22 SES 01 D, Academic Work and Professional Development
With a surge in graduate schools within higher education institutions (HEIs) (for example Austin 2002) and graduates required to teach more frequently (Park & Ramos 2002; Park 2004) appropriate and rigorous training that equips graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) with the necessary skills set has become essential. This can be problematic as graduates in the UK will often engage with teaching as a means of securing financial support primarily and secondly to actually gain experience as teachers (Park 2004). Therefore GTAs can seem uninterested in the whole notion of preparation for teaching and its impact upon their already-limited time; engagement with academic practice programmes can seem of secondary or tertiary importance. There is also a narrow view of teaching amongst academics compared with that traditionally reserved for research with the added implication that teaching performance is often overlooked in favour of research productivity (Luft et al. 2004).
The Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice programme (GCAP) at King’s College London is designed to cater towards the learning and teaching needs of the postgraduate community, post docs and support staff across the College who are engaged with teaching. In 2005/6, the GCAP programme underwent major modifications with a view to improving the effectiveness of the programme in preparing GTAs as teachers of higher education. The central research question that was asked in this current study was: Has there been an overall impact of the modified version of the GCAP programme? The question is a particularly broad one to consider and encompassed sub-questions such as; has the behaviour of the students that have participated on the programme altered after having engaged with the programme? What are the benefits to the departments?
An impact evaluation on the GCAP was carried out, commencing in 2010. In previous impact evaluation research carried out by Stes et al. (2007), respondents were asked questions about what factors had obstructed or promoted change in their practice and a number of categories emerged: behavioural change, change in instructional conception and institutional impact; it was concluded that long-term impact of educational development programmes depended mainly upon contextual aspects, for example the enthusiasm of students and personal motivation. One of the few longer-term impact studies carried out on pedagogical training on teaching, was conducted by Postareff et al. (2008), and concluded that there was a visible difference between those interviewees that had undergone limited training compared to those that had undergone significant training. The impact was assessed through an ‘approaches to teaching inventory’ which measured both the approaches to teaching of the interviewees and their self-efficacy beliefs. It did not, however, measure the visible impact upon student learning. An interesting aspect about the Postareff et al study was that it involved quantitative data collection methods and analysis through the completion of approaches to teaching inventories. Similarly, a study conducted by Ebert-May et al. (2011) which principally focused on teaching observations and used these observations to detect impact, was conducted quantitatively using a five-point Likert scale of specific learning practice to calculate active-learning knowledge.
Austin, A.E. (2002), Preparing the next generation of faculty: graduate school as socialization to the academic career, The Journal of Higher Education, 73(1), 94-122 Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2007), Research Methods in Education, (6th Ed.), Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group Ebert-May, D., Derting, T.L., Hodder, J.L., Long, T.M. & Jardeleza, S.E. (2011), What we sat is not what we do: effective evaluation of faculty professional development programs, BioScience, 61(7), 550-558 Gordon, C. & Debus, R. (2002), Developing deep learning approaches and personal teaching efficacy within a pre-service teacher education context, British Journal of Educational Psychology, 72, 483-511 Kreber, C. & Brook P. (2001), Impact evaluation of educational development programmes, International Journal for Academic Development, 6(2), 96-108 Luft, J.A., Kurdziel, J.P., Roehrig, G. H. & Turner, J. (2004), Growing a garden without water: graduate teaching assistants in introductory science laboratories at a doctoral/research university, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41(3), 211-233 McGough, S. (2002), The future of political studies: graduate teaching in the new millennium. C-SAP Project 2001-2, University of Birmingham and UK Political Studies Association Meyers, S.A. & Prieto, L.R. (2000), Training in the teaching of psychology: what is done and examining the differences, Teaching of Psychology, 27(4), 258-261 Park, C. (2004), The graduate teaching assistant (GTA): lessons from North American experience, Teaching in Higher Education, 9(3), 349-361 Park, C. & Ramos, M. (2002), The donkey in the department? Insights into the graduate teaching assistant (GTA) experience in the UK, Journal of Graduate Education, 3, 47-53 Postareff, L., Lindblom-Ylänne, S. & Nevgi, A. (2008), A follow-up study of the effect of pedagogical training on teaching in higher education, Higher Education, 56, 29-43 Stes, A., Clement, M. & Van Petegem, P. (2007), The effectiveness of a faculty training programme: long-term and institutional impact, International Journal for Academic Development, 12(2), 99-109
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