations.

This initiative received the Highly Commended University of Bristol Engagement Award in 2016 and it has been included by the University as one of the exemplars of excellence in engagement and impact; it has also been mentioned as an example of good practice in the HEFCE-sponsored report on Public Engagement and Higher Education. Gaston’s strategic influence on the design of course units compliments his achievements beyond the University of Bristol, mainly in Spain and China.

Principal Fellowship is increasingly sought by employers across the education sector as an important indicator that institutions are fully aligned with the UK Professional Standards Framework (a general description of the main dimensions of the roles of teaching and support learning within the HE environment.) It is a badge of assured quality throughout institutions.

Gaston Fornes joins Professor Sarah Baillie from the School of Veterinary Sciences who became the University of Bristol's first Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2014.

Further information

University of Bristol staff wishing to seek and work towards Higher Education Academy Fellowships should contact Academic Staff Development on to enrol on the appropriate level of CREATE as the way to gain these fellowships. Fellowships awarded against the sector standard the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) and are recognised within the UK and increasingly internationally. 

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