Outline for National Learning & Teaching Symposium
With an exodus of baby boomer academics on the horizon, the lack of preparedness of many early career academics to teach suggests the possibility of a teaching quality time-bomb—our future faculty may have minimal skills and experience in teaching, with few teaching mentors from whom to learn, and serious implications for their teaching self-efficacy.
Not all doctoral students want to pursue academic careers, but those that do are facing unprecedented pressures to generate research outcomes, and even to minimise their teaching experiences. Despite this pressure, large numbers of PhD students do teach during their studies, often without any support or teaching development. Little wonder that doctoral candidates have been described as the ‘most disempowered constituents in the academy’ (Prasad, 2013).
The symposium brings together doctoral students, researchers, PhD supervisors, academic developers, early-career academics, and senior leaders of the Academy with an interest in this important area. We are pleased to welcome you to QUT, and very grateful to Professor Suzi Vaughan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) and Associate Professor Amanda Gudmundsson, Assistant Dean Learning and Teaching, QUT Business School for their support for the symposium.
There is growing interest in the role of the PhD, both in Australia and internationally. The Office for Learning and Teaching have recently announced that the Contemporary PhD is a priority area for research, and Professor Probert’s new discussion paper on the role of the PhD in becoming a university teacher was published this month (http://www.olt.gov.au/resource-becoming-university-teacher-role-phd-2014). We hope that the symposium will be an opportunity to reflect on the challenges facing our sector in relation to the Australian PhD experience, to share good practice, listen to doctoral student voices, and to build an agenda for future focus.
Associate Professor Abby Cathcart
Program Director (Teaching Advantage)
Queensland University of Technology