C7 - Enhancing Graduate Students’ Teaching Skills and Academic Employability

Day 2 at 11:10 - Enhancing Graduate Students’ Teaching Skills and Academic Employability
Day Day 2
Session C
Start time 11.10
Room London
Doctoral Researchers
Code C7

Dr Alex Standen, Senior Teaching Fellow, University College London

Dr Karen Clegg Head of Research Excellence TrainingUniversity of York

Workshop overview: 

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) are key to undergraduate teaching in higher education, yet they can feel under-prepared for starting to teach and insufficiently supported in their early teaching encounters. In the context of TEF and with more and more institutions examining how they ensure quality of teaching this workshop explores the use of different intervention to equip and support GTAs in their role to serve the undergraduate student experience and to develop their own academic career. It will consider a number of models for working with GTAs to enhance their teaching skills and academic employability and offer participants the chance to put themselves in the GTAs’ place, prompting reflection on the most effective ways of supporting them in individuals’ own contexts.

  • A team of academic developers from across London universities have developed a series of scenarios for teaching to aid the development of GTAs. A range of scenario formats were developed which can be used for discussion in both face-to-face and online contexts as well as a tool for reflective practice. The project was supported by a SEDA grant. 
  • The 'York Learning and Teaching Award (YLTA) is now in its 10th year. Accredited by the Higher Education Academy PGR students who successfully complete the programme gain Associate Fellowship status, of which there are now over 200 alumni who have the opportunity to contribute to the programme. The programme helps PGRs to support UG teaching and, critically, helps them develop as professional practitioners and enhance their chances of securing an academic post. All students are supported by an academic 'mentor' who supports their academic practice. Delivery of the programme is intensive both for students and the team but the results are good; we have a high proportion of PGRs going into HE teaching roles and high student satisfaction around the support they receive for teaching. One of the main challenges is how to sustain this intensive model with limited resource and increased numbers.

Workshop topics covered: 

  • Supporting Graduate Teaching Assistants with teaching responsibilities 
  • Using academic mentors to support professional practice and career development
  • Using scenarios to enhance teaching practice

Themes covered: 

  • Leadership development of early career researchers
  • Researcher development within doctoral programmes, including doctoral training centres/ partnerships, Innovative Training Networks (ITNs) and other cohort based models
  • Policy and practice in building capacity in research informed teaching

Workshop outcomes: 

By the end of the workshop, participants will have an opportunity to: 

  • explore the advantages and disadvantages of accredited models of support for GTAs
  • explore the use of teaching scenarios (e.g. video, online, face to face) as a tool for supporting teaching skills and challenging assumptions 
  • write a teaching statement and review skills in relation to an academic role
  • consider how well they know the UK Professional Standards Framework (& does it matter?)
  • reflect on their own academic practice and the support provided for GTAs at their own institutions and what they can learn from the models and tools presented. 


Group discussions and plenary sessions.