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Associate Tutor Report 2013


Table of Contents Table of figures

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Introduction

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Executive Summary

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Key findings

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Survey Findings

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Part 1: Employment Contract, Polices and Procedures

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Part 2: Support and Representation

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Part 3: Remuneration

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Part 4: Experience

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Conclusion

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Recommendations

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Appendices

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- Appendix 1: Figure 1: What school(s) do you work in?

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- Appendix 2: Figure 3: What department(s) do you work in?

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- Appendix 3: Figure 3: How long have you taught at the University of Sussex?

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- Appendix 4: Associate Tutor Survey

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Table of Figures Figure 1: What school(s) do you work in?

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Figure 2: What department(s) do you work in?

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Figure 3: How long have you taught at the University of Sussex?

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Figure 4: Have you signed a contract of employment?

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Figure 5: Are you aware of the University’s policies on hourly-paid work?

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Figure 6: Do you feel that work in your department is allocated in a fair and transparent way?

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Figure 7: Do you get the support and access to resources you need to do your job as well as you can?

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Figure 8: Is there an AT representative in your school or department?

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Figure 9: Do you feel your pay is calculated fairly?

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Figure 10: Do you get paid for: preparation, marking, office hours, and course design?

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Introduction This report highlights some of the issues Associate Tutors (ATs) face and seeks to make preliminary recommendations on ways that these could be addressed. The report was created using results from a survey conducted in collaboration with University College Union (UCU) to gather feedback on the experience of associate tutors at the University of Sussex. The survey was open between midOctober and mid-December 2012 and was circulated by email, social media and through the Students’ Union website. There were 143 responses to the survey with responses received from all schools1 except for the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), and across most departments2. Responses were received from ATs who had taught at Sussex for varying lengths of time ranging from 0-6 months to over 5 years3. The National Union of Students also ran a national survey for Postgraduates who teach around the same time4. We hope that the findings in this report will feed into discussion and campaigning on both a local and national level about how to improve conditions for ATs. We hope that it will also be a starting point for the collection of information about the expeience of ATs at Sussex.

For further details about the survey or its findings, please contact the University of Sussex Students’ Union Education Officer or UCU Associate Tutor representative: Maria Da Silva Education Officer University of Sussex Students’ Union Falmer House Falmer Brighton East Sussex BN1 9QF (01272) 87 3324 education@ussu.sussex.ac.uk

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Edwin Hercock UCU AT Representative ucusussex@sussex.ac.uk

See: Appendix 1 See: Appendix 2 • 3 Graph of respondents by time spent at Sussex in Appendix, Figure 3 • 4 To find the full report for the NUS Postgraduates Who Teach survey please visit: http://www.nus.org.uk/en/news/news/third-ofpostgraduate-students-who-teach-earn-less-than-the-minimum-wage/

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Executive Summary The main purpose of this report was to analyse the quantative and qualitative evidence gathered from the survey in order to have better insight into the experience of ATs at Sussex. The main areas of focus were employment contracts, policies and procedures, support and representation, and AT remuneration. It was found that over a third of ATs had not signed a contract of employment and only 27.2% reported that they were aware of University policies relating to ATs. Additionally, only 44.4% of ATs reported that work was allocated in a fair and transparent way. This indicates that there is a pressing need to ensure that ATs have contracts of employment, are made aware of University policies, and have their work allocated in fair and transparent ways. Other findings showed that over a quarter of respondents did not or were unsure whether they received the support and resources they needed to do their job and the majority (64.5%) of respondents did not or were unsure whether they had an AT UCU representative. This indicates that there is poor support for ATs and highlights the need to carry out an assessment of the support and resources required to carry out teaching responsibilities for these needs to be met, alongside raising the profile for AT representation. The third area of focus, remuneration, was one of the most worrying with the majority (67.6%) of respondents reporting that pay was not calculated fairly or that they were unsure. The survey also showed that many ATs were not being paid for preparation, marking, office hours, or lecture attendance. An alarming finding that was revealed through the survey was that some ATs including those who have ESRC funding and those who belong to Life Sciences were not being paid at all. This report recommends that ATs that have not been paid should start being paid and remuneration offered retrospectively, and that all ATs should be paid for all the work that they are required to do in order to carry out their teaching duties. An additional finding of the survey was that ATs who had been teaching for longer reported increased workloads and less teaching opportunities which indicates a possible deterioration in the experience of ATs at Sussex over time.

