Developing Teaching Skills is training for postgraduate researchers who might be required by their department to undertake this before they start teaching as an Associate Tutor. In order to achieve efficiencies, a proposal to move the course to online provision instead was considered by the university, working with external consultants. Students approached the SU because of concerns about the course being discontinued.
Associate Tutors play an important part in the life of our university and they need to be supported to ensure they fulfil their role as best as possible. The Director of Doctoral College supports this by saying:
“The University greatly values the contribution that Associate Tutors make to the teaching and learning of students on our taught programs and wants to make sure that ATs have access to appropriate training to support them in their role. This needs to include a straightforward route that allows ATs to achieve Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.”
Surya Simon, a key student in mobilizing Associate Tutors to submit testimonials in order to save the course, stated herself that “I try to imagine a scenario where DTS is completely online and I am confident that the course would be dry and I wouldn’t take back much, and by this, I mean knowledge and wisdom that goes beyond words on paper or screen. I believe this is because the interactive sessions where each of us present, teach, learn, reflect, and share our diverse teaching experiences build a community of aspiring teachers.”
One testimony from Elizabeth Morgan (PPL) said that she “would urge the university to change their mind about making the DTS module an online course. The module has been one of the best teaching experiences I have ever had, not just at UEA but in my whole experience of higher education...”
The SU has worked in partnership with students and UEA staff to resolve this UEA-wide issue and after detailed discussions around PGR training, we have finally made some progress in securing the DTS provision.
“UEA always values student feedback, but a strong student voice is especially important in cases like this. I’m glad that provision of training broadly in line with the current Developing Teaching Skills model will be able to continue.” PVC Academic, Neil Ward
DTS is only one issue in the light of a much larger AT rights campaign which we are focusing on this year. Our desire to improve current training provision does not stop here, and we would like to meet with training conductors and Decolonise UEA Society to develop sessions on teaching Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students.
If this sounds like something you feel passionate about or if you would like to work on student issues in general, then maybe an officer role is for you! Nominations for officer roles are still open, and you can read my election blog here.