Support for PhD candidates who teach

Many of you gain teaching experience at King’s while undertaking your research degree. This is great for you and good for the university too.

We want to make sure those of you who do teach are well supported. Faculties deliver a range of training, induction and buddying arrangements for Teaching Assistants (TAs) and King’s Learning Institute (KLI) also offers the ‘Preparing to Teach’ course and the more advanced PGCAP course that leads to a nationally recognised qualification. KLI has considerably increased capacity on these courses in responses to requests from TAs.

Recently we have had discussions to see how we can improve support further, and that involved a focus group with TAs. In response to the three main suggestions to come out of this session, we have made the following changes:

  1. University policy guidance is now available on the Teaching Opportunities webpage of the Graduate School. Our focus group said they found this a very helpful document but hadn’t previously been aware of it.
  2. KLI has agreed to arrange drop-in sessions for TAs on different campuses so you can call in and get advice on good practice and/or discuss problems you are having with your teaching. These will begin in September 2015.
  3. The Graduate School has set up a discussion forum where you can contact other TAs, share your experience and good practice, as well as offer advice and support to your peers. This can be found on KEATS, but you will need to submit an application form for admission to the forum. This can be found on our internal web pages by clicking here and selecting the tab entitled ‘Forum for King’s Graduate Teaching Assistants’.

Professor Vaughan Robinson
Director of the Graduate School

Joint PhD with Hong Kong University

As part of King’s policy of working with international partners, the College now offers a growing range of Joint PhDs. On these programmes students are supervised by academic staff at King’s and at one of our partner institutions, spending time at both universities.

Since their launch three years ago, two PhD students have recently become the first to graduate from these programmes. Sarah Downes, who undertook a Joint PhD in English at King’s and HKU, describes below her experience of studying in a different research culture.

Under the joint supervision of Dr Otto Heim at HKU and Dr Anna Snaith at KCL, Sarah’s research project considered the relationship between literary modernism and visual culture in the work of Caribbean modernist Jean Rhys. “The joint PhD was an immensely rewarding experience, I’d recommend it to any prospective student. Moving to a different city and a different culture is no easy task, but I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to really immerse myself into Hong Kong life. At times doing a PhD can be a lonely process, but the support from both departments has been incredible, and I feel fortunate that my academic future will hopefully be supported by the connections I am making both in Asia and in Europe.

My research was energised and invigorated by the contrasting academic practices of the two institutions, and personally I benefitted immensely from researching in a new environment when I moved to Hong Kong. My three years as a Joint PhD scholar were incredible – I only wish it could have lasted longer!”

Professor Vaughan Robinson, Director of the Graduate School at King’s, adds: “We are incredibly proud of our Joint PhD programmes. They attract outstanding and adventurous students and allow our academics to work with other world class researchers elsewhere in the world. I would like to congratulate our first two graduands from these programmes with HKU and NUS and wish them well in their future careers. I am sure the experience of having studied in two research cultures and countries will stand them in excellent stead.”

A Joint PhD programme results in one qualification awarded by both King’s College London and the partner institution. Students benefit from access to learning resources in both locations.

Studying at more than one institution allows students access to the resources and expertise of different departments and may, in some cases, enable them to work between disciplines. Students can make professional and personal contacts that can help future career opportunities and, upon completion of their studies, receive a qualification from two internationally recognised institutions.

Find out more about King’s Joint PhD programmes on the King’s Worldwide webpages or if you are already on a PhD programme, or are a member of staff at King’s but are interested in international mobility, you can find out more about the range of opportunities available to you, including partnership grants, and other study abroad options on the Study Abroad webpages.

Applications open for CDT Medical Imaging

New ImageThe Centre for Doctoral Training in Medical Imaging have up to 20 PhD studentships available and applications are now open. If you are a graduate of chemistry, biology, pharmacy, physics, mathematics or engineering and interested in an interdisciplinary training approach specifically designed to meet challenges in healthcare and medical imaging, then this may be for you. The CDT is funded by EPSRC and is run jointly by King’s & Imperial College London.

Read what student Marta Dazzi feels about the CDT:

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first term as a student at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Medical Imaging. As a chemistry graduate, I already had a general idea on the ways chemists could impact the field of medical imaging but knew little about the work of other scientific disciplines. The course so far has given me an insight on the importance of an interdisciplinary approach for this research. It has been exciting to branch out from an orthodox chemistry degree- the first term is mainly focused on providing us all with a foundation for our PhD for example, the physics behind how imaging modalities work and how images are acquired and reconstructed. I have also really liked working and learning with people with different scientific backgrounds. Whilst I wasn’t too thrilled initially with the idea of dealing with another year of exams and lectures, the teaching so far has been brilliant. There are only around 20 students in a lecture so learning is more interactive and lecturers encourage discussions during the class. In addition to lectures, different assignments are set like literature reviews, presentations and lab reports which are helping me develop useful skills I will require for my PhD.

The department has also been very welcoming, even as MRes students we already feel part of the group since we are invited to attend weekly group meetings to learn more about the undergoing research. More importantly, the bi-monthly social events have been great and a good way to make new friends!

The application procedure was very efficient. Interviewers were very friendly and almost felt like an informal chat. By the end of the day, drinks and nibbles were provided and we had a chance to get to know the supervisors and have a chat about the projects available. Overall, my time so far in the CDT has been great fun and I would definitely recommend applying if you are considering pursuing a PhD.

Check out the website to view available PhD projects and application details.

BME Student Survey

Don’t forget there’s still a chance to contribute to the Student Race Equality Survey.  The survey, which supports King’s participation in the Race Equality Charter Mark, aims to gather views on studying at King’s, with the objective of generating results that will not only benefit our Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) staff and students but the whole King’s community.

The survey will close on Friday 14 November and can be accessed here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/studentraceequality

Tadion Rideal Prize Winner Announced

Bezapic3The Tadion Rideal Prize has been awarded to Dr Chibeza Agley, from the Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences (CHAPS), for his thesis titled: ‘Assessment of cell fate and the role of Wnt-β-catenin signalling in human primary skeletal muscle-derived cells’. The thesis was carried out under the supervision of Professor Steve Harridge and Professor Phillipa Francis-West.

“For my doctoral research at King’s College London, I took on the problem of adult human muscle stem cell multilineage potential (i.e. the ability of a stem cell to give rise to more than one cell type), which had been a hotly debated topic in the field for many years. Continue reading