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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning


Please note that this article was published in 2020 and may no longer be accurate

If you have some experience of teaching in higher education, there are a number of cohort programmes available within Cambridge which will help you to challenge and develop your existing teaching practice even further. The Centre for Teaching and Learning offers two: the Teaching Associates' Programme for early-career researchers and academics, and the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching & Learning in Higher Education, in collaboration with the Institute for Continuing Education, for those with at least three years' higher education teaching experience. The new Researcher Development Teaching Fellows Programme is designed for postdoctoral researchers interested in teaching and facilitating researcher development courses for PhD students.


Teaching Associates' Programme

The Teaching Associates' Programme is designed for early-career researchers and academics (including PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, early-career college lecturers) who are interested in extending their understanding of teaching and learning. It runs over the course of one academic year, and involves a mix of full-day workshops, reading assignments, project work and teaching observations. Each participant is part of a tutor group within the programme, benefitting from individualised feedback and discussion on their teaching practice and assignments, and engaging in a collegial and supportive community of practice.

Completing the programme requires participants to submit a portfolio which will demontrate their development and growth as a teacher over the course of the programme. Those who complete the programme are accredited as Associate Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.

A page from the online course which facilitates the Teaching Associates' Programme
A screenshot of Module 2 from the Moodle course which is used to facilitate the Teaching Associates' Programme

Feedback from recent participants on the programme included:

"It was great to collaborate, see others teaching and read papers on the subject such that now I have a lot more confidence when creating supervising resources."

"I applied for the course hoping to become a more confident and critical teacher, and I have developed in both of these areas."

Applications for the 2020-21 Teaching Associates' Programme will open in Easter Term 2020.


Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching & Learning in Higher Education

The Postgraduate Certificate, a Master's-level course, is aimed at those with more experience; open to all Cambridge staff who teach or support the learning of Cambridge students, applicants must have at least three years' experience of teaching within higher education. Participants in past instances of the course have included research fellows, college teaching officers, librarians and educational technologists, as well as senior lecturers and readers.

The course spans twelve months and is designed to be flexible to your commitments. Five 'day schools' and termly one-to-one tutorials provide a focus across the year, and participants also engage in reading and learning facilitated online, and developmental exercises organised within peer learning groups. Participants develop enquiry-based approaches to engaging with educational challenges and contributing to improvements in the education of Cambridge students, and at tertiary level more broadly.

Photo of Dr Matt Mason and Prof. Raphael Lyne
Dr Matt Mason (left) and Prof. Raphael Lyne (right) commented on their experience taking the Postgraduate Certificate

Recent 'graduates' said:

"I gained much more from the certificate course than I ever thought I would. I'm confident that it will help my career in the future too. The course gives you the time and motivation to think about your own teaching, which is really helpful, and I found the philosophy and psychology so interesting that I'm now finding and reading research in these fields off my own bat."
Dr Matt Mason, University Physiologist

"The course is cleverly shaped to the Cambridge context: very conscious of local specificity but still open to the way we could learn from other influences. Supervising and lecturing had become comfortable and routine for me but the course made me reflect on what I was doing and gave me lots of good reasons to try out new things that I was curious about."
Prof. Raphael Lyne, Professor in Renaissance Literature

Applications for the 2020-21 Postgraduate Certificate, made through the Institute for Continuing Education, are currently open; the deadline for applications is Monday 30 March 2020.


Researcher Development Teaching Fellows Programme

Aimed specifically at postdoctoral researchers, the RD Teaching Fellows Programme is a new course introduced by Researcher Development this academic year. It is intended for those who are looking to gain teaching experience by facilitating researcher development courses for PhD students.

Photo of students working on a project together
The Teaching Fellows Programme is designed for those with an interest in facilitating researcher development courses for PhD students

Uniquely amongst these courses, the RD Teaching Fellows Programme not only supports participants in developing their teaching practice but also provides teaching opportunities to those who complete the programme, which consists of  workshops, observing teaching sessions facilitated by Cambridge Researcher Developers, and delivering a trial session to the course convenors and peers on the programme. Completion of the programme results in the opportunity to deliver paid workshops to Cambridge PhD students as part of the central RD programme of courses; this experience could potentially form the basis of an application for Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

The pilot programme is currently running and it is hoped that, if successful, applications will be opened this summer for next year's programme.


As you can see, there are many opportunities available to improve your teaching practice, whatever your level of experience and expertise. Further courses are also available from, for example, the Institute for Continuing Education, including the ECR Teach programme (focused on course design, assessment and evaluation for early-career researchers), programmes specifically for Medical Education, and a Master of Studies for history and English teachers.


Cambridge Teaching & Learning Newsletter vol. 1 (issue 3) January 2020

Teaching & Learning Newsletter

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