A new initiative is providing PhD candidates in Arts and Social Sciences with the opportunity to gain quality teaching experience before they graduate.

Eight Postgraduate Teaching Fellows have been selected from across the Faculty to undertake paid, face-to-face teaching for up to six hours per week, as well as assisting with course assessment, administration and curriculum development.

The Postgraduate Teaching Fellows are required to complete UNSW’s Foundations of University Learning and Teaching program and are supported by a teaching mentor.

Arts and Social Sciences Dean Professor James Donald said he introduced the teaching fellowships after being “surprised and shocked” to hear how competitive it is for higher degree research students to secure teaching positions.

“I wanted to formalise the process for students aiming to launch their academic careers,” said Professor Donald. “The middle of a PhD candidacy is the ideal time to develop teaching skills and our Fellowships offer students substantive experience to apply for entry-level lectureships when they graduate.”

Iranian-born Leila Iranmanesh, a PhD candidate from the School of Education, is one of the eight successful applicants. She has taught at numerous universities in Iran and says teaching is a collaborative process.

“I hope to share my knowledge with staff and students,” she said. “Hopefully, the Fellowship will also give me the opportunity to reflect on my teaching and learning."

Missouri-born Ian Zucker, a PhD candidate in the School of Social Sciences, has tutored at universities in the US, UK and Israel and says he is desperate to get into the “teaching trenches”.

“I relish the thought of standing in front of a lecture theatre of students – I have no fear of it at all,” said Zucker, who supports face-to-face teaching. “One of my goals is to change how future students learn.”

The Postgraduate Teaching Fellowships run for up to two years.

Media contact: Fran Strachan, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8732, 0429 416 070