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Student and teacher: PhD life

By Shazmeen Maroof - Posted on 3 December 2020

Shazmeen Maroof  is a PhD student in the Department of Economics. Over the past five years at the University of Strathclyde, she has tutored various courses within the Economics and Work, Employment and Organisation departments. Here she explains more about teaching as part of her PhD life.

I have recently passed my viva exam subject to minor corrections. Over the past five years at the University of Strathclyde Business School, I have tutored various courses within the Economics, and Work, Employment and Organisation department on courses such as Macroeconomics III, Introduction to Economics, and Managing in a Global Context.

As my ambition is to have a career within academia, it is important for my professional development to learn more about teaching so I can continue to improve as I progress. As part of this, I have attended various teaching workshops which have provided me with useful insights into classroom management and some teaching techniques. I have recently received the status of Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA) in recognition of attainment against the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and learning support in higher education.

The Researcher Development Programme (RDP) team at the University of Strathclyde has supported my application for AFHEA. All PGR students with at least one semester of relevant teaching activity are eligible to put forward their application for the experimental pathway of HEA Associate Fellow. The application consists of submitting an account of professional practice plus two statements from referees. 

The RDP team ran an information session covering the process and timelines for the AFHEA application. Interested applicants were then enrolled in a dedicated peer network to provide continuous support and feedback on their applications. Applicants are expected to show an understanding of specific aspects of effective teaching, learning support methods and student learning and demonstrate successful engagement with, for example, the two aspects I opted for: designing and planning learning activities; and teaching and support learning.

I wrote a 700 words essay for each of the activities where I demonstrated: 1) successful engagement in appropriate teaching and practices related to these areas of activity, 2) appropriate core knowledge and understanding of the subject material and appropriate methods for teaching and, 3) learning and assessing in the subject area and at the level of the academic programme as well as relevant professional practices, subject and pedagogic research and/or scholarship within the two activities.

I attended four half-day writing sessions with some network/collaboration time. Each session provided me with the opportunity to review the application of other tutors from different departments, giving and receiving feedback, talking and supporting each other, and learn about other support available through the University. It not only provided me with useful insights on the tutoring approaches of other departments and tutors but also helped me to reflect on my teaching practices and to think about the ways I should construct my classroom.

It was an excellent experience being part of the training programme as I have received prompt and constructive feedback from my peers as well as the mentor, Gabrielle Milson. More importantly, it provided me with the motivation to read about the general and discipline-specific pedagogical literature. It also helped me in thinking about my teaching philosophy, reflecting on my teaching style and learning about some teaching techniques used in other departments. I have received my certificate for the AFHEA and the title of AFHEA Fellow. It has definitely boosted my confidence as a tutor, and I have also managed to put another solid skill on my CV.

I would strongly recommend all PGR students who teach to put forward an application for the AFHEA in order to magnify the recognition of their professional career and to calibrate their teaching methods with up-to-date research on the quality-enhanced approaches.

To find out more about doing a PhD at Strathclyde Business School, please click here



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