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Benefits of the PGCAP

Our Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) programme provides colleagues with a range of benefits. Read on to find out how it has helped our previous participantsand those who have supported and mentored colleagues to take part in the PGCAP. You can also watch the recording of an event to find out more about PGCAP and explore why participants engage with the PGCAP and the impact it has.

Enhance your student education practice  

The main aim of the PGCAP is to support colleagues to enhance their student education practice. Participants are introduced to different pedagogical theories and approaches to teaching and learning with the opportunity to practically apply what they’ve learnt within the course. The benefits of this are then felt by participants’ schools, students and colleagues as they continue to share practice.  

Having had a colleague who just completed his PGCAP and seeing the positive impact of his teaching on student learning, experience and satisfaction, there was no doubt in my mind as a new Head of School, that PGCAP was the direction to take. Supporting staff to do PGCAP means empowering them to excel in their teaching delivery, which leads to a great sense of fulfillment. This response from a colleague sums it up best: “I am really loving PGCAP… I am learning so much”.  Supporting staff to do PGCAP also means giving our students the best teaching we have to offer. Finally, the success of PGCAP at the University of Leeds is also the result of an excellent team behind it, who are extremely knowledgeable, efficient, and supportive.

Professor Maria Lonsdale, Head of School of Design and Professor of Information & Communication Design  

Many thanks to the whole PGCAP team for the fascinating PGCAP modules. I believe I am a totally different person than who I was two years ago in the way I see teaching and learning, and how I feel about approaches to improving my practice.

Feedback from PGCAP participant from the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in our February 2021 cohort

My whole teaching philosophy has changed to be honest! I am now firmly cementing the students as the orchestrators in their own learning and me as facilitator. I did have a didactic approach before and the 'giver of knowledge' which I now realise is not actually what teaching is about

Feedback from PGCAP participant in our February 2021 cohort

Develop your confidence and skills for online teaching  

Recent participants have found that the PGCAP has been of great help in the transition to online delivery. It has prepared them for various ways in which we will deliver learning to our students going forward.  

 I would recommend the module because it has been very useful to learn the skills in the context of the big shifts in how education is delivered in the pandemic. The pandemic has forced academics to change what they are doing. The module has offered theory and techniques that can guide the shift to online learning and blended learning.

Feedback from PGCAP Participant in our September 2020 cohort

 Apply practically the approaches you explore on the programme 

Participants will consider different approaches, challenging their thinking, and learning from others. Within the programme there are practical opportunities to apply this learning. As outlined below, this is particularly helpful in times of transition when new approaches are hugely important to explore.  

I really like the way you have changed the whole process of this PGCAP course and how you have developed the practical element of it.  The online micro-teach experience for participants, where they design and deliver both asynchronous and synchronous components, is really the best way to do it.  You are really developing people’s practice to teach students effectively.

Dr Nikolaos Nikitas, Associate Professor in Structural and Engineering, Participant Mentor 

 The micro-teach offered an opportunity to see examples of online teaching using a variety of different approaches and offered lots of feedback. This has fed into my own teaching, which I hope has improved my teaching.

Feedback from PGCAP Participant in our September 2020 cohort  

I learned a lot from my own experience and observing that of other colleagues. My mentor was amazed by the level of professionalism involved in the planning and delivery stages of micro-teach. Learning how to take advantage of Microsoft tools will be a great takeaway and I will try to pass it on to my colleagues who have not taken PGCAP.

Feedback from PGCAP Participant in our September 2020 cohort

Undertake an impactful research project to enhance ongoing practice 

As part of the programme, participants will undertake a research project, as with the example below, these projects have real impact at the University alongside enhancing individual practice. Below, Dr. Ilaria Zavoli, one of our recent PGCAP graduates, connects further with her peers by sharing her project on our TIPS Blog, alongside other articles from colleagues sharing practice. 

As part of my Postgraduate Certificate for Academic Practice course (PGCAP), I designed an action research project with relevance to my teaching practice at the School of Law, where I am also Academic Integrity Officer. I conducted empirical research on PGT international students’ understanding and approaches to academic integrity through an online questionnaire. The findings of this study will be beneficial to inform future policies and academic integrity prevention strategies of the School of Law and the University of Leeds.

Dr. Ilaria Zavoli, Lecturer – School of Law 

Read more about this article on our TIPS Blog 

Network with colleagues and learn from your peers

The group micro module experience [in Module 2] was quite unique and valuable. Working with colleagues of different disciplines on a subject that none of us was particularly knowledgeable/good at is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I learned things from my peers that I could have never learnt from my colleagues in our own school.

Feedback from PGCAP participant in our February 2021 cohort

I have bonded with people from different areas in the university as I have never done in the 5 years I have been here bringing a sense of community and togetherness as a university collective.

Feedback from PGCAP participant in our February 2021 cohort

Gaining Fellowship (FHEA)

On completion of the course, graduates gain Fellowship (FHEA). Fellowship demonstrates commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in higher education and provides a number of benefits.  

  • Consolidates personal development and evidence of professional practice 
  • Provides a valuable measure of success  
  • Demonstrates commitment to teaching, learning and the student experience 
  • Fellowship is increasingly sought by employers across the education sector  
  • For individuals, to identify their expertise  

 Find out more and apply 

Our PGCAP webpage has a series of resources and guidance on applying for the PGCAP, as well as identifying the best route to achieve Fellowship (FHEA).