Experience of teaching is invaluable for research staff who hope to secure a permanent academic post. Its importance has been increasing in recent years. University teaching is now assessed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). If you are applying for a post which involves lecturing and tutoring, you will have to satisfy the interviewers that you have the capability to teach to a high standard.
Whether or not you intend to apply for an academic post, experience of teaching can be a valuable addition to your CV. It provides useful transferable skills, such as oral communication, visual presentation of material, time management, planning and organisation.
As a member of research staff you are most likely to be involved in:
The following pages provide general information and links to help you access the huge amount of guidance, advice and support that is available to new teachers.
The Higher Education Academy (HEA) is the professional body for teachers in Higher Education. It provides an extensive online resources centre covering aspects of teaching, learning and assessment. It also hosts a large number of discipline-specific resources.
Encouragement to teach
The 2005 European Charter and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers states that teaching is a valuable activity for researchers to be involved in. It is important that teaching loads should not be excessive and that training is provided.
Researchers who are funded by Research Council grants are encouraged to teach as long as they do not teach for more than six hours per week. This includes time for preparation, marking and training.
Training to teach
The QAA requires that all lecturers, research staff, postgraduate researchers and part-time teachers receive a minimum level of training and support for their teaching role.
All universities run workshops and courses on teaching, learning and assessment. Your line manager and your Staff Development Unit will be able to advise on which workshops or courses you need to attend in order to be able to teach in your institution.
All universities now offer, or give their staff access to, HEA-accredited courses on learning and teaching practice. New lecturing staff are usually required to obtain a certificate from an HEA-accredited course as part of their training. Research staff are often eligible to enrol if they fulfil the application criteria.
Some examples of Postgraduate Certificates in Learning and Teaching or Academic Practice are:
- Leeds Metropolitan University Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education
- Birmingham City University Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
- University of Warwick Postgraduate Certificate in Academic and Professional Practice
- University of Sheffield M.Ed in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Some universities also offer specific certificates for research staff or postgraduate researchers who teach.
Accreditation and recognition
Research staff who teach are eligible for Associate Membership of the HEA if they meet Level 1 of the Professional Standards framework. Membership is granted to individuals that have either completed an HEA-accredited course at their own institution or who are accepted via the HEA recognition scheme.
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