Postgraduates who teach: a forgotten tribe? Not here!

Heather McKiggan-Fee, Lorraine Walsh, Bonnie Hacking, Gavin Ballantyne


The recent NUS Survey on postgraduates involved in teaching noted that 4 out of 5 respondents said they had received some form of induction training prior to them starting to teach (2013: 24). Around three quarters of these postgraduates found the training to be either useful or very useful; and so postgraduate teachers are not necessarily a ‘forgotten tribe’. However, what have been the lessons learned for the support of new teachers as a result of the inclusion of this ‘tribe’ within the broader academy? This case study of practice identifies the approach taken at one Scottish north-east institution and the establishment of a two-module credit bearing development programme for postgraduate tutors and demonstrators. It reflects the voices of two members of the module team, a previous external examiner, and a previous participant. This triangulation of views provides the context for an examination of issues concerning the creation of spaces for engagement; the concept of an optimum intervention period for initial professional development as university teachers; and the challenges of delivery of such programmes.

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