So what do you need to be aware of before sending off a raft of applications to lectureship roles?
- Be realistic about how much you enjoy teaching. Do you want to be teaching hundreds of undergraduates or would you prefer to be managing seminars with Masters students?
- There are a lot of other roles and responsibilities to fit in alongside teaching students. For example, departmental responsibilities such as Open days and committee memberships, your own research and office hours as a personal tutor.
Before making applications it can be useful to try and get some exposure to ‘test the water’ and see if teaching is for you. Speak to your line manager, Head of Department or Head of Learning & Teaching and see if you can teach different class sizes and/or engage with different types of assessments.
When looking at the job description make sure to read it several times to be clear on the requirements of the University to check that they match your own ideals. For example, some universities will expect to see plenty of evidence of successful grants awarded if you want to lessen your teaching load. Other institutions may prefer more of a balanced split 40% research, 40% teaching and 20% administration. Not all roles are the same so read the job description carefully!
There are three main elements to being a lecturer which are teaching, research and administration. Try to gain as much experience in each of these three areas as possible. Review ‘Getting your 1st Lecturing role’ on the IAD blog for more detail on the ‘common metrics of success’. The accompanying handbook is also a great resource.
Try to gain as much experience as possible – speak to your line manager and see if you can get involved in leading seminars, tutorials, guest lectures, marking exam scripts and course design. It goes without saying that alongside these extra activities you need to keep working on publishing your research as the number and quality of journals really does count! Keep working on getting published as numbers and high quality journals really do count towards your research impact status. Consider talking to the Edinburgh Research Office for suggestions on where to apply for seed funding in order to boost your funding awarded/grant status. Try and get involved in larger grants with colleagues, it might be possible to be listed as a co-investigator, the research office will again be able to advise in more detail.
Speak to your colleagues! You are surrounded by academics who can offer a wealth of advice. Seek out those who are newly appointed lecturers as they will have plenty of advice to share regarding the recruitment process. The main University Careers Service has a series of academic career journeys available to view. These case studies can give you an insight into the different routes academics have taken to progress their careers.
Getting involved in the life of your department can help demonstrate that you are a team player and that you are making a wider contribution to the life of the University. Possible positions to consider are reviewers of grants and papers, getting involved in committees and editorial positions as well as taking on roles at internal Open Days.
Lastly, undertaking specific qualifications to validate your teaching experience can go some way to meeting universities requirements and backing up your commitment to teaching. The IAD runs several different courses with the aim of providing accreditation for teaching experience as well as skills development workshops. For further information on the options available see the website for a description of the different courses available.
Finally, once you begin making applications for roles consider booking a 1:1 Career Development Consultation with the IAD Careers Consultant, to discuss your application documents and how to tailor them effectively for each individual role that you apply for.