Background

Many researchers will apply for academic posts over the course of their careers. However, those who have trained at research institutions often lack knowledge of how university teaching works. In addition to lectures, teaching requires other tasks that may be unfamiliar to pure researchers. The Teaching Mentorship Programme (TMP) was created to fill this gap in the training of researchers who might be interested in pursuing academic careers.

 

The main objective of the TMP is to equip young post-doctoral researchers at the PRBB with the basic knowledge and skills needed to teach at the university level. This will enhance their career prospects at academic institutions worldwide.

 

The TMP will improve mentees’ skills with regard to the following aspects of teaching:

- Identification of the essential knowledge to be transmitted to students.

- Elaboration of curricula and syllabi for specific subjects.

- Definition of educational objectives and professional competences.

- Identification of the relevant literature and information resources for students.

- Knowledge of teaching methods: lectures, seminars, problem-based learning, laboratory practicals, etc.

- Student evaluation and assessment.

- The value of teaching in scientific research.

- Innovation in higher education.

 

Institutional objectives of the TMP

The main objectives of the TMP for the DCEXS are:

• To provide a training programme aimed at postdoctoral researchers seeking to develop teaching skills in health and life sciences.

• To foster a new generation of researchers with experience in teaching.

• To share resources, assistance and know-how with this new generation of educators.

• To forge a novel cooperative link between UPF and the other research institutions at the PRBB.

 

The role of the mentor

The mentors will coordinate the subjects in which the mentees will carry out their training. They will be experienced members of the DCEXS faculty and will provide the mentees with professional and personal guidance in the preparation and execution of their teaching tasks.

 

The mentors will assume their roles as part of their teaching responsibilities. The main duty of the mentor is to guide the mentee in the different teaching activities. He or she will supervise and support the mentee, including through activities such as discussions, attending and providing feedback on the mentee’s lectures, etc. The mentor is both a guide and a friendly critic. At the same time, he or she must promote innovative thinking to prepare the next generation of academics.

 

Mutual expectations, timetables  and responsibilities will be agreed at the outset of the programme. The mentor will ensure that there are clear objectives to be achieved and a clear plan for achieving them throughout the process.

 

The mentees’ participation in teaching duties will have no impact on the capacity of the DCEXS’s teaching units, i.e. no changes will be made to the allocation of resources as a result of the TMP.

 

The mentee as teacher-to-be

Mentees should be postdoctoral researchers seeking to gain teaching experience through supervised hands-on work. The mentorship will match experienced mentors with highly motivated mentees, in order to provide the latter with intellectual guidance and supervision.

 

The mentees will be responsible for the assigned tasks and are expected to understand their importance for the university.

 

The mentee’s inclusion in teaching tasks will be recognized through the issue by UPF of an official “Academic Collaborator” certificate.

 

Application Process

The mentees will be chosen based on their applications for the open call to be published by the DCEXS. The application process will be reviewed yearly. The following process will be used the first year of the TMP:

 

Applications should be sent to the TMP coordinator ([email protected]) by 10 June 2017. They should include: (i) the candidate’s CV, specifically stating any teaching experience; (ii) a brief statement of interests, suggesting areas of expertise in which the candidate could be involved and explaining his or her reasons for applying  to the TMP; and (iii) a letter of recommendation from the head of the research unit with which the candidate is affiliated attesting to his or her availability to participate in the TMP.

 

The successful candidates will be chosen by a committee appointed by the DCEXS, based on their suitability for the programme. Once the selection process has been completed, each mentee will be assigned to a mentor. The mentee will then have to send a description of his or her teaching skills, curricular background and portfolio to the mentor to provide him or her with a broad understanding of the mentee’s background. Prospective candidates are encouraged to contact DCEXS faculty members before applying.

 

The successful candidates will be notified of their admission to the TMP by 30 June 2017.

 

Academic structure of the TMP

The TMP includes a variety of activities to equip mentees with the basics of learning and teaching at higher education institutions. The core activity is the hands-on work to be performed under the guidance of the mentors. The activities will last two years. 

 

Practical activities (25 h total, approximately 12/13h per year) will include:

  • Lectures (suggested minimum of two 45 min-1h lectures)

  • Seminars (suggested minimum of 6h)

  • Laboratory courses (suggested minimum of 8h)

  • Other activities, to be specified by the mentor: attendance of lectures; preparation of materials for practicals; preparation, supervision and marking of exams; etc.

  • Attendance of one student tutoring meeting (at least 1h)

  • Attendance of problem-based learning (PBL) tutorials (those mentees interested in the PBL methodology will have the opportunity to attend PBL tutorials in subjects such as Integrated Medicine and Biomedicine) 

 

Seminars on teaching and learning in higher education (two 1h-seminars per year).

Seminar 1. When teaching and learning are oxymoronic: avoiding this unpleasant outcome

Seminar 2. Education is also a science: the logic of setting educational objectives, defining competences and skills, and building subjects and curricula

Seminar 3. There is intelligent life beyond lectures: teaching mature and competent people

Seminar 4. Science only exists if you can measure it: the principles and practice of assessment and evaluation in teaching

 

The mentees will be assigned to teaching units in the Human Biology, Medicine and Biomedical Engineering programmes, as well as in the master’s degree programmes in Bioinformatics, Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industry, Biomedical Research, Clinical Analysis Laboratory, Public Health, and Brain and Cognition. They will be able to choose whether they wish to participate in subjects taught in English or in Spanish and/or Catalan (see Appendix 1 for a list of the mentors and subjects offered in the TMP).

The mentees’ teaching duties will last for a period of two academic years. 

 

Evaluation

Mentee assessment

The mentees will be assessed based on a brief teaching portfolio. This portfolio will include brief reports by the mentee on his or her teaching experience written at the end of the first year and upon conclusion of the programme, as well as a brief report by the mentor on the mentee’s performance.

The TMP coordination committee will use this information to assess the mentee’s performance. 

 

Mentor assessment

Mentees will write a brief report on their mentors. Mentors will be assessed by the TMP committee based on the mentees’ reports (and a short conversation with the mentees, where applicable).

Institutional assessment

The programme will be assessed by the TMP coordination committee based on the following indicators:

- Success of the TMP call

- Mentee satisfaction with the TMP

- Mentor satisfaction with the TMP

- Mentees’ TMP learning outcomes


Appendix 1. List of subjects and mentors offered in the TMP pilot programme