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Key findings Although 64.7% of respondents reported that they had signed a contract of employment, 16.9% reported that they had not, and 18.4% reported that they were unsure, with those who had been teaching for longest most likely to be unsure. Only 27.2% of respondents reported that they were aware of University policies relating to ATs pay. Less than half (44.4%) of respondents agreed that work in their department was allocated in a fair and transparent way, with respondents who had been teaching for longer more likely to feel that work was not allocated in a fair and transparent way. The results also differed quite dramatically depending on which school respondents were in. Whilst the majority of respondents reported that they get the support and access to resources they need to do their job, over a quarter of respondents reported that they did not (22.2%) or were unsure (9.6%), with respondents who had been teaching for longer more likely to feel that they did not have the support and access to resources that they needed. The results also differed quite dramatically depending on which school respondents were in. Whilst 35.5% of respondents reported that there was an AT representative in their school or department, 58.7% of respondents were not sure and 5.8% of respondents reported that there was not. Only 32.3% of respondents reported that pay is calculated fairly, whilst the majority of respondents were either unsure (23.5%) or reported that pay is not calculated fairly (44.1%). Respondents who had been teaching for the least amount of time, were more likely to feel that pay is not calculated fairly. 50% or less of respondents across all schools (except LPS) reported that pay is calculated fairly. Some ESRC funded respondents & Life Science respondents reported that they are not being paid for teaching. 96.0% of respondents reported that they were paid for class contact, but only 72.8% for preparation, 76.0% for marking, 59.2% for office hours, and 8% for course design. The longer respondents had been teaching, the more likely they were to report that they were paid for preparation, marking, and course design. Respondents who had been teaching for longer reported increased workloads and less teaching opportunities compared to when they had first started teaching at Sussex.

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Survey Findings Part 1: Employment contract, polices & procedures 1.1 Do Associate Tutors have signed contracts of employment? As the chart below demonstrates, 64.7% of respondents reported that they had signed a contract of employment, 16.9% reported that they had not, and 18.4% reported that they were unsure if they had signed a contract. Whilst the majority of respondents reported that they had signed a contract of employment, it is of concern that such high percentages of respondents reported that they either did not have a signed contract or were unsure. Figure 4: Have you signed a contract of employment?

Bearing in mind that it is a legal requirement for employers to provide a written statement of terms and conditions, the NUS Postgraduate Who Teach Report5 found that 31% of respondents reported to not have been given any form of contract for their teaching role, which demonstrates that this problem extends beyond Sussex. When filtered by the length of time that respondents had been teaching, the data suggests that those who have been teaching for five or more years are the most likely to be unsure whether or not they have a signed contract (36.8%). Those respondents who had been teaching for 7 months to one year were the most likely to report that they did not have a signed contract (27.3%). Respondents in this bracket also reported high levels of uncertainty about whether or not they had signed a contract (27.3%). This suggests that there is work to be done to ensure that all ATs have a signed contract and are aware of the terms and conditions in it regardless of the length of time they have been teaching.

NUS Postgraduates Who Teach Report, 2013: http://www.nus.org.uk/en/news/news/third-of-postgraduate-students-who-teach-earn-less-than-theminimum-wage/ 5

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The results were broadly similar across most schools6 with some notable exceptions. In the schools of MPS (70%), HAHP (75%), and English (81.8%), there were higher percentages of respondents indicating that they had signed a contract. Meanwhile, in the schools of MFM (25%), LPS (62.5%), Eng&Inf (30%), and ESW (25%), there were higher percentages of respondents indicating that they had not signed a contract. In the schools of MFM (12.5%), Eng&Inf (10%), GS (23.1%), and most notably ESW (75%) and BME (66.7%) there were a significant percentage of respondents indicating that they were unsure. It is also worth noting that LPS and English had no respondents indicating that they were unsure, however the difference is that the majority of respondents from LPS (62.5%) were clear that they had not signed a contract, whereas the majority of respondents in English (81.1%) were clear that they had a contract. Some of the open comments indicated that respondents had been given contracts when they first started teaching but have since then had work ‘given on an ad hoc basis’. Other comments indicated that respondents had only been given letters of appointment (rather than a full contract). Some other respondents doubted whether the contracts they had would hold up in court as a real contract. Based on these comments there is an evident lack of clarity given to ATs about whether they have contracts or not and a need to clarify whether the contracts they are given have all the necessary requirements for a legal contract of employment. A typical comment included: ‘The school office and HR have been very vague about contracts - often talking about them, but also saying that we don’t have them.’

