Wednesday, 15 June 2011

No award

It transpires that I'm not eligible for the award after all. Like chocolate competitions say you mustn't be employed or a family of an employee of the company to enter, for this award I must not work for the Open University. Yet I work as an Associate Lecturer (AL) for the OU, and since I submitted my thesis, I've had a contract to work on the SocialLearn project in the Knowledge Media Institute (KMi).

When I think of all the times I've heard Open University post grads complain that they don't automatically get the chance be ALs so they don't get the teaching experience that the Joint Skills Statement requires of them, they'd not be impressed. (I blogged on their skills here. ) I don't think any other ALs would be impressed either. I've won the skills, but lost the nomination.

It's particularly silly because the HEFCE Joint Skills Statement of skills training requirements, now replaced by the researcher development framework, says that a post-graduate student should obtain teaching experience, which is just what I did through my AL work.

Director of research studies isn't best pleased because, she says, research students are encouraged from the start to follow the HEFCE Joint Skills statement which outlines skills expected of PhD students, including teaching. Opportunities for research students to gain the vital teaching experience needed if they are to get an academic job are very rare at the Open University. Other universities look for teaching experience in PhD qualified recruits. As such the OU encourages students to seek AL roles in order to augment their experience, and so they are employees of the Open University for their time as ALs. This is needed, is something required of them and yet AOUG apparently penalises them for taking this action. Furthermore, although I am currently working, I have gained that short term employment in KMi because of the strength of my completed PhD research.

As the award is for performance as a research student, current employment status is irrelevant and it's not like a chocolate competition.

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