National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) and Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE)


In 2021 the university entered The National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) Scheme and the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) for the first time. 

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) and the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) are organised and run by Advance HE (formerly the Higher Education Academy) since 2000 (NTFS) and 2016 (CATE) respectively.  

The NTF Scheme celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in Higher Education (HE). The Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) recognises and rewards collaborative work that has had a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning and highlights the key role of teamwork in higher education. 

The NTFS and CATE are amongst the highest profile awards in the UK sector for innovation and practice in Higher Education learning and teaching. The awards are highly competitive with only a relatively small number of colleagues and teams from across the sector being awarded a NTF or CATE each year. Under the NTFS and CATE regulations, the university is allowed to put forward up to three nominations for the NTFS and one nomination for CATE for consideration each year.

In 2021 the LTA coordinated an internal selection and submission process which saw three colleagues chosen as nominees for the NTFS and one team for the CATE. In 2021 the university nominees won in both the NTFS and a CATE, the only institution in Scotland to win awards in both categories. Lois Gray, a lecturer and academic lead developer for engineering based at North Highland College UHI, was named as a National Teaching Fellow and the university's Applied Music Team winning a collaborative award for teaching excellence.   

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Call for 2022 Nominees

The NTFS (for individuals) and CATE (for teams) are open to colleagues in any role and at any level in the institution who have made a significant contribution to student learning and outcomes and can demonstrate its impact above and beyond their immediate context. As well as staff who are directly responsible for the design and delivery of higher education learning and teaching, these awards are open to staff supporting or leading the development of higher education learning and teaching (including through staff development) and supporting wider aspects of the higher education student experience (e.g. through learning technology, information literacy, or learning development).

  • Colleagues who are interested in submitting a proposal of interest for the NTFs must be a Fellow (any category) of the HEA from Advance HE or be working towards Fellowship.
  • For teams interested in submitting a proposal of interest for the CATE, the team leader must not have an active application for NTFS running at the same time as an application for CATE. Staff members of the team must be a Fellow (any category) of the HEA from Advance HE or be working towards Fellowship.

Individuals and/or teams at the university who meet the above, and who feel they may meet the criteria for NTFS or CATE, are encouraged to submit a proposal of interest form to be considered as nominees for the next submission to the Advance HE NTFS or CATE panels.  Interested colleagues should download and complete the ‘Proposal of Interest’ form for either the NTFS or CATE from the LTA NTFS/CATE Webpage, and submit it no later than Friday 1 October to  

Proposals of interest will be considered by an internal selection panel on Friday 8 October (tbc) with outcomes communicated to colleagues the week beginning the 11 October.  Submission deadlines for 2021 have yet to be released by Advance HE but are expected to be similar to the 2021 deadline which was March.  The colleagues selected to submit for the NTFS and the one team selected to submit for the CATE will be supported through application writing workshops and mentoring through the ‘Professional Recognition’ strand of the University Mentoring Scheme.  In addition to internal support, Advance HE offer written guidance and members of the Association of National Teaching Fellows (ANTF) run a series of regional and online support workshops for nominees, which are free to attend.

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2021 Nominees

2021 Nominees

Lois Gray, Lecturer and Academic Lead Developer (Engineering), North Highland College UHI

A photo of Lois Gray

"For me, being chosen as a National Teaching Fellowship nominee, is exciting and an honour, and marks the culmination of more than a decade of academic leadership. During this time I have strived to inspire a new generation of innovative engineers who will contribute to solving today’s world’s problems – climate change, famine, poverty, pandemics, and whatever else the future holds. I have always been passionate about inclusion and have tried to attract those who might not normally study engineering – remote learners, females, non-academics, life-long learners – by offering flexible courses, adopting new pedagogies, experimenting, reflecting on successes and remedying failures, and, essentially, delivering the best higher education I can, to as varied a cohort as possible. I see this nomination as a fantastic opportunity to review my achievements, and, if selected, to share with, and learn from, other practitioners of excellence."

