Professional Standards Framework

Mentor, Reviewer and Referee roles

Mentors, Reviewers and Referees all contribute to our Professional Standards Framework, by supporting applicants on their Fellowship journey and these colleagues are valued for their experience, wise judgement, advice and feedback, as well as for their time and commitment to the development of others in their professional practice.

Who takes on these roles? Colleagues - just like you - who will have many other commitments, challenges and workloads to manage, and will therefore appreciate that if any arrangements are made for meetings or if you have agreed time-scales for carrying out tasks, these are adhered to where possible. 


Being a Fellowship Mentee

As you start your HEA Fellowship journey, your School/Faculty Lead will allocate a BCU colleague to act as your Mentor. This colleague will have Fellowship recognition and have knowledge and experience of teaching and learning in higher education, the UKPSF and the BCU Fellowship scheme. You will have opportunities to meet with your Mentor to discuss your progress, and your Mentor will offer practical advice and be an independent voice while developing your application. Once you have been allocated a Mentor, you should contact them as soon as possible to arrange an initial meeting. Your School/Faculty may use an alternative model to this; you may be invited to join other colleagues as part of a peer mentoring support group, where this is available or provided with details to find a suitable Mentor yourself.

Mentoring should provide an opportunity to discuss plans and expectations; generally, a Mentor will offer advice to the Mentee throughout the application process and discuss evidence, development and presentation, of the application.

Please remember that your Mentor is a colleague who - like you - will have many other commitments, challenges and workloads to manage, and takes on this role in a voluntary capacity, to support others in their professional development. Your Mentor will therefore appreciate that if any meeting arrangements are made or if you have agreed any completion dates for tasks, that these are adhered to where possible.

The overall time commitment available from your Mentor may vary, but would likely be at least three hours over the whole period you are working towards recognition. Together you will discuss the Mentor-Mentee agreement that will work for you both, identifying specific meeting times and tasks; in most cases this would include reviewing one written draft of your application, as the application nears completion. This Mentor-Mentee agreement ends once you have submitted your application.

If the decision from the Review Panel is that your application is a Refer, you will be provided with feedback from the Panel and may then consult your School/Faculty Lead (or line manager, if appropriate) prior to re-submission.

Being a Fellowship Mentor

The role of Mentor for a colleague applying for HEA Fellowship is to provide opportunities to discuss their progress, answer questions around the UKPSF requirements and the BCU scheme, and offer practical advice and an independent voice while developing their application. This is a valuable role, where your knowledge and experience of both teaching and learning and of UKPSF will greatly contribute to the applicant’s success. The time commitment to fulfil the role may vary, but this would likely be at least three hours while the candidate is working towards recognition. As the role is voluntary, if you are unsure of your capacity to take on the role, you are encouraged to discuss this with your line manager, as mentoring time may be included in your WAM.

As a Fellowship Mentor you would be expected to:

  • Be an HEA Fellow, Senior Fellow or Principle Fellow
  • Be familiar with the BCU PSF scheme and keep up to date with any changes made to the UKPSF
  • Advise the School/Faculty Lead of your availability to mentor candidates
  • Be aware of opportunities to attend mentor training and on-going CPD opportunities
  • Meet with your Mentee (or contribute to group mentoring) and co-develop an agreement of how the relationship will best work in terms of timings, meetings and how the time will be used most effectively
  • Encourage the Mentee to discuss any areas of concern at an early stage
  • Be a source of support for the candidate in terms of identifying evidence and reflecting on the impact of their own academic practice
  • Provide feedback and guidance on the application and comment on the readiness to submit

Mentoring on the BCU PSF scheme may be quite different from other mentor experiences, such as mentoring a new employee or career mentoring, as the Mentor-Mentee agreement is for a specific time period and task; the agreement ends once the candidate has submitted their application.

If the candidate’s application is a Refer, the candidate will be provided with feedback from the Review Panel and can consult with the School/Faculty Lead prior to a re-submission; there is no on-going support expected from the Mentor.

Becoming a mentor

If you would like to become a Mentor, please speak to your School/Faculty Lead, who will be able to answer any further questions and advise you on the any training opportunities for PSF mentoring, and let you know when you would likely be allocated a Mentee.

If you wish to further develop your mentoring skills, EDS will shortly be offering a SEDA accredited Mentoring course and will advise Mentors when this is available.


Applications on the experiential route of our scheme are reviewed by panels of experienced colleagues, from another School. Some panels comprise both internal and external colleagues, as part of our Quality Assurance processes. 

All applications are considered by reviewers in relation to the UKPSF Dimensions and the Descriptor criteria for the relevant category. The process is that judgements made by the panel are recorded on the appropriate reviewer forms for the category, along with any feedback to applicants, and applicants are then notified of the decisions by the PSF team.

AdvanceHE receive notification of all successful Awards and send an email to new Fellows, explaining how to access your certificate of Fellowship recognition.

There are Reviewer guidance notes available for each category of Fellowship and Reviewers are directed to these at each review cycle. This provides information on what to consider when making judgements, how to complete the form - as Award, ‘Award pending conditions’ (APC) or Refer - and comments/feedback on the application. If APC is the outcome, candidates are expected to have a discussion with at least one of the reviewers to address this; this is explained in the Candidate Support Packs.

If you have not met the criteria, the reviewers will judge this as a Refer and you will be offered feedback on your application. You should then consult with your Faculty Lead to decide on the best way forward and aim to re-submit at the next opportunity.

Can I become a Mentor and/or a Reviewer?
Yes please! We are always keen to welcome colleagues who have Fellowship (of any category) into our mentor and/or reviewer pool.

If you would like to take on one of these roles, please speak to your School/Faculty Lead, who will advise on the next opportunity to join our community and advise on any training available.


You will require two Referees to support your application and these are to be submitted along with your application. Referees should be in a position to offer a review of your experience, the activities and achievements you discuss in your application, and be able to comment on your most recent roles and responsibilities.

Please approach your preferred Referees early on in the process, so that they are aware of your intended submission date and expected date of receiving your application; this will also allow time for referees to familiarise themselves with the Referee Statement and Guidance documents.

Referee Statement and Guidance documents: