After lots of hard work and campaigning from Sussex students, a series of changes to Associate Tutor (AT) contracts have been put forward to the University for the 2017-18 academic year. This is a result of the proposals presented by Rose, Postgraduate Education Officer, being accepted by the Tutor Process Working Group at the University.
The contract changes will cover the following:
- Guaranteed employment protection between viva and graduation
- No hour cap on the number of hours an AT can work
- No distinction between part-time and full-time students, so that they will be entitled to the same amount of teaching hours
- Paid training provided before starting teaching
- ATs being able teach above level 4 (first-year modules)
- Flexibility at school level meaning that the contracts can work for all departments
These proposals come after the Students’ Union successfully campaigned for fairer working conditions for ATs after new changes were brought in at the start of 2017. Students and the Postgraduate Education Officer worked with Vice Chancellor, Adam Tickell, to remove hourly cap from January to September 2017.
Rose has this to say about the change in contracts:
It's so fantastic that, thanks to the collective campaigning effort of Sussex students and researchers, we've had some huge wins. The sad reality is that the treatment of PhD students who teach across the higher education sector just isn't good enough and so I'm so happy to see that Sussex is taking a leading role in changing this.
When researchers are given fair contracts and are treated well by the university this not only affects their own experience but makes a big difference to the undergraduate and masters students that they teach.
The university is currently working on developing the new contracts for the 2017-18 academic year and an official update is expected in the near future.