Stoncel, D. and Butcher, J. (2010) An exploration of early impact of a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PGCTHE) programme on participants. Paper presented to: University of Northampton Learning and Teaching Conference: Learning Dialogues, University of Northampton, UK, 13 May 2010.
Recent research into the effects of Postgraduate Certificates (Knight, 2006, Warnes, 2008) reported outcomes that potentially question the efficacy of PGCTHE courses generally. Specific findings suggest that participants may be better placed to comment on programme benefits "some time after completion" (Knight, 2006:5) and that participants' expectations of their PGCert programmes decreased over the period of study for the programme (Warnes, 2008:4). At the University of Northampton all academic staff new to teaching in H.E are required to successfully complete the PGCTHE as a condition of employment. University of Northampton academic staff, as part of their transition to becoming H.E. professionals, are therefore likely to be engaged in early and ongoing professional development with a focus on enhancing learning and teaching. With the UK Professional Standards framework established as a clear marker for ongoing H.E. professional development, there is a need to ensure that programmes support the development of confidence and activities successfully demonstrate competencies in work-based learning environments. This research project set out to explore participants' perspectives of the PGCTHE programme in one institution in order to determine any evidence of early impact drawing on focus group interviews and reflective commentaries (submitted in assessed portfolios) from a small group of PGCTHE participants who were halfway through the programme. Participants provided evidence from the PGCTHE positively identifying a transition to confident and competent H.E. professionals