As postgraduate education officer, I work to represent the academic interests of all postgraduates here at UEA, and this includes challenging UEA when we think that something needs to change or could be done better.
This blog is about the Developing Teaching Skills (DTS) Programme. For any of you that haven’t heard of this before, it is a face-to-face programme that trains and supports postgraduate research students who are also teaching. UEA have proposed to discontinue the face-to-face training by September 2019 and instead want to put in its place an online training scheme, leaving PGRs extremely under-supported. A lot of PGR students are unhappy about this, and our undergraduate representatives at Union Council were equally concerned about the impact this could have. So, we will be working with the university to help improve this training provision.
Face-to-face training for PGRs is so important because it gives them a much better quality of training than they would get with an online system that requires little engagement. We believe that if PGR’s are teaching students face-to-face, then they should get face-to-face training to ensure that their teaching is of a high quality.
Our Union Council at uea(su) has passed a policy allowing me to pursue this as we look to retain DTS provisions, or to at least provide an equivalent alternative for the next academic year. Students are at the heart of what we do, and therefore we want to work with UEA to expand and improve training provisions for PGRs rather than reduce them, and this is something that myself and Undergraduate Education Officer Jenna Chapman will look to improve for the future.
The petition to prevent UEA from making these changes already has over 300 signatures and we are looking forward to working alongside UEA to ensure that DTS continues after this year and that it will be successful in improving training.
The university has already begun work on this and they are currently identifying possible solutions. This is a perfect example of how change can be made when we work together to represent your academic interests. I encourage all students to think about their university experience and to question the way their institution delivers their education if they think that something could be improved. If any of you would like to chat to me about this further, or about anything else PG-related, then please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you about how we can improve training provisions, so why not pop into Union House for a chat if you’d like to discuss this.