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

Employment of Postgraduates Who Teach1

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. The university policy can be found here

Academic Staff

The Postgraduate Teaching Mentor (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 for the particular class, in the first instance.

Roles and Applications

In 20/21 the University has introduced the GTA system for postgraduate teaching roles. This means that the application process and job adverts have changed, and follow a template laid out by HR. 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 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 academic responsible in 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 academic is not present, implies a pro-active duty to ensure this activity occurs. Subject-specific knowledge is should be inferred from the Module Outlines and the resources on Moodle, but will be included on the the job description.

Hours

As part of the change to GTA, there has been a change in how contracts are set up, and how the hours are shown. A GTA contract will be would offer you a minimum of 20 hours and covers a period of 2 years or until you graduate. The GTA contract must have at least 20 hours, but it could be that there are 20 hours in the first term and less in term 2 or 3 of that year.

The hours for each post are are made up of contact time with students, preparation time and, for some posts, marking time. For each post each will differ. Adverts may state that there is more than one possible post for the role. Where this is the case the advert will indicate how this can be split between applicants. If an applicant is happy to cover more than one post, they should state this in the application.

UG Timetables can be found at https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/psych/students/ug/ PGT timetables are under the relevant course page at https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/psych/students/ 

Please note, in 20/21, due the university's blended learning approach, some posts will involve face to face teaching, and others online teaching. Please check the advert carefully and ensure that you can do what the role requires.

Advertising

Roles will be advertised through the GTA site https://warwick.ac.uk/services/humanresources/vacancies/students Roles are open to all research students. A specific mailing may be made to the psych-postgrads e-mail list to advertise when roles are made available.

Training

All new PG research students from 2016/17 will undertake a training course organised by the Academic Development Centre in collaboration with the Department. This (or equivalent training) is compulsory for any PG research student undertaking teaching of 20 or more hours. Student who have undertaken or are undertaking this training should make this clear in their application. Offers of teaching roles will be conditional on completion of this training. New students who may wish to teach are encouraged to undertake this and to get in contact with the Postgraduate Teaching Mentor. 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 role. 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.

Allocation and Selection

Under the GTA rules, for any students not previously employed by the department, we must convene interviews or conduct further tests (as appropriate to the role), to determine the most suitable applicant.

Please note that, as the GTA contract can cover 2 years, we cannot guarantee that the same position will be available in both years, or that the hours will remain the same, and posts will be created and allocated according to departmental need and financial sign off.

Before any work can be undertaken the Right to Work in UK must be checked. This will be done by HR and you will be contacted by them if offered a post.

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, academic responsible may agree to review new or revised materials prepared by a postgraduate teacher, but in this case: (a) the academic will only permit these to be used if they are satisfied as to the standard, (b) the academic 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. There are some positions where a more rapid turn around is required e.g. for a formative piece of work that feeds into a summative submission. 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 academic responsible for moderation.

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

Useful Links

  • Academic Development Centre teaching training course can be accessed here This (or equivalent training) is compulsory for any PG research student undertaking teaching
  • GTA website (adverts) can be accessed here
  • Postgraduate Teaching Mentor: Dr Liz Blagrove E.L.Blagrove@warwick.ac.uk