FAST Program

The Future Academics Support and Training (FAST) program is a new one-year program offered to doctoral students, early career academics and sessional staff in the Faculty.

The Future Academics Support and Training (FAST) program is a new program from WCLA devoted to doctoral students, early career academics and sessional staff in the Faculty. The program consists of (1) targeted workshops, aimed to further improve presentation skills (teaching, conferences, seminars etc); (2) peer review, aimed at providing feedback following mock presentations or lectures (if any); and (3) peer mentoring, aimed at matching participants with experienced academics and providing faculty-specific support.

The aim of the workshops is to encourage doctoral students, early career academics and sessional staff to place high importance on teaching and public speaking. By offering targeted workshops on presentation skills development, the three groups benefit from developing their teaching expertise. Effective teaching begins with effective delivery, which is particularly helpful when classes are large and diverse. The workshops also address the feedback from students that presentation and communication skills are the areas sought for improvement by students. Confirmed workshops are:

Session 1: Understanding the audience. Cynthia Hardy. Tues 27 March 2018 11:00-2:00 Rm 315, L3, FBE
Session 2: Presenting with confidence. Petra Kalive.Mon 7 May 2018 2:00-3:30 Rm 605, L6, FBE
Session 3: Engaging with the audience. Charles Sevigny. Tues 29 May 2018 2:00-3:00 Rm 6.30 L6, FBE
Session 4: Presenting your Research with Impact. Kirstie MangasTues 19 June 201810:00-12:00Rm 315, L3, FBE
Session 5: Engaging with the Media Andrew Trounson and Nicki Webber. Thurs 26 July 2018 10:00-12:30 Rm 605, L6, FBE
Session 6: Delivering your first lecture. Angela Paladino. Thurs 23 August 201812:00-1:30 Terrace House Offices
Final Session: End of program social event. Mon 24 September 2018 12:00-2:00 TBA

Peer review
PhD students can receive peer review during mock presentations (opt in) while lecturers with teaching commitments can receive feedback for one or more lecture observations from WCLA. The number of observations can vary and are available upon request. The aim of peer review is to highlight the importance of providing feedback on teaching similar to peer review of research. It also aims to enable teaching as a shared community activity, to improve approaches to teaching in the Faculty, and to move away from overdependence on student evaluations. Peer evaluation of teaching such as in-class observations is increasingly seen as an important tool for improving learning and teaching quality and a response to increased accountability in higher education. Most importantly, peer evaluation improves teaching practice and develops confidence to teach and learn more about teaching.

This is offered for lecturers new to teaching in FBE who wish to work with a mentor. The aim of peer mentoring is to promote a strong culture of support from experienced academics to new ones and to foster among mentees a sense of belongingness to the larger Faculty community. Mentors serve as role models and this encourages the recognition of their expertise and leadership.

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