Leah Macaden, Senior Lecturer in Nursing and Lead for Internationalisation, Executive Office UHI – Department of Nursing

A photo of Leah Macaden

“I am really delighted that the university have entered the National teaching Fellowship (NTF) Scheme for the first time this year as part of the Learning & Teaching Academy’s vision and strategy to expand the range of opportunities for professional recognition towards teaching and learning in higher education. NTF is one of the highest profile awards in the UK sector for innovation and practice in Higher Education learning and teaching. I feel very privileged to have been chosen as one of three nominees from this first cohort at UHI to be entered for The NTF Scheme. The processes for NTF nomination at UHI and the support from LTA have been well designed including dedicated mentoring from a highly experienced and senior NTF. The process to submit expressions of interest are closely aligned to the national process. I would encourage and recommend colleagues to pursue this opportunity that will now become available annually. Personally, I believe this is a great initiative to enhance staff development that will also raise the profile of the Department of Nursing & Midwifery nationally and the high quality of higher education and student experience that we provide at University of the Highlands & Islands”.

Wendy Maltinsky, Psychology Lecturer, Inverness College UHI

A photo of Wendy Maltinsky

“I was honoured to be selected as an NTF nominee. The nomination alone has been important to me as recognition by the institution of my value as a lecturer. I have sought to provide a high quality and meaningful learning experience for my students using a range of modalities to do so and to share my enthusiasm amongst colleagues in different institutions and globally.”

The Applied Music Team, Lews Castle College UHI

A photo of the applied music team

“The Applied Music team are delighted to be the CATE nominee – it is a great opportunity to spend some time reflecting together on our many successes since our team formed in 2012. The process has helped us to focus on our innovation in teaching a highly practical subject to students based across the country (and beyond), the ways in which we support our students to succeed, and the impact of this on the wider field of music education.”

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2021 Winners

2021 Winners

We are delighted to announce that Lois Gray as a National Teaching Fellow (NTF) and the university's Applied Music Team has won a collaborative award for teaching excellence (CATE).

Professor Todd Walker, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: "I am delighted that Lois and the applied music team have been recognised in these prestigious national awards. This is the first year we have entered, thanks to the coordination and support of our Learning and Teaching Academy, and we've been told it is exceptional to have been successful in both categories. The awards are held in high regard in the sector and demonstrate our commitment to excellence in learning and teaching. It's fantastic to be commended for the impact our colleagues are having on our students."

Lois said: "I am delighted and honoured to receive this national teaching fellowship award. With teaching being such a fulfilling occupation, I feel gratified to find that the work I do naturally to prompt my hard-working students to give their best is worthy of such a prestigious award. I couldn't have achieved this without the support of my colleagues who have embraced my sometimes rather speculative ideas and strived to make my programmes as inclusive, attractive and rewarding as possible. This award will allow me to share my ideals and scaffold my aims to provide a new work-related degree for those who deserve, but may have previously lacked opportunity, thus preparing the next generation of engineers for the fourth industrial revolution."

Anna-Wendy Stevenson, programme leader for the university's BA (Hons) applied music degree, said: "Collaboration is central to all our lives - as educators and members of society - and is a core skill within our subject area of music. It is wonderful to celebrate our work with the prestigious collaborative award for teaching excellence and have our team recognised for their passion in developing and connecting the many communities we serve through higher education."
Alison Johns, chief executive of Advance HE, added: "I am delighted to congratulate the 2021 NTFS and CATE awardees on their achievements. This year marks the 1000th national teaching fellowship award. Over the years, each and every NTF has made an impact on the sector - both on the students they teach and on their fellow teaching staff who look to them for inspiration and guidance.

"It's also very gratifying to see the quality of teamwork represented this year - the CATE awards really have become part of the sector landscape. Teamwork has been especially important in the past year with the challenges for teaching and learning as a result of social distancing and in the autumn we will publish case studies highlighting this excellent collaborative effort. I am sure that institutions will value these examples as we start to return to the best of in-person teaching complemented by excellent online delivery.

"Well done to each and every awardee on this outstanding achievement."

Alex Walker, Professional Development and Recognition Lead LTA has written this blog to celebrate all the university nominees and wins.

A full list of winners can be found on the Advance HE webpages. 

NTFs and CATE briefing sessions

Colleagues interested in exploring NTFs and CATE are invited to join an introduction webinar which will explore the criteria for NTFs and CATE so that colleagues can consider submitting a proposal of interest to become a nominee for future rounds of the awards.  The webinar will also provide information on how colleagues should gather evidence of ‘impact’, ‘value’ and ‘reach’ against the criteria.

Dates can be found on the LTA events and webinars listing.

Please contact Alex Walker in the LTA for any further information