The APRA Foundation Berlin
Graduate Student Teaching Scholarship in Philosophy
at the University of Keele, UK
The APRA Foundation Berlin funds a three-year Graduate Student Teaching Scholarship (the GSTS) in Philosophy at the University of Keele, UK, earmarked for a doctoral student writing a dissertation on Kant. The scholarship covers home fees, a salary for teaching (maximum three hours per week), research and editorial activities, and a bursary. The topic can be in any of the areas of scholarship related to the work of Immanuel Kant - for instance, Kant's practical philosophy (ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of religion), Kant's theoretical philosophy (epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, logic), Kant's teleology (including philosophy of art and aesthetics, philosophy of biology), Kant's philosophy of history or anthropology. For further information, please contact Dr. Sorin Baiasu at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The possibility of funding the GSTS at Keele offered the Foundation a perfect opportunity to express its support for an essential but frequently undervalued (and, in many cases, even overlooked) dimension of graduate education: the experience, training and intellectual discipline an emerging scholar acquires by having had to articulate, explain and defend his or her ideas as a graduate student teaching assistant to a series of classes of such students - before being professionally hired to do so. This accelerates the graduate student's own development of important skills of investigation, self-expression and research competence. And it fosters a pedagogically mature instructor who understands from the very first course how to meet the challenges of effectively communicating difficult material and instilling valuable habits of dialectical and analytical thinking.
Graduate student assistant teaching also promotes a better learning experience for the students in that instructor's first course. Assistant teaching at the graduate level gives the graduate student first-hand experience of what is required for preparing effective syllabi and lectures, for fair and consistent grading, for conscientious critique of papers and exams, and for attentive and well-informed student counseling - at the very moment when his or her own experience as a student is freshest in memory. Because of their similarity in status, graduate student teaching assistants are much more accessible than professors to the undergraduates they teach, for frank and unvarnished feedback on their pedagogical performance. This affords graduate student teaching assistants the opportunity to learn from their students as much as their students learn from them. The pedagogical insights a graduate teaching assistant can gain from that moment, of being more or less simultaneously on both sides of the student-teacher divide, are invaluable. Assistant teaching at the graduate level helps to increase the quality of academic training for students, instructors, and the university alike.
Finally, graduate student teaching assistants are of enormous value to the instructor whom the graduate student assists. Assistance with grading papers enables the instructor to give more writing assignments per course, in the confidence that these will be read and critiqued carefully, thus enabling students in the course to practice and develop their research and writing skills more intensively and to a more advanced level. Assistant teaching course sections in a large, highly enrolled course enables the instructor to present in the main lecture challenging and sophisticated material that requires questions and discussion in order to absorb, in the confidence that these will be provided by the graduate teaching assistant in the small course sections. Delegating course sections to the teaching assistant also releases more time for the instructor to prepare lectures and to guide, read and comment more extensively on graduate theses and dissertations. In all of these ways, graduate student teaching assistants enable the instructor to devote more time and attention to quality teaching to the best of his or her abilities, thus enabling both undergraduate and graduate students to learn to the best of theirs. The APRA Foundation Berlin is proud to be able to further this fundamental index of academic excellence through the GSTS in Philosophy at the University of Keele. More information about this innovative institution is available at http://www.keele.ac.uk/ .