University of Essex takes action to support postgraduates who teach


University of Essex takes action to support postgraduates who teach

The National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College Union have welcomed the University of Essex’s decision to take a stand on improving working conditions and boosting training opportunities for postgraduates who teach.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex Professor Anthony Forster said: No other university is going quite as far as us and we believe our approach is sector leading. At the heart of what we are doing is making sure postgraduate students who teach at Essex are highly valued, appropriately supported and fairly paid.”

Sorana Vieru, NUS Vice President (Higher Education), praised the strategic changes being made: NUS commends the work that Essex are doing to support their postgraduate teachers. We hope that their sector-leading practice is taken up by other institutions and that Essex continues to work directly with students to develop a thriving and inclusive academic environment for doctoral students to teach and research in.

Since NUS published the first national survey of postgraduates who teach, we have seen many institutions begin to improve their practice. As Essex has found, when institutions actually talk to their teaching assistants and hear about the struggles they face, there is a realisation that failure to support postgraduate staff benefits no one.”

UCU President at the University of Essex Dr Chris Fox added: UCU were closely involved in the consultation over improvement of Greaduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) terms and conditions. We are happy to have helped improve clarity concerning the rate of pay for GTAs, calculation of paid hours based on standard grades, payment for mandatory training, and other crucial issues.”

More details