P9 - Sharing Best Practice: Academic Development Opportunities for PhD Researchers at Ulster University

Day Day 1
Session Poster presentation
Start time 18:10
Code P9

Vicky Davies, Lecturer in Higher Education Practice, University of Ulster


At Ulster, PhD Researchers teaching and/or supporting learning are professionals with an important role in institutional academic excellence. Postgraduate Teaching Assistants (PgTAs) are colleagues who need appropriate professional support to develop their skills at Ulster and beyond. The Centre for Higher Education Research & Practice (CHERP) and the Doctoral College provide the bespoke First Steps to Teaching (FST)  PgTA programme, accredited by Advance HE at UKPSF Descriptor 1 (AFHEA), and underpinned by an institutional Code of Practice defining expectations of and responsibilities towards such colleagues. To date FST has awarded over 250 HEA Associate Fellowships.

Development of PgTA employability skills is key: nationally, over 40% of PhD Researchers seek an HE career (PRES, 2018).  At Ulster, 80% received formal teaching development and 57% had teaching opportunities, well above national averages. A recent survey shows that FST not only supports Ulster PgTAs, but is often instrumental in securing subsequent academic employment.