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Throughout the report the following abbreviations were used for the different schools: School of Business, Management and Economics: BME School of Education and Social Work: ESW School of English: English School of Global Studies: GS School of Engineering and Informatics: Eng&Inf School of History, Art History and Philosophy: HAHP School of Law, Politics and Sociology: LPS School of Life Sciences: LifeSci School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences: MPS School of Media, Film and Music: MFM School of Psychology: Psy

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1.2 Are associate tutors aware of university policies on hourly paid work? As the chart below shows, only 27.2% of respondents reported that they were aware of University policies relating to ATs pay7, whilst the majority of respondents reported that they were not (59.6%) or that they were unsure (13.2%). Figure 5: Are you aware of the University’s policies on hourly-paid work?

The results were unaffected by the length of time respondents had been teaching, with high percentages unaware of the policies across the board. The results did vary however across the different schools with respondents from the schools of LPS(33.3%), HAHP (36.8), and BME (35%) having slightly higher percentage of respondents reporting that they were aware of policies; respondents from the schools of Psy (76.2%), LPS (66.7%), GS (69.2%), ESW (100%) having particularly high percentages of respondents reporting that they were not aware of university policies; and respondents from the school of MFM (50%) and English (27.3%) having high percentages of respondents reporting that were unsure whether they were aware of university policies on hourly wage. It is important to note that even in those schools that had higher percentages of respondents reporting that they were aware of policies, there was still a significant percentage of respondents who reported that they were not aware of university policies on hourly wage: LPS (66.7%), HAHP (47.4%), BME (60%). In the open comments, respondents reported having to search for information themselves. Other comments highlighted that whilst the information was available to them it did not correspond to their personal experience: ‘I’ve tried to find out, but even once you’ve found the info buried on the website, it doesn’t correspond to anything on my payslip or anything I’ve been told about my own work.’

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See: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/tldu/associatetutors/atpolicy

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1.3 Do associate tutors feel that work is allocated in a fair and transparent way? As the chart below demonstrates, only 44.4% of respondents agreed that work in their department was allocated in a fair and transparent way, whilst 55.6% of respondents were either unsure or felt that work was not allocated in a fair way. Figure 6: Do you feel that in your department is allocated in a fair and transparent way?

Respondents who had been teaching for less time were more likely to feel that work is allocated in a fair and transparent way than those who had been teaching for longer, with only 35% of respondents who had been teaching for 5plus years agreeing that their work was allocated in a fair and transparent way. The results also differed quite dramatically depending on which school respondents were in with high percentages of respondents from the schools of MPS (65%), LPS (62.5%), English (50%), and BME (52.4%) reporting that their work was allocated in a fair and transparent way; high percentages of respondents from the schools of MFM (50%), HAHP (52.6%), and GS (76.9%) reporting that their work was not allocated in a fair transparent way; and high percentages of respondents from LifeSci (36.4%), ESW (50%), and BME (33.3%) reporting that they were unsure if their work has been allocated in a fair and transparent way. Regardless of these differences, the overall picture is alarming and is comparable to the national picture as demonstrated by the NUS Postgraduate Teaching survey8 which found that one in four postgraduate teachers thought that the allocation of teaching was unfair. Respondents indicated in the open comments that they felt that the allocation of work depends on who you know or on asking at the right time. Comments included: ‘It’s not advertised, it’s more about who you know and being in the right place at the right time’

See: NUS Postgraduates Who Teach Report, 2013: http://www.nus.org.uk/en/news/news/third-of-postgraduate-students-who-teach-earn-lessthan-the-minimum-wage/ 8

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‘It is all informal; you have to know the convener and that is how you get the job. Once you have the groups, it all depends on the conveyer’s managerial ability.’ The open comment also revealed that respondents felt that there was a lack of transparency in the process of work allocation and concerns were raised about the short notice given of work available. Comments included: ‘I have no idea how work is allocated. It appears to be completely arbitrary - eg I was not approached about any teaching this term, but others were - I’ve no idea why though.’ ‘Communication is appalling. Decisions are made without consultation and we are often asked to respond to important changes at very short notice without time for consultation or reflection’ ‘I find the process prior to the decisions have been made to be fair and transparent, which is a positive development. It is now clear that everyone has to apply in the same way and through the same channels. That said, who gets what at the other end is not really an open process and it is not clear on what grounds the distribution of work is made.’

