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Higher education lecturer: Job description

Higher education (HE) lecturers teach academic and vocational subjects to undergraduate and postgraduate students aged 18 upwards. They work in universities and in some colleges of further education.

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical laboratory demonstrations, field work and e-learning. Multimedia technologies are being increasingly used.

HE lecturers also pursue their own research to contribute to the wider research activities of their department/institution. Many aim to have their research published, either in the form of a book or scholarly article, and this can help raise the profile of their employing HE institution.

Administrative tasks take up a significant part of the working day. Many lecturers also take on a pastoral role with their students. As HE lecturers progress along their career paths, they may be expected to undertake a managerial role of the relevant department.

Typical work activities

The work carried out by HE lecturers varies according to individual areas of responsibility and research but often includes:

  • delivering lectures, seminars and tutorials;
  • developing and implementing new methods of teaching to reflect changes in research;
  • designing, preparing and developing teaching materials;
  • assessing students' coursework;
  • setting and marking examinations;
  • supporting students through a pastoral/advisory role;
  • undertaking personal research projects and actively contributing to the institution's research profile;
  • writing up research and preparing it for publication;
  • supervising students' research activities;
  • completing continuous professional development (CPD) and participating in staff training activities;
  • carrying out administrative tasks related to the department, such as student admissions, induction programmes and involvement in committees and boards;
  • managing and supervising staff - at a senior level this may include the role of head of department;
  • representing the institution at professional conferences and seminars, and contributing to these as necessary;
  • establishing collaborative links outside the university with industrial, commercial and public organisations.
Written by AGCAS editors
July 2013

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