Principal Fellowship

Whilst Sheffield Hallam is not accredited to award Principal Fellowship through our internal scheme, we do provide a range of support and resources for applicants making a direct submission to Advance HE for this category of fellowship.

What support is available?

The primary support mode for this category of fellowship is via 1:1 ‘at elbow’ guidance, mentoring and peer support.

  • Initially we advise a broad conversation with someone from the TALENT Scheme regarding what is involved in applying for the scheme, the kinds of evidence Advance HE reviewers will be looking for and how to begin preparing a submission. This can be followed up with further tutorials or attendance at our internal writing retreats, as requested.
  • In addition, there is the Hallam S/PFHEA Network  through which you can access mentoring from our own Hallam Principal Fellows as well as occasional group events led by a variety of internal and external speakers.
  • We also have an informal buddying system where those who express an interest, can be paired with others who are in the process of preparing their submissions, for mutual support and advice.
  • Finally, Advance HE run regular development events and writing retreats (note: attendance fees may apply).   We recommend joining the Advance HE Connect Group Aspiring Principal Fellows network to be notified of these opportunities. We will also circulate details of events we are made aware of.

Please contact us at: with any queries.

Do I have the right profile and experience to apply successfully?

The overarching requirement is that the Principal Fellow candidate:
‘demonstrates a sustained record of effective strategic leadership in academic practice and academic development as a key contribution to high quality student learning’

You will be highly experienced, with wide-ranging strategic leadership responsibilities in connection with key aspects of teaching and supporting learning and be able to provide evidence of a sustained and effective record of impact at a strategic level in relation to teaching and learning, as part of a wider commitment to academic practice. This may be within your institution or wider (inter)national settings.

Typically, those likely to be eligible to apply for Principal Fellowship are:

  • highly experienced and/or senior staff with wide-ranging academic or academic-related strategic leadership responsibilities in connection with key aspects of teaching and supporting learning;
  • staff responsible for institutional strategic leadership and policymaking in the area of teaching and learning;
  • staff who have strategic impact and influence in relation to teaching and learning that extends beyond their own institution.

Principal Fellows will be expected to show significant and strategic impact on student learning. This should be sustained, with evidence from different settings over time. Appropriate candidates are likely to be operating in institutional/national/international/professional body spheres and influencing at a senior level. Evidence of effecting change in learning and teaching is likely to be in arenas such as policy, strategy, or show significant impact on professional/disciplinary qualifications or practice. The applicant’s practice should be underpinned by significant scholarship and evidence, and may involve research, publication or similar dissemination. There should thus be evidence of a relevant external profile.

The Professional Standards Framework Criteria for Principal Fellow are:
  • D4.1 Active commitment to and championing of all Dimensions of the Framework, through work with students and staff, and in institutional development
  • D4.2 Successful, strategic leadership to enhance student learning, with a particular, but not necessarily exclusive, focus on enhancing teaching quality in institutional, and/or (inter)national settings
  • D4.3 Establishing effective organisational policies and/or strategies for supporting and promoting others (e.g. through mentoring, coaching) high quality teaching and support for learning
  • D4.4 Championing, within institutional and/or wider settings, an integrated approach to academic practice (incorporating, for example, teaching, learning, research, scholarship, administration etc.)
  • D4.5 A sustained and successful commitment to, and engagement in, continuing professional development related to academic, institutional and/or other professional practices
How do I get started?
Application Fee

The cost of making a direct PFHEA application to Advance HE is £550 which is payable by your Dept/College.  Please contact us at for more information on the payment process.

Advance HE also offer  Principal Fellow Writing Retreats.  There is a fee to attend these which would be payable by your Dept/College.


Advance HE Principal Fellow Guidance & Application Resources (PSF 2011) 

Advance HE Promoting teaching: Benchmarking guide 

Useful tips/advice from the PFHEA Global Network (Aspiring PFHEA event – 28 May 2021)

PFHEA Deck – a series of cards for individual reflection, group discussions or mentor support (developed by Nottingham Trent University)

Meet Sheffield Hallam’s newest Principal Fellow! (December 2022)