A CHESTER lecturer has made academic history after becoming a National Teaching Fellow 17 years after her father was awarded the same honour.

In 2000, Prof Mick Healey was among the first people to become a National Teaching Fellow under the Higher Education Academy’s National Teaching Fellowship Scheme Awards, the most prestigious individual award for excellence in teaching in higher education.

Prof Healey, then a geography lecturer but who now works as a higher education consultant and researcher, attended the ceremony along with his wife Chris and daughters Lauren and Ruth, who was then 17.

Now, Dr Ruth Healey has been revealed as one of the 55 people who this year will receive a National Teaching Fellowship from the HEA.

It is the first time since the inauguration of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme Awards that a child has followed in a parent’s footsteps and become a National Teaching Fellow, hence Prof Healey and Dr Healey’s place in academic history.

“I did feel slightly shaky when I heard the news,” said Dr Healey, senior lecturer in human geography at the University of Chester where she has worked since 2009.

“This is the most significant award in teaching and learning in UK higher education, and one I’ve been aware of before I even started my undergraduate degree. I had said to my dad that it would be really nice, because of the 17-year symmetry, if my application were to be successful this year, but I didn’t really expect it to happen the first time as the process of becoming a NTF is so challenging.

“I didn’t know that we were the first parent/child to do it. I suppose, with the next generation coming through, that things like this might occur as children follow in the footsteps of a parent career-wise.”

This year had already proved to be quite a year for the Healey family. In July, father and daughter gave a joint keynote presentation and facilitated a workshop together at Writtle University College’s annual Learning and Teaching Conference, an occasion given added poignancy by the fact that Prof Healey’s own father (and Ruth’s grandfather), Austin Healey, was once the institution’s vice-principal.

“The National Teaching Fellowship award changed my life,” said Prof Healey.

“I’d go as far as saying that I wouldn’t be doing what I am today if I had not received it. It would be wonderful if it could have a similar impact on Ruth’s future career path.

“Ruth is well ahead of me in that she’s received her NTF at an age when she’s almost 17 years younger than I was when I got mine. I’m extremely proud of her, as indeed any parent would be, but being a National Teaching Fellow myself makes it that extra bit special.”