Q. What does the course involve?
A detailed course description is available to download. Please read this before submitting an application for a place. Participants will be expected to attend all scheduled workshops and tutorials, unless indicated otherwise on the course description.
Q. How are places allocated?
Applicants must demonstrate that they will have at least 40 hours experience of teaching in higher education (20 hours of which must have been completed before the programme beings) and that they will be doctoral students and / or employed as postdoctoral researchers for the duration of the programme. The quality of applicants’ application statements and compatibility with the aims of the TAP programme are also considered. In the event that demand for places exceeds supply, we will also prioritise applications from those in the final year of their doctoral study / research contract.
All applications are reviewed at the same time and late applications will not be considered.
Q. What counts as 'teaching' in higher education?
For the purposes of TAP, ‘teaching in higher education’ includes lecturing, leading seminars and classes, supervising undergraduates and postgraduates. For most TAP participants, this teaching is in Cambridge, though many also bring experience of teaching in other UK universities and / or overseas.
TAP includes some compulsory assignments such as peer observation of teaching and so TAP participants must undertake some teaching in Cambridge during the programme.
Please note: the minimum requirement of 40 hours’ teaching experience may not include the following:
- time spent preparing teaching materials;
- marking essays;
- teaching in secondary or further education.
Q. What if I have not attended an Effective Undergraduate Supervision course?
To complete TAP, you must attend or have attended the Researcher Development Programme’s short course on ‘Effective Undergraduate Supervision’. The Researcher Development Programme runs these courses in many Departments, as well as through the University programme. If you have not attended this short course before you begin TAP, you must do so during the course of the programme. We run many instances of this course during Michaelmas and Lent Terms.
Q. What if I do not have the minimum level of teaching experience required?
To be eligible for TAP, you must have at least 20 hours’ teaching experience before the programme begins and at least 40 hours’ experience of teaching in higher education by the time that the programme ends. You must also have some teaching commitments in Cambridge for the period of the programme, in order to be able to complete some of the compulsory requirements.
Q. What if I do not have confirmation of the teaching I expect to undertake during the TAP programme, by the time I apply?
If your teaching hasn’t been confirmed before the application deadline, please indicate the number of teaching hours that you expect to undertake and what you expect to teach. If your application is successful, we will ask you to confirm teaching hours before the programme begins (typically, around week 2 of Michaelmas Term).
Q. What if I do not have any teaching responsibilities during the programme?
TAP includes some compulsory exercises which can only be completed if you are teaching; some of these require you to be teaching in Cambridge. If you have no teaching commitments, and / or will not be teaching in Cambridge during TAP, then we cannot accept your application to the programme for the current year.
Q. Whom should I contact if I do not have enough teaching hours to complete TAP successfully?
We suggest that you approach your Supervisor / PI for advice. Your Department’s teaching office and / or College Directors of Studies for subjects that you are able to teach may also be able to help.
Q. Is there a course fee for TAP?
TAP is accredited by the Higher Education Academy, to which Cambridge subscribes. TAP is open to doctoral students registered with the University and to early-career postdoctoral researchers who are employed by the University or one of the Colleges. This means that Cambridge PhD students and postdocs do not pay a course fee and / or an accreditation fee.
Q. What if I can't get a place on TAP?
The Teaching Associates’ Programme runs every year. If you are unsuccessful one year, you can apply to participate in a subsequent year, provided you continue to be a student and / or member of research staff employed by the University or one of the Colleges.
Alternatively, if you have sufficient experience you may make an application direct to the Higher Education Academy for recognition of your individual experience. Please note that individual applications incur an administration fee. Researcher Development Programme is not able to meet the costs of individual applications. To find out more about making an application direct to the Higher Education Academy (HEA), consult the HEA’s website and / or register for one of PPD’s short courses: ‘Higher Education Academy: briefing’.
Q. How much time will I need to give to TAP?
You should expect to give the equivalent of half a day per week, throughout the programme, to teaching development exercises, including reflecting on your teaching practice, reading and writing assignments. Most participants choose to work more intensively on TAP assignments at some stages during the programme and less so at others, in accordance with variations in teaching and research commitments.
Q. Who is on the TAP team?
Dr Meg Tait – TAP Director and Tutor
Meg leads the educational development portfolio of Cambridge's new Centre for Teaching and Learning, is head of PPD's Academic Practice Group and a bye-fellow in academic development at Queens' College, Cambridge. Meg is also course director of Cambridge's new Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Ms Fiona Sutton – TAP Programme Manager
Fiona is lead administrator for the Researcher Development Programme and programme manager for TAP.
Dr Anna Gannon – TAP Tutor
Anna is an affiliated lecturer in the History of Art Department where she teaches and supervises her own paper (on Early Anglo-Saxon Art). She is a Fellow of St Edmund’s College, where she is directs studies (and for another four colleges), as well as being a Tutor and Graduate Tutor. Anna is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Anna runs the University’s professional development programme for University lecturers with probationary appointments and leads on training for new supervisors of PhD students.
Dr Lesley MacVinish – TAP Tutor
Lesley is Deputy Director of Education for the Faculty of Biology and Senior Teaching Associate and Departmental Teaching Co-ordinator for the Department of Pharmacology. She is also a Fellow of Wolfson, where her role includes Personal Tutor and Admissions Tutor for Science. In 2013, Lesley was awarded one of the University’s Pilkington Prizes for Teaching.
Dr Sonja Tomaskovic – TAP Tutor
Sonja is researcher developer with particular responsibilities for the Schools of the Physical Sciences and of Technology. She leads the University’s Writing Skills Summer School for research students, as well as contributing to training in teaching practice and transferable skills. Sonja is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Dr Ben Murton - TAP Tutor
Ben is the Researcher Developer with responsibility for PhD students in Life Sciences. His special interest is in Higher Education and especially the use of new technologies to enhance the learning process. He is a College Teaching Associate at St John’s College where he has taught undergraduate medics since 2003. A few years ago he completed TAP as a post-doc and his experience helped him make the move from academia to his new job