PFHEA How will my application be evaluated?

Click the image below to view a diagram of the evaluation process for Principal Fellowship.

D4 Panel process - applicant version

Who will review my submission?

Your submission will be peer reviewed by senior SHU academics with significant teaching and learning experience at a specially constituted Principal Fellow recognition panel.

The panel will normally consist of four people, with a minimum of three.  All panel members are Senior Fellows and at least one will be a Principal Fellow. All panel members (internal assessors) will have undergone specific training on decision-making for Principal Fellowship. The panel will be chaired by an experienced panel chair from the central Learning Enhancement and Academic Development (LEAD) team, who will be responsible for safeguarding confidentiality and a fair process. The panel will include an External Assessor. 

How will my submission be evaluated?

Your submission will be read/seen by all panel members and will be allocated discussion time at the panel. The chair will ensure that considerations about a candidate beyond the content of a submission are excluded from discussion (e.g. personal knowledge of the individual). Submissions are therefore evaluated against the criteria in the UKPSF on the basis of what is presented only, including referee statements. The assessors will review your application looking for evidence that your approach to teaching/supporting and managing learning is grounded in an understanding of how learners develop knowledge and practice within your discipline or role. Your evidence should therefore be reflective, not just descriptive.  They will also look for indications of how you evaluate your effectiveness and how you develop your approach in the light of your experience and continuing professional development. A holistic approach to reviewing your application will be adopted and assessors will seek evidence from across your application. Panels are minuted by the TALENT Scheme Administrator.


You can be assured that there is a good understanding of the sensitive nature of making judgements on colleagues’ practice.  All the proceedings of recognition panels are confidential at all stages of the process.  A confidentiality statement is read out at the start of each panel, and members are asked to declare interests or line management relationships (in which case they may be recused from the decision-making on that applicant).

 Outcomes of the recognition panel

All decisions made by internal panels are provisional until ratified by the TALENT Board. Following the panel’s decision there will be one of two outcomes:

  1. Recognised: You have been recommended for the award of Principal Fellow. You will receive an email confirmation of the panel decision. You will receive written feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your submission.
  2. Refer: The panel feel that your submission does not meet the criteria for the descriptor claimed. In this case you will be given:

a)written feedback

b) the opportunity to meet with one of the panel members for more explanation and guidance

You may submit a new application after six months. However, if you have been advised to develop further evidence this may take considerably longer and you should not resubmit until you are confident that you have addressed the feedback.

If you resubmit and are again judged not to have met the descriptor criteria you will be given a conditional refer which, in addition to feedback, will set out a timescale and action plan for you to develop your profile appropriately. 

The process of making awards

Internal recognition panels will make decisions on individual applications. These will be passed on as recommendations to the TALENT Board. The purpose of the Board is not to evaluate individual submissions but to quality ensure the whole process. The Board is chaired by the Director of Learning and Teaching and includes one of the Associate Deans, the Professional Recognition Scheme Adviser and the Chief External Assessor (who is also a HEA Accreditor). The Board will receive reports from all recognition pathways in the TALENT framework, including taught courses such as the PGC for new lecturers. It will also consider appeals (see below).

As the Board meets less frequently than individual panels you may have to wait up to three months for a ratified decision; at this point you may use your post-nominal letters and claim your certificate from the HEA. Full instructions on doing this will be sent to you with the final outcome.

Appeals Process

Appeals must be made in writing to the Head of Academic Professional Development within 14 days of receiving the decision. Appeals may be made on procedural grounds and covering any part of the process. Contesting the decision is not grounds for appeal. Where an appeal is made the submission will go to external moderation. The appeal and the outcome will be overseen by the TALENT Awards Board.

Regular reports on the TALENT Recognition Scheme are received by the Academic Quality and Standards Committee (AQSEQ); furthermore it is subject to audit by the HEA which receives an annual report on its operation.