Doctoral Students who teach

Policy:

The School aims to be fully compliant with the University’s “Doctoral Students Who Teach” policy which came in to effect in September 2017.  This document aims to provide additional School-level guidance on how to implement the policy and must be read alongside the published policy.

The “Application Instructions” and “Postgraduate Teaching: Expectations & Responsibilities” are compulsory. A School-specific version of the latter is provided in Medhandbook.

The “School Induction Checklist”, “Module Description” or “Teaching Feedback Prompts” are optional tools that can be used as/when required

Scope of Duties:

Permission from the Director of Teaching (DoT) must be sought for doctoral students to teach or mark at the 3000 and 4000 level, or the Dean (via the DoT) if they are to teach or mark at 5000 level. The DoT and/or Dean will consider the nature of the teaching and may subsequently place requirements on the suitability of the proposed doctoral students.

 

Doctoral students may occasionally include experienced teachers who are working towards additional qualifications (e.g. an MD). Whilst permission in these cases may be viewed as a formality, it must still be requested.

 Limits on Teaching Time:

Should a supervisor have any concerns over the workload of a doctoral student, they should raise them with the student and DoT. The Director of Postgraduate Studies (DoPGR) may independently raise concerns over teaching responsibilities if there issues with the doctoral student’s progression.

 Selection Process:

Module Controllers must be consulted by academic members of staff leading the session if doctoral teachers are required. When possible, all teaching opportunities should be advertised in advance in conjunction with the “Application Instructions” template.

The School does not have a set list of criteria for selecting doctoral teachers and allocating duties, as these are specific to the role. Responsibility for defining these criteria lies with the Module Controller or academic member of staff leading the session for which doctoral students are required. Criteria should ensure any applicant is clear of any expectations or skills required.

Time allocated to teaching should factor in preparation time as well as the face-to-face teaching (e.g. 2 hours preparation time, 1 hour teaching for a total of 3 hours). The Module Controller or academic member of staff leading the session must ensure this breakdown is recorded on the student’s timesheet, as well as the total hours worked.

In some occasions (e.g. due to illness), last-minute use of appropriately experienced doctoral students may be required. In these circumstances, advertising is not required if suitable doctoral students have been identified. Please inform the DoT if such last-minute utilisation is required.

Opportunities may be advertised outside of the School, but responsibility for ensuring the policy is adhered to remains with Medicine.

 

 Initial training:

The University and School advertises the opportunities for doctoral students to engage with the required mandatory training sessions. It is the responsibility of the Module Controller or academic member of staff leading the session to check that students have completed the training before they are engaged to teach. This includes students from outside of the School of Medicine.

Whilst doctoral students may include experienced and qualified teachers, only CAPOD can exempt students from requiring to complete the mandatory sessions.

 A local School Induction will be provided by the DoT at least once an academic year. Outside of these inductions, it is the responsibility of the Module Controller or academic member of staff leading the session to ensure the students receive a copy of the School-specific “Postgraduate Teaching within the School of Medicine: Expectations and Responsibilities” document.

A teaching-element specific induction or training session must be provided by the academic member of staff leading or a similarly experienced teacher.

 Ongoing Support:

School Mentor: All doctoral students who teach must have a recognised mentor to support them in their teaching. Within the School, this will normally be either the Module Controller or the individual academic leading the teaching session. If you are unclear who should act as mentor, please contact the DoT.

Support for Marking: Doctoral students who have been approved to undertake marking must have their marking supervised by the Module Controller. The Module Controller must clearly communicate to the DoT (a) what weighting of material assessed by the doctoral student and (b) what form of second marking/moderation is being employed. The policy provides examples of the forms of “marking practical” that would be suitable in training students in advance of marking any coursework or assessments, and the School would be satisfied with any of these methods.

Monitoring performance:

As per the policy, “[i]f postgraduate teachers work with groups of students without an academic staff member present (e.g. leading tutorials), they must undergo at least one teaching observation session during their first semester of teaching.” This teaching observation may be by their mentor, or may be another experienced member of staff. If there is a difficulty in identifying a suitable member of staff then please contact the DoT.

Written feedback to all doctoral students at the end of a semester from their mentor is compulsory, regardless of whether teaching has been directly observed or not. If the mentor did not directly observe the teaching then feedback should be provided on the aspects they did observe or have evidence of, and constructive suggestions for future teaching should be provided. For example, mentors might give feedback on how the student prepared for the teaching, or provide constructive feedback based on the student’s reflections during a de-brief session. Mentors may utilise feedback from the class or colleagues (particularly if the mentor hasn’t been the member of staff directly observing the teaching). In some situations, feedback may also be generic (e.g. if several students were utilised in a teaching session and feedback can be provided that would be useful to all).

Regardless of previous experience, all doctoral students who teach must be provided with written feedback.

Evaluation by Postgraduate Teachers

Module Controllers must invite doctoral students who have taught on their modules to provide feedback on what they have taught. This can be via email or in person, individually or as a group if appropriate.

The DoPGR will invite feedback from doctoral students who have taught relating to the support and development they have received in their teaching role.