University of Derby Dean of Students to receive prestigious National Teaching Fellowship award

5 August 2019

Fiona Shelton, the University of Derby’s Dean of Students, is to receive a National Teaching Fellowship – the most prestigious individual award in higher education.

Fiona, who began her career in higher education in 2003, has been awarded the accolade in recognition of her contribution to teaching excellence at the University.

The Advance HE National Teaching Fellowship scheme has been running since 2000. On gaining the award, fellows play an ongoing role in enhancing teaching and learning within their institution, the higher education sector and further afield.

Fiona, who is also Head of the University’s Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), joins five of her University of Derby colleagues who already hold National Teaching Fellowships:

Fiona joined the University of Derby as a senior lecturer in Initial Teacher Education (ITE), having spent ten years as a primary school teacher in the city.

She went on to lead the ITE programme, during which time Ofsted rated it as outstanding for its primary and further education provision.

As Head of CELT, Fiona has led the development of Derby’s Student Experience Framework and introduced initiatives such as the International Travel Awards, which enable students to apply for fully-funded trips to places such as New York, Budapest and Iceland to help broaden their horizons.

Fiona said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive the Fellowship because it is a recognition of my commitment to education, but also of how the University encourages and promotes teaching excellence and how it is improving the educational experience for all of our students.

”At the heart of my approach, and my doctoral research, is the idea and importance of stories in helping people to understand themselves and the world around them.

“Stories have a powerful transformative effect on the education and lives of people who create and hear them. By engaging with the stories told here every day about learning, teaching and the experience of being at university, we can continually refine and enhance what we do for the benefit of our students.” 

Professor Malcolm Todd, Provost (Academic) of the University of Derby, said: “This is a huge honour for Fiona and the University of Derby, and one that is richly deserved for the work she has done to make Derby’s name synonymous with teaching excellence.”

The University of Derby is a TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) Gold institution, and won the national Teaching and Learning Strategy of the Year Award at the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards in 2018. It was ranked 13th in the UK for its teaching quality in the 2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

Find out more about the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at the University of Derby or visit 

The Fellowship Award will be presented at Advance HE’s Teaching Excellence Awards ceremony in Manchester in October.

For the full list of National Teaching Fellowship Awards, visit the Advance HE website.


Fiona Shelton, Dean of Students at the University of Derby, delivering a lecture
Fiona Shelton, Dean of Students at the University of Derby

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