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Part 2: Support and Representation 2.1 Do associate tutors have the resources they need? As the chart below demonstrates, the majority of respondents (68.1%) reported that they get the support and access to resources they need to do their job as well as they could. However, over a quarter of respondents reported that they did not (22.2%) or were unsure (9.6%) whether they had the support and access to resources that they needed. Figure 7: Do you get the support and access to resources you need to do your job as well as you can?

The results indicated that the longer respondents had been teaching the less they felt they had the support and access to the resources they needed, with respondents who had been teaching for 5plus years more likely to feel that they did not have the support and access to resources they needed (38.9%), and those who have only been teaching from 0-6months more likely to feel that they did (76.3%). The results also differed quite dramatically depending on which school respondents were in with high percentages of respondents from the schools of PSY (81%), MPS (100%), and LPS (88.9%) reporting that they had the support and resources they needed; high percentages of respondents from the schools of MFM (50%) and BME (60%) reporting that they did not; and a high percentage of respondents from Eng&Inf (50%) and BME (60%) reporting that they were uncertain.

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2.2 Is there an AT representative in each school or department? As the chart below demonstrates, whilst 35.5% of respondents reported that there was an AT representative in their school or department, 58.7% of respondents were not sure, and 5.8% of respondents reported that there was not an AT Representative in their school or department. Figure 8: Is there an AT representative in your school or department?

It is worth noting here the high percentage of respondents who were not sure whether or not there was an AT rep in their school, which suggests the need for a more high profile role for AT representatives to ensure that ATs are aware of the representation structures that are available. This is backed up by the results from the recent NUS Postgraduate Teaching survey9 which found that 37% of respondents did not know how they were represented. The results differed depending on which school respondents were in, with respondents from the schools of MFM (50%), LPS (44.4%), and in particular the schools of PSY (90.5%) and (84.6%) having higher percentages of respondents reporting that they had an AT representative in their school or department; respondents from the schools of MFM (12.5%), HAHP (15%) having higher percentages of respondents reporting that they did not have AT representative in their school or department; and respondents from the schools of Life Sciences (100%), MPS (90%), Eng&Inf (80%), English (72.7%), ESW (100%), and BME (66.7%) having high percentages of respondents reporting that they were unsure.

NUS Postgraduates Who Teach Report, 2013: http://www.nus.org.uk/en/news/news/third-of-postgraduate-students-who-teach-earn-less-thanthe-minimum-wage/ 9

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The open comments revealed that the lack of representation were often attributed to respondents feeling intimidated about bringing up important issues in departmental meetings. Comments included:The support respondents received can be dependent on who their course convenor is. Comments included: ‘They’re great at organising social events, but feel intimidated to take more important things (like issues over pay) to departmental meetings.’ Other reasons suggested for the lack of representation included the tendency for AT reps to be largely invisible and inaccessible. Comments included: ‘This year the AT rep is working alongside a newly appointed AT convenor, who is a member of faculty. However, there is a tendency for the AT rep to be largely invisible and inaccessible’

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Part 3: Remuneration 3.1 How much are associate tutors paid? The table below shows the average hourly pay per school based on the information provided by survey repsondents.

SCHOOL PSY   MFM   LIFSCI   MPS     LPS   HAHP   ENG&INF   ENG   ESW   BME   GS  

AVERAGE HOURLY  PAY   £12.05   £13.50   No  Data     £13.17   £14.60   £14.33   £15.09   £15.89   £13.67   £14.33   £14.86  

