What is PTAS?
The Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme (PTAS) provides funding to support learning and teaching enhancement in our University. Every year, groups of staff and students who are interested in learning and teaching are welcome to apply for funding for either a pedagogical research project, or a learning and teaching innovation project.
Grants may be “small” (up to £1,500) or “regular” (up to £15,000). This successful scheme has been running since 2007 with annual funding of £100,000-£150,000 and has involved over 350 members of staff and increasing numbers of students within project teams from around the University. In addition, this year we will again be awarding £25,000 additional funding provided by Information Services for projects related to the University’s introduction of lecture recording.
The aims of PTAS are to:
- encourage colleagues to explore new practice in teaching and thereby enhance student learning
- disseminate good and innovative practice across the University and more widely
- promote and recognise excellence in teaching
- raise the status of teaching in the University
- enhance the quality of the student learning environment through pedagogical inquiry and capacity building
How does PTAS help teachers?
During the academic year 2016-2017, the Institute for Academic Development conducted interviews with 12 participants in the Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme as part of a small research project into the outcomes of the scheme. All Colleges and some members of the Support Services were amongst the respondents. The majority of respondents thought that their involvement in a PTAS project had changed their thinking about teaching or assessment as well as their actual practice ‘a lot’ or ‘quite a bit’. One participant said:
“..the mandate PTAS gives for taking teaching seriously, and for making time for teams of colleagues to work together on shared areas of interest and innovation is absolutely brilliant, not only for individual careers but for the health and vibrancy of teams.”
Sharing and spreading good ideas
PTAS project teams are encouraged to disseminate their work widely, both within the University of Edinburgh and beyond. The modes of dissemination are very broad, from the more traditional journals and academic conferences to blogs, videos and public events.
Some examples of successful project proposals in Academic Year 2016-2017
- From the door of our tent: an online journal of creative and contemporary ethnographic work composed and curated by undergraduate students of the University of Edinburgh
- Formative assessment: how useful is it, who does it help the most, and how can we improve it further?
- Making students curious: using an app-based walking tour as a pedagogical tool
- “What are you going to do with that?” The HCA Degree and Employability
- Developing context-based physical chemistry laboratory investigations
- The role of the Programme Director in Taught Postgraduate Programmes
- Helping students to write readable code – a peer approach using ACJ
- A curriculum for climate justice: a collaborative investigation of the challenges and opportunities for climate change education through a social justice lens
- Coding club – a peer-to-peer learning environment to surmount statistics anxiety and code fear
- The ‘Tutor Bible’: Postgraduate experience of a shared tutoring resource
Interested in applying?
The Institute for Academic Development offers support for those submitting for PTAS awards and ongoing project advice. Contact the convenor Dr Daphne Loads
We gratefully acknowledge that annual funding for the Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme is provided by the University of Edinburgh Development Trust. We are also grateful for the additional funding for projects provided by IS.
Find out more about PTAS and how to apply on the IAD website
Attend a workshop for prospective applicants that provides advice both on how to bid to the Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme (PTAS), and on bidding for other kinds of funding for small education projects which focus on higher education.
Browse more current and previous funded PTAS projects, searchable by school or theme.