Donkeys of the department?

Postgraduates have an ambiguous status, situated somewhere between student and member of staff. The University’s postgraduate students here are gaining useful teaching experience, transferable skills, and relationships with the leaders of their own academic fields. The job is more important than just the workload, payment and status, but they should not be marginalised by their departments. This drastic cut in History postgraduate pay has devalued their worth. Resource-based constraint, forcing departments to ‘cut corners’ in an attempt to cope with existing student numbers and funding constraints, should not mean postgraduates take the burden. Departments call on them to teach where and when the need arises. Their reactive, rather than proactive use, results from the fact departments are unable to plan further ahead than a year, in determining likely staffing needs, and investment. Taking advantage of our graduates, who need this teaching experience, is exploitative irresponsibility.

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