Based on these figures, the average hourly rate for ATs at Sussex can be calculated as being £14.15. It must be acknowledged however that these figures do not give us a clear indication of what the real hourly pay is as the survey did not ask about the total hours ATs spent working (including preparation, marking, lecture attendance, office hours, etc.). The NUS Postgraduates Who Teach Report10 estimated that the average national hourly pay for ATs is £19.95. However, when calculated in real terms i.e based on the actual hours an AT must work to fulfill their teaching duties compared to the number of hours they are paid for, the figure is almost halved at £10.49 per hour. A particularly shocking finding in the NUS report was that approximately 30% of respondents to the NUS survey were being paid below the national minimum wage of £6.19 in real terms. The open comments from the Associate Tutor Survey at Sussex indicate that this may also be happening at Sussex. Comments included: ‘…and the amount of marking for large groups, it works out at a rate below the minimum hourly wage rate.’ ‘…When you consider the amount of work that you actually do you generally end up getting paid below the minimum wage...’ ‘…Over the last few years, the hourly pay has gone up a bit, but if not for the love of teaching, i wouldn’t be working for the money. It is exploitative.’ The problem seems to be attributed to the fact that many ATs are not being paid for a lot of things that they are required to do as part of their teaching. This is explored further in section 3.3. Another issue of great concern that was revealed through the open comments is that some ATs are not even being paid for any of the teaching they undertake. This was a particular problem for respondents who were ESRC funded and respondents from the school of Life Sciences. Comments included: ‘PhD students used to get paid for teaching now it is being imposed as part of the PhD studies and without remuneration.’

NUS Postgraduates Who Teach Report, 2013: http://www.nus.org.uk/en/news/news/third-of-postgraduate-students-who-teach-earn-less-thanthe-minimum-wage/ 10

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3.2 Do Associate Tutors feel that pay is calculated fairly? As the chart below demonstrates, only 32.3% of respondents reported that pay is calculated fairly, whilst the majority (67.6%) of respondents were either unsure or reported that pay is not calculated fairly. Figure 9: Do you feel that your pay is calculated fairly (you are entitled to equal pay for equal work, to holiday pay, and you should be paid for all the hours you work, i.e. preparation, teaching, invigilating, marking)?

The results differed depending on how long respondents had been working as ATs with 47.4% of respondents who had been teaching for 5 plus years reporting that they felt that pay is calculated fairly whilst only 31.6% of respondents who had been teaching for 0-6months reported that they felt that pay is calculated fairly. The results also differed depending on the school respondents were in with higher percentages of respondents in LPS (77.8%), Eng (45.5%), and ESW (50%) reporting that they felt that pay is calculated fairly; high percentages of respondents in MFM (62.5%), HAHP (50%), Eng&Inf (60%), and ESW (50%) reporting that they felt that their pay is not calculated fairly; and a high percentage of respondents from GS (46.2%) reporting that they were unsure. It is worth noting that, with the exception of LPS, only 50% or less of respondents across all schools reported that they felt that their pay is calculated fairly. The open comments revealed that whilst respondents felt that teaching is generally paid fairly, other activities such as preparation, marking, office hours, and attending lectures prior to seminars are not. Comments included: ‘Out of preparation, teaching, invigilating and marking, I feel only hours spent teaching are paid fairly and transparently.’ The open comments also revealed that the growing number of students has had a negative impact on the fairness of pay as ATs are expected to teach larger groups at the same rates. Comments included: ‘…Also, the groups were not supposed to be bigger than 15-20 and when it goes beyond, there is no extra pay for it.’

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3.3 What are associate tutors paid for? As the chart below demonstrates, the vast majority of respondents (96.0%) are paid for class contact; smaller percentages of respondents are paid for preparation (72.8%) and marking (76.0%); even less for office hours (59.2%), and very few for course design (8.0%). Figure 10: Do you get paid for:

It is of concern that such high percentages are either not paid or unsure if they are paid for preparation (27.2%), marking (24%), office hours (40.8%), and course design (92%). In relation to pay for marking, the NUS Postgraduate Who Teach Report11 found that about 38%of PGs who teach do not receive any pay specifically for marking coursework; around 26% are paid a lump sum for marking which is included as part of their salary; and 28% receive payment for marking which is determined by the amount of coursework being marked and the time taken to mark it. The longer respondents have been teaching, the more likely they were to report that they were paid for preparation, marking, and course design with 83.3% of ATs that had been teaching 5 plus years reporting being paid for preparation compared to 62.5% of ATs that had been teaching for 0-6months; 77.8% of ATs that been teaching for 5 plus years reporting being paid for marking compare to 68.8% that had been teaching for 0-6 months; 66.7% of ATs that had been teaching 5 plus years reporting being paid for office hours compared to 50% that had been teaching for 0-6 months; and 11.1% of ATs that had been teaching for 5 plus years reporting being paid for course design compared to 3.1% that had been teaching for 0-6 months.

