This is an important read.
A significant proportion of teaching at UK universities is undertaken by PhDstudents, who are mostly paid by the hour as graduate teaching assistants. Because research funding is so scarce, many of these students are paying for their own studies – so teaching forms a crucial part of their income.
They have usually been actively encouraged to take up advanced degrees because of their ability, but find themselves struggling to stay afloat. Meanwhile, the number of PhD graduates far exceeds the number of academic positions available – adding to the stress of the situation.
When university lecturers went on strike in May this year, they focused on pay and conditions for permanent staff, and the issue of hourly paid staff wasn’t given the prominence it deserves. It’s time for the sector to start paying attention to graduate teaching assistants (GTAs).
Etc. Grad assistants really do deserve better. Though, I have to add quite hastily, that my own time as a graduate teaching assistant was fantastic and I was fairly paid and enjoyed teaching classes both on campus and at campus remote locations tremendously. But of course there weren’t, and aren’t many people like the late Donald C. Cook. What a scholar… I miss him and his company.