PhD students holding a Formación de Profesorado Universitario (University Teacher Training or FPU) grant from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness have to participate in teaching tasks as part of their PhD training. In addition to lecturing, teaching requires other tasks that may be unfamiliar to pure researchers. The Teacher Training Programme (TTP) for PhD Students was created to meet this requirement.

The main objective of the TTP is to equip PhD students at the DCEXS with the basic knowledge and skills needed for teaching at the university level. This will enhance their career prospects at academic institutions worldwide.
The TTP will improve PhD students’ skills with regard to the following aspects of teaching:

  • Identification of the essential knowledge to be transmitted to students.
  • Preparation 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: problem-based learning, laboratory practicals and active learning methods.
  • Student evaluation and assessment.
  • The value of teaching in scientific research
  • Innovation in higher education

Participating PhD students will be responsible for the assigned tasks and are expected to understand their importance for the university. The PhD student’s participation in the teaching tasks will be recognized through the issue by UPF of an official “Academic Collaborator ” certificate.

 

Objectives

  • To provide a training programme aimed at DCEXS PhD students holding FPU grants.
  • 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 its associated research institutions.

The role of the mentor

The mentors will coordinate the subjects in which the participating PhD students will carry out their training. They will be experienced members of the DCEXS faculty and will provide the PhD students 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 will be to guide the PhD student in the different teaching activities and to 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 PhD students’ 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 TTP.

 

Application process

Interested PhD students holding an FPU grant should apply to the open call to be published by the DCEXS for the TTP. The application process will be reviewed yearly. The following process will be used the first year of the TTP:

Applications should be sent to [email protected] by 4 March 2016. They should include: (i) a brief statement of interest in applying to the TTP, and (ii) a letter from the candidate’s PhD supervisor/director agreeing to his or her participation in the TTP.

The successful candidates will be chosen by a committee appointed by the DCEXS. Once the selection has been made, each PhD student will be assigned to a mentor. The PhD students will then have to send their curriculum and a description of their teaching experience to their mentors to provide them with a broad understanding of their background. The successful candidates will be notified of their admission to the TTP by 10 March 2016. The date of the next call will be announced shortly.

 

Academic structure of the TTP

The TTP includes a variety of activities to equip the PhD students 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 three years.

Practical activities will include:

  • Laboratory courses and problem-based learning tutorials (30 h minimum per year)
  • 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)

Seminars about teaching and learning in higher education (1h seminar during the first 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 participating PhD students 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 for Health Sciences, Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industry, Biomedical Research, Clinical Laboratory Analysis, 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. The PhD students’ teaching duties will last for a period of three academic years.

 

Assessment

PhD student assessment

The PhD students will be assessed based on a brief report on their teaching experience to be written at the end of each year in the context of the annual report for their grants and upon completion of the programme, as well as a brief report by their mentor on the PhD student’s performance.

The TTP coordination committee will use this information to assess the PhD student’s performance.

Mentor assessment

The PhD students will write a brief report on their mentors. The mentors will be assessed by the TTP committee based on the PhD students’ reports (and a short conversation with them, where applicable).

Institutional assessment

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

  • Success of the TTP call
  • PhD student satisfaction with the TTP
  • Mentor satisfaction with the TTP
  • PhD students’ TTP learning outcomes