NUS Postgraduates Who Teach Report, 2013: http://www.nus.org.uk/en/news/news/third-of-postgraduate-students-who-teach-earn-less-thanthe-minimum-wage/ 11

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There were also slight differences depending on the school respondents came from for each area of work: Class contact: In the schools of PSY, MFM, LPS, HAHP, ENG&INF, GS, and Eng 100% of respondents reported that they had been paid for class time. However lower percentages of respondents in the schools of Life Sci (88.9%), MPS (94.7%), ESW (75%) and BME (89.5%) reported that they were paid for class contact. Preparation: The schools of PSY (95%), GS (84.2%) and BME (84.2%) had high percentages of respondents who reported that they were paid for preparation. However lower percentages of respondents in the schools of LifeSci (33.3%) and English (54.5%) reported that were paid for preparation. Marking: The schools of PSY (95%), MPS (89.5%), HAHP (83.3%) and ESW (100%) had high percentages of respondents who reported that they were paid for marking. However lower percentages of respondents in the schools of MFM (50%), LPS (62.5%), Eng&Inf (55.6%), GS (70%), Eng (54.5%) and BME (63.2%) reported that they were paid for marking. Office Hours: The schools of PSY (85.0%), MFM (87.5%), MPS (89.5%), HAHP (94.4%) and GS (90%), had high percentages of respondents who reported that they were paid for office hours. However lower percentages of respondents in the schools of LifeSci (11.1%), MPS (21.1%), Eng&Inf (33.3%), ESW (25%), and BME (52.5%) reported that they were paid for office hours Course Design: There were very low percentages of respondents who were paid for course design across most schools with the exception of HAHP (where 5.6% of respondents reported that they were paid for course design). It is also of note that in the of MFM, English, and ESW 0% of respondents reported that they were paid for course design. The open comments revealed that there were also different pay practices in different schools. In HAHP, one respondent said that they were paid £4 per hour for any extra marking, while in the school Psychology another respondent said that they were paid £9 per script for marking. This shows that even where there is pay for marking that goes beyond what the multiplier12 accounts for, the pay discrepancies between schools are huge. Other discrepancies included payment of ATs for attending meetings and holiday pay in some instances. The low percentage of respondents who reported being paid in each of these areas is a matter of great concern as is the discrepancy in practice between schools. It is important to note that although respondents might be paid for marking, preparation and other non teaching activities, the amount that they are paid does not reflect the amount of time spent on these activities. When commenting on payment for preparation many respondents pointed out how long they spend on preparation compared to how much they are paid for preparation. Additionally, respondents pointed out that the way preparation time is paid for should take into account the different courses that ATs may be teaching at once. Comments included: ‘I do not get paid for any of my preparation time (putting together curricula, reading seminars, which takes me roughly 2 days per week).’

and preparing for

‘Pay for preparation ought to be calculated separately per course that one is teaching, since, e.g., if one tutor teaches two seminars for different courses and another teaches two for one course, the former has double the preparation work but is paid the same amount.’ When commenting on payment for marking many respondents pointed out that the multiplier does not reflect the actual amount of time spent on marking. Some attribute this to the fact that pay is based on contact hours; others pointed out that marking should also take into account quantity and length of assignments; and some pointed out that they are paid for marking exams but not for coursework. Comments included: ‘ (the muliplier) grossly underestimates the amount of time required for these duties.’ ‘…as the pay is based on the contact hours the level of marking can vary with group sizes without extra acknowledgement of this for larger groups.’

‘should also be paid/calculated separately per script/length.’

‘We’re given £6 per 2000 word script, that is 30 minutes’ pay. 30 minutes is not long enough to do a decent job. Either we suffer by having to rush ourselves, or the students suffer by not receiving adequate feedback.’

The multiplier is the method by which the University calculates AT rate of pay. For more information visit: https://www.sussex.ac.uk/webteam/ gateway/file.php?name=at-pay.pdf&site=44 12

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‘We are paid for half an hour per script and it is not possible to give each script the attention it needs and the feedback we are expected to give in this time. I therefore end up working on them for at least an hour or an hour and a half each meaning that I am working for nothing.’ Many of the open comments indicated that respondents were not paid for office hours and are expected to be available for them for free. Even when office hours are paid, payment did not reflect the time put in. Comments included: ‘Yes you do get paid for the office hour, but it’s at a lower multiplier than seminar teaching.’

