Professor Liz Austen

Could you tell us about your contribution, Liz?Prof. Liz Austen

I’ve been awarded the title of Professor of Higher Education Evaluation. I achieved my outstanding contribution in Teaching and Learning and Academic Citizenship and Leadership. My significant contribution was in External and Professional Engagement.

I’m particularly proud of achieving this recognition whilst employed within professional services. My evidence of impact was related to student experience and student outcomes, but often at a distance from delivery and practice. It made the connection to aspects in the Academic Careers Framework difficult at times, but I’ve been committed to evaluation throughout my career, which gave me a wealth of evidence to submit alongside my narrative.

I also drew upon my extensive teaching and learning related outputs and income I’ve generated for Hallam via external project work and consultancy. I evidenced my impact on institutional strategy, building capacity in others, and the wider Higher Education sector. I was encouraged to gain recognition as a Principal Fellow HEA before embarking on a professorial application, and this helped both the writing and impact aspects.

What does it mean personally to you to be a professor at Hallam?

I’m incredibly proud to be a professor with a unique focus on evaluation in Higher Education, and it’s taken a while for the recognition to sink in. I owe a lot to the amazing support I have had from colleagues at Hallam and in the sector.

Tell us a bit about your career story so far.

I’ve always worked in Higher Education. Initially, I followed a very traditional path – BA – MA – PhD and started my first role as a lecturer in 2006. After working my way up to Principal Lecturer, I decided to leave my role in a department and move into a central team. I wanted to find out more about institutional strategy, priorities, and the processes that I was being asked to implement. Working in STEER (Student Engagement, Evaluation and Research) and most recently leading the Evaluation and Research portfolio, widened my understanding of the impact of teaching and learning, whilst cementing my commitment to evidence informed practice. I will always be a social science researcher at heart.

If you could go back in time and give yourself some career advice, what would it be?

I would probably plan a bit more. I have tended to embark on new projects and roles because I was interested in them, but very much when the opportunities arose. Only recently did I start to be more strategic and plan to fill gaps in my experience and knowledge aligned to the Academic Careers Framework.

What’s next? How do you want to further develop your contribution?

I occupied a unique position, as a leader who had presence in a wide range of institutional, cross-institution and cross-sector spaces. I wanted to obtain status as Professor of Higher Education Evaluation as recognition of my impact in a complex, challenging, and less visible area of HE policy and practice. I would like to continue to develop my sector influence whilst also inspiring others in similar roles to reach for reward and recognition in teaching and learning. I’ve also just moved role and will now be Associate Dean Teaching and Learning in the College of Social Studies and Arts. Obtaining the Professorship gave me both confidence and visibility which has contributed to this progression.