I suspect I'm not alone in noticing the recent proliferation of "teaching fellowships" in UK higher education, but who do they benefit?
They appear to offer an opportunity for those recently graduating from their PhDs, but in reality they are a means by which universities employ full-time teachers without having to pay them to conduct research.
This is why I believe they are a blight upon the academic community. University teaching should always be led by those who are most passionate and knowledgeable about a field. To employ anyone else is to degrade academia.
I implore recent graduates (and any other academics) to eschew teaching fellowships. In the long run, no one gains. Students are taught by those who are refused the opportunity to be truly passionate about their fields; universities employ those who resent their obligation to teach at the expense of everything else; and recent graduates are coaxed into accepting positions that will hamper, rather than enhance, their opportunities of future employment within higher education.
Full-time lecturers are employed on the basis of their research experience, rather than because of their lecturing ability. This is something that recent postgraduates should be very aware of.
I believe that for a recent graduate it is better to remain unemployed and conduct research than to accept a teaching fellowship if their ambition is to forge an academic career. This is the only way that institutions will come to realise that if they offer positions that fail to enthuse the best, students will be taught by those who wish to teach rather than by those who love their subject. This can never be a positive development.
I implore recent postgraduates to ignore any teaching fellowships - they won't help you, nor will they benefit academia in general.
David Richards, Liverpool John Moores University