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Postgraduate Teaching Assistance (roles available to PG research and others)

Please note: due to the changes in Postgraduate Teaching brought about by the introduction of GTA contracts, much of the information on these pages is out of date. We are working to update these pages with the correct details and will inform students of available positions by email in the meantime. Questions about teaching should be directed to the Postgraduate Programmes Officer, Tom Freeman (Thomas.G.Freeman@warwick.ac.uk) for the time being.

Department of Psychology implementation of the University of Warwick Policy on the Employment of Postgraduates Who Teach1

September 2016

The University and Department are committed to fair recognition of the work of postgraduates (PG) who teach and fair selection to teaching roles in the provision of an excellent student experience for undergraduate and taught Master's students.

Roles of Academic Staff

The Postgraduate Teaching Assistant Co-ordinator (currently Dr James Adelman) is responsible for implementing and monitoring policies on Postgraduates Who Teach (PGWT), as they relate to allocation, selection, training, and recognition and ensuring best practice in supporting PGWT.

The Postgraduate Teaching Mentor (currently Dr Elisabeth Blagrove) is available to PGWT to advise on teaching issues, to discuss teaching-related problems and to provide feedback. However, it is expected that more specific advice on individual teaching assignments should be sought from the academic responsible (AR) for the particular class, in the first instance.

Definition of Roles of Postgraduates Who Teach

We understand that precise and accurate description of roles is important, in terms of expertise required, skills practiced, and commitment to class time, preparation and/or marking. We will endeavour, in the specific role description, to make it clear how roles are similar/different in these terms, and document how hours paid for (or credited for scholarships) relate to different types of activity.

In addition to explicitly mentioned responsibilities in the specific role description, it is always expected that the role may involve assisting the AR by performing minor incidental duties (e.g., distributing papers in class, taking notes, recording attendance, and so on). Any express mention of these activities does not imply other roles do not have these duties, but rather emphasises their importance, and where the AR is not present, implies a pro-active duty to ensure this activity occurs.

Training

All new PG research students from 2016/17 will undertake a general training course organised by the Learning and Development Centre in collaboration with the Department. This (or equivalent training) is compulsory for any PG research student undertaking 20 or more hours of teaching. For the purposes of selection, it will be assumed that this training will have taken place before teaching begins (offers of teaching roles will be conditional on this). This training is part of the skills training for PG research students, and is not considered part of any particular paid role.

Where specific training is part of the necessary preparation to teach in a particular class, this will be acknowledged in the “ preparation” portion of the paid or scholarship hours. All roles will involve some preparation, appropriate to the role, but the magnitude will vary (widely) depending on the demands of the particular role; this will be documented as part of the specific role description.

Advertising

Roles that are not allocated as part of a departmental scholarship (please see below) will be open for application to all research students. A specific mailing will be made to the psych-postgrads e-mail list to advertise when roles are made available.

Allocation and Selection

In the first instance, roles will be divided between departmental scholarship allocation and those advertised-for-selection, with a view to maximising teaching quality and value-for-money to the department.

Allocation of roles among scholarship students will be made to optimize teaching quality, on the basis of information already available (i.e., regarding experience and skills).

Remaining roles will be advertised to all PG research students. There will be a written application (with CV) for all roles. To minimise the onerousness of applications, where a clear decision as to the most suitable applicant can be made on written applications alone, this will be done. Otherwise, the department may convene interviews or conduct further tests (as appropriate to the role), to determine the most suitable applicant.

Teaching as a Condition of Scholarships

Research students in receipt of a departmental scholarship (i.e., a scholarship not supported directly by an externally-funded grant, doctoral training centre or similar) are expected to complete a pre-determined number of teaching hours. Allocation of these teaching hours is at the discretion of the department and scholarship students are expected to be available if allocated during normal teaching hours (9am-6pm, Monday-Friday) on dates during Terms 1, 2, and 3.

Exceptions to these hours should be sought before the process of allocation begins (i.e., by the end of July) and will be acceptable only for (a) research reasons relating to the research degree, or (b) as part of an agreed appropriate adjustment for a disability (or similar statutory reason). Examples of acceptable research reasons include: one-term research visit to another institution; a school or clinic has agreed to provide access to a special population only on specific dates/times.

Creation and Editing of Materials

Roles available in the Department of Psychology to teachers without PhDs do not normally entail the creation or editing of materials (except, in some cases, model answers). While some constructive input may be valued, generally PGWT should expect to use materials provided by the academic responsible.

Under certain circumstances, where PG research students desire additional professional experience, AR may agree to review new or revised materials prepared by a postgraduate teacher, but in this case: (a) the AR will only permit these to be used if they are satisfied as to the standard, (b) the AR may insist that the original materials they provide must be used instead; and (c) this will be considered part of postgraduate training, not a necessary part of the role. Thus, no payment will be made for such optional hours.

Marking

Marking of and feedback on submitted work is only part of the role if this is expressly mentioned in the specific role description.

The University operates a policy that feedback should be returned to students within four weeks. Allowing time for instructions and moderation, this means that there will be typically a three-week window in which a marking assignment must be completed. If a specific assignment requires a more rapid turn-around, this will be noted in the specific role description.

Where marks contribute to the overall mark for the module formally, marks and other feedback must always be returned to the AR for moderation.

Consultation should be made with the AR (if necessary) to determine if other forms of feedback on submitted work are subject to prior review by the AR before to dissemination to students.



1 The University’s ‘Policy on the Employment of Postgraduates Who Teach’was reviewed by the Board of Graduate Studies, the Board of Undergraduate Studies, and Academic Quality and Standards Committee in 2014/15 and approved by the Senate on 29 June 2015.