e-Tutor vacancies – open to UoM PhDs

mlplecture2We’re currently recruiting PhDs to tutor on our undergraduate “Manchester Leadership Programme” (MLP) in the coming academic year. These vacancies are aimed at PhDs who already have some experience of teaching and assessing, preferably at university undergraduate level.

If you have an interest in

  • sustainability in its broadest sense, whether economic, environmental or social
  • the challenges which leaders face today in all kinds of organisations
  • teaching and supporting undergraduates, using online discussions and face-to-face contact
  • taking part in novel assessment and teaching methods
  • hearing leaders from all sectors (charities, public sector, business, academia) talk about their experiences

then this could be for you.

The e-tutor roles take up an average of 5 hours a week but can vary quite widely with peaks coming at assessment time. You are paid at the GTA rate, and we specifically recruit PhDs for these roles as you generally need to be trained and ready to go before the start of the autumn term and be available for the full academic year, including attending scheduled MLP lectures (so wouldn’t suit most Masters). You do need to be a University of Manchester current student to apply for these roles as you’ll need to be able to access our Blackboard and other online resources.

What you need to know
Details of programme, the work, the hours, the pay etc and how to apply are in this pdf. The closing date is noon, 15th August.

Tutoring experience – makes your CV stand out
These are interesting, challenging and rewarding teaching posts for PhDs, and are excellent experience for anyone wanting some great examples of communication skills for their CV, and particularly for aspiring academics.

I was delighted when one of our first e-Tutors landed a Lectureship straight after graduating from her PhD (completed part-time over 6 years). Her MLP e-Tutor work not only helped fund her PhD, but also gave her some really innovative teaching experience.

Here are four more experiences of being an MLP e-tutor from a couple of years ago. Some of these MLP tutors have now moved on in their academic careers.

  • Siobhan McGrath – now a lecturer at the Environment Centre, Lancaster University
  • Kirsty Jenkins – PhD researcher, Classics
  • Rebecca Pohl – PhD researcher, English and American studies
  • Ann Rowan – now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Glaciology, Aberystwyth University

Siobhan McGrath (formerly IDPM)
“As a PhD student, I had the opportunity to run tutorial sessions for students at the Master’s Degree level. As I began to consider the option of becoming a lecturer after finishing my doctorate, I thought that I should get more teaching experience. In particular, I wanted the chance to participate substantively in marking assignments. In terms of my CV and my confidence in performing this task, working as a tutor on the MLP served me well. I also learned about how teaching undergraduates does and does not differ from teaching postgrads.

More importantly, I learned how rewarding teaching can be. I thought that there would be aspects I enjoyed about it, but I enjoyed it more than I expected to. As an MLP tutor, I had the chance to engage with a diverse group of students. I worked on helping them with their academic skills, but I also got to see many of them become more sure of themselves and more passionate about the issues raised in the MLP course throughout the semester. Being able to help students who were unsure of expressing themselves, but had a lot to contribute, was one aspect that stood out for me.

I now have a temporary position as a lecturer here at the University of Manchester and I see my tutoring experience with the MLP as one of the stepping stones towards reaching this position.”

Kirsty Jenkins (Classics)
“I’ve tutored on the online unit of MLP for the past three semesters and have found it challenging, fun and interesting. Challenging because online tutoring involves a completely different way of interacting with students and course material. Fun because no two groups are the same and there’s always something new happening, and interesting because the concept of universities giving something back to the local area is new and exciting, and the course material engaging. From tutoring on the MLP online unit; I have gained a wider outlook on life, have enhanced my tutoring abilities and developed new ones, and have had a lot of fun.”

Rebecca Pohl (English and American Studies)
“Working as an eTutor for the MLP is a challenging and extremely rewarding task. It is challenging because the teaching methods are unconventional, because as an eTutor you are faced with a highly interdisciplinary and intercultural group and it is your job to guide students through a module that is new in form and content to them. All these points, however, are also what makes etutoring so rewarding – initiating, contributing and guiding discussions about topical issues that are directly relevant to students’ lives and futures demands insight, understanding and focus. The online discussions will also inevitably lead to a learning process on the part of the eTutor herself as her own preconceptions and disciplinary boundaries are challenged and stretched and horizons are broadened on the part of students and tutors. The online discussions are forums where ideas can be discussed, productively debated and constructively critiqued as well as an ideal place for the application of theoretic al concepts to more concrete issues.

More specifically, in terms of development for postgraduate students, the interdisciplinarity of the programme, an increasingly important factor in the research community, enables eTutors to develop transferable skills in terms of communicating and sharpening positions, both through identifying gaps in student responses but also by taking on board student positions. The leadership focus of the programme engenders self reflection with regard to teaching practice which leads to a constant reassessment and in consequence improvement of these practices, particularly in a non-classroom environment.”

Ann Rowan (formerly Geoscience)
“I have really enjoyed being a MLP etutor; it has given me a chance to focus on a subject area completely different to my research. This has not only made a welcome break but I also learnt as much if not more than the MLP students about 21st Century leadership, teaching throws up lots of interesting questions that I would not otherwise have considered. Much of what I have learnt is relevant to any discipline and I think will be very useful in any future career. I have also developed my teaching experience far beyond being a teaching assistant in lab practical classes (which is the only option available within my school). Tutoring a large group of students and marking assessed work was challenging, I have learnt a huge amount of practical skills and now have more confidence in this area that will be useful in the future, and is particularly in demand for academic posts.”

New to teaching?
If you’re still very new to teaching, these posts might not be for you, until you’ve got a bit more experience. You’ll need to know more about teaching and assessment than you’ll probably get from lab demonstrating (need to understand about running tutorials and giving formal feedback).

Have a look at some of these tips in a blog post from Hannah Perrin, a doctoral researcher at the University of Kent – “Top Ten Tips for PhDs starting to teach“. There’s some good practical advice here (especially number 10) – follow this and you’ll be ready for when we recruit next year for even more e-Tutors.

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