In January and February of this year I was Chair of the UWA Sessional Staff Association, an organisation started in April of last year to promote the interests of casual teaching staff at UWA.
My relationship with the Association was prompted by changes to the Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, and in particular the withdrawal of the Postgraduate Teaching Internship Scheme, which I completed in 2014. This Scheme was instrumental in the development of my teaching skills and a valuable opportunity to become an informed member of the teaching staff, therefore I was saddened to see it withdrawn and concerned that the benefits of the Scheme would be lost for future postgraduates.
With this in mind I decided to undertake some research on the Scheme in order to provide advice to the UWA Executive about teaching professional development opportunities. You can find a summary of the process at my blog site, and a copy of the Review Report at the UWA Sessional Staff Association website.
According to the survey findings, the greatest concern was that postgraduates would lose access to a scheme that increased their employment prospects, enhanced the learning opportunities of students and increased the presence of UWA in pedagogical forums. Based on these findings, the UWA Sessional Staff Association would like to see professional development coursework opportunities continued, with sessional staff from different faculties engaging with each other during their development journey.