The Anti-casualisation group was made aware of a scheme developed in the School of Engineering for post-doctoral researchers to gain teaching experience for which they are paid in the form of a travel grant, with extra funding for the award winner. This Trevithick Teaching Star Competition ran for the first time in the last academic year. We passed on members’ concerns about the principles and fairness of the scheme.
When the scheme was announced again this year, we met the new Head of School, Professor Jianzhong Wu, to reiterate our concerns and ask for teaching roles to be paid as a salary and not as a prize in the form of a travelling grant. Professor Wu acknowledged that the competition element of the scheme and its evaluation through student feedback could be problematic and is open to discuss a better solution with the union, although he commented that the School had received only positive feedback from those researchers who participated last year.
If any members of the School of Engineering are happy to discuss this with us, please let us know so that we can build a strong case for a fairer approach. If similar schemes are happening in other schools, please let us know.