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Part 4: Experience 4.1 The changing experiences of associate tutors Respondents who had been teaching for longer periods of time at Sussex reported both positive and negative changes in their experience as ATs over time. Respondents reported increased workloads, changes to pay conditions, and less teaching opportunities compared to when they first started teaching at Sussex. Comments included: ‘I think the situation has become worse, as there is more and more pressure on faculty, in terms of administrative duties and research output requirements, and this has obvious consequences on ATs.’ ‘The sharp increase of students has made each year more burdensome. Some workshops have increased in size as there are not enough rooms for the tutorials and with it, we have to attend to more students for the same hourly pay’ ‘I think it’s become less transparent and, although the pay rate is theoretically good, you do at least double the hours you’re paid for.’ ‘I know that workshops are now paid at seminar rate, which was a necessary improvement.’ ‘We’ve also had an increase in the number of activities that are deemed worthy of remuneration, e.g. responding to students online. Despite this being similar to meeting a student in an office hour such non face-to-face contact was not deemed necessary until last year...’ ‘Contracts in global studies have been much reduced and in a very untransparent way. For example, a lot of applicants for teaching for the current academic year were turned away and some people have more than double the allowed allowance of teaching.’ ‘Changed - less teaching available due to the introduction of “interactive lectures”, i.e. two hours large lecture format teaching as an alternative to classes. ATs in the department consider this an “Americanisation” of the curriculum that hits standards and reduces income available for ATs.’

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Conclusion Postgraduate Associate Tutors are invaluable to the undergraduates who they teach and the institutions that employ them, however, the findings of this survey reveals that the AT experience at Sussex gives rise to some serious concerns in relation to the support they receive, their representation in a trade union, contracts of employment and in particular the issue of pay for teaching activities. It is essential that ATs are adequately compensated and supported. Unpaid labour is exploitative and we must work towards ending it. Although there may not be a single model that applies to ATs across departments and schools, there needs to be procedures in place and steps taken to improve conditions for ATs in all these areas and changes proactively implemented.

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Recommendations Contracts of employment: It’s a legal requirement for employers to provide a written statement of terms and conditions, however, many respondents reported they either did not have a signed contract or were unsure. It should be assured that all contracts include the necessary requirements for a legal contract of employment. We therefore recommend that steps are taken to ensure that all Associate Tutors have a signed copy of a contract that details the terms and conditions of their employment and that they understand what those terms and conditions are. Additionally, this information needs to be communicated to all ATs regardless of the length of time they have been teaching. Allocation of work: High percentages of respondents reported that they did not feel work was allocated in a fair and transparent way. We therefore recommend that a fair and transparent system that treats all applicants equally should be implemented across all schools. We also recommend that this is done in a timely manner and communicated appropriately. Support and access to resource: Large numbers of respondents reported that they didn’t feel that they had the support and access to resources that they needed to do their job. We recommend that an audit of the support and resources needed to carry out teaching activities should be done in each school and any needs identified subsequently met. AT representation: The majority of respondents were either unaware or unsure whether they had an AT representative in their school or department. We recommend that representation in the UCU should be given a higher profile, and introduced in any induction or training. Steps should be taken towards having an AT UCU representative in every single department that ATs are working in. Policies for AT pay: The survey data illustrates that the amount that ATs are paid does not reflect the amount of time they spend working. We recommend that ATs should be paid for all the work that they do, including but not limited to marking, preparation, office hours, and course design. There shouldn’t be discrepancies between schools, all ATs should be paid for the work that they do regardless of which school they belong to. Policies of pay need to be changed to reflect actual time spent on teaching activities so that no AT is doing unpaid work. These policies have to then be appropriately communicated. Unpaid ATs: Survey findings revealed that ESRC funded students and Life Science students are not being paid for teaching. We recommend that ATs who have not been paid for teaching should be paid immediately and retrospectively paid for any unpaid work they have undertaken. Accommodating change: Findings also revealed that the growth in student numbers has had a negative impact on AT experience. We recommend that any growth in student numbers takes into account the capacity to accommodate for these numbers and should not have a negative impact on ATs.

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Appendices Appendix 1: FIGURE 1:

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Appendix 2: FIGURE 2:

Unfortunately, there were departments that were not listed as options to this question. These were mentioned in the open comments and the number of respondents that identified with a missing department was noted:

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Appendix 3: FIGURE 3:

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Appendix 4:

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www.sussexstudent.com/associatetutoreport

Associate Tutor Report 2013  

Report by the University of Sussex Students' Union about Associate Tutors 2013

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