Teaching Fellow, Department of Physics

Durham, United Kingdom
£33,797 - £40,322 p.a
Friday, 11 September 2020
End of advertisement period
Friday, 2 October 2020
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Physics

Grade 7: - £33,797 - £40,322 p.a
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 12 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 02-Oct-2020, 6:59:00 AM

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world’s top universities, boasting a welcoming and vibrant international community. Durham is an exceptional place in which to base your career. Our strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences see us listed as a top 5 UK and top 100 global university with our students and our world leading academics sitting at the heart of delivering our ground-breaking work. As part of our ambitious strategy we are growing and we look forward to welcoming your application.

About Durham University

As one of the UK’s leading universities, Durham is an incredible place to define your career while enjoying a high quality work/life balance. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. If you’d like to find out more about the University, please visit https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/recruitment/

The Department

The Department of Physics at Durham University is one of the very best UK Physics departments with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and the employability of our students. The Department has particular strengths in Astronomy, Atomic and Molecular Physics, a variety of areas in Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, Instrumentation and Elementary Particle Theory, and hosts the Institutes for Computational Cosmology and Particle Physics Phenomonology.

The Department is committed to research-led and small group teaching alongside larger lecture formats. The Complete University Guide ranks Durham’s Physics Department in fourth place nationally based on entry requirements, student satisfaction, research and graduate prospects.  Courses currently taught in the Department include a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and integrated Master’s degrees in Physics, Physics and Astronomy and Theoretical Physics.

The Role

The Department of Physics at Durham University seeks to appoint an exceptional scholar as a Teaching Fellow with teaching interests in any area within the broad field of Physics.

This post offers an exciting opportunity to make a contribution to the development of the Department’s teaching and curriculum and the successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to the delivery of excellent teaching, informed by a knowledge of and commitment to, evidence-based innovative practice in a physical sciences higher education context. The successful candidate will contribute to a range of activities in support of the Department’s undergraduate teaching programme, under the management of the Director of Education.

Teaching Fellowships offer the opportunity of valuable experience to those early in their academic careers and the University is keen to maximise the benefit to as many people as possible. The post of Teaching Fellow will involve a significant teaching load, which may extend into the summer period, and there may be related scholarship and the opportunity for administrative duties which relate to education and pedagogy.

The post is for a fixed term only of up to 12 months, and it is not anticipated that the post will be extended beyond this fixed term.

The University provides a working and teaching environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate these key principles as part of the assessment process.

Key responsibilities

  • Develop and deliver high quality teaching and learning support in a variety of settings, such as tutorials, experimental laboratory demonstrations, laboratory classes, supervision of teaching activities in undergraduate teaching laboratories, project supervision and lectures, that contribute to providing a high quality learning environment and physics curriculum, and enables students to achieve their potential; 
  • Demonstrate the ability to employ innovative practice in the design and delivery of high quality teaching and learning support and engagement in the design of excellent teaching programmes;  this specifically includes effectively managing your own time regarding the development and maintenance of content for virtual learning environments, planning the coordination of existing teaching modules, contributing to the development of new modules, the writing and maintenance of module teaching materials and the development of improved student structures for both incoming and current students; 
  • Lead some aspects of modules and contribute to modules led by others by collaborating with colleagues on course development;
  • Develop and deliver an inclusive curriculum and make an active contribution to an inclusive community in which diversity is embraced and celebrated;
  • Seek and take on board feedback on teaching and engage with others in CPD;
  • Supervise undergraduate student(s), and where appropriate act as part of a PhD supervisory team;
  • Contribute to educational skill of colleagues, e.g. giving a seminar to colleagues or engaging in constructive discussion about a seminar;
  • Build internal contacts and participate in networks to exchange information; participate in and make positive contributions to fostering a collegial environment and the collegial activities of the Department, including the performance of other duties commensurate with the nature and grade of the post, as required by the Head of Department;
  • Start to engage in scholarship (the creation, development and maintenance of the intellectual infrastructure of subjects and disciplines) e.g. develop online teaching resources;
  • In addition to Board of Studies, membership of some departmental committees and professional body memberships;
  • Student support, by assessing the academic performance of students and providing high quality feedback in a variety of settings, dealing with student disciplinary matters and complaints;
  • Engage effectively and efficiently with the administrative requirements of the Department, particularly those related to education and with activities that contribute to the administrative functioning of the Department and to physics as a discipline, as allocated by the Head of Department;
  • Assist in publicising the educational work of the Department nationally and internationally, and in student recruitment, including reporting at educational conferences and publishing in the literature on innovations in teaching, learning support and student assessment;
  • Develop and deliver outreach by, for example, links with schools and public understanding of science activities.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by attending relevant training and development courses.

How to Apply

Candidates applying via Redeployment are only eligible to apply for a post at the same Grade or lower.

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Tim Roberts, Director of Education (tel. +44(0) 191 3343767 or email t.p.roberts@durham.ac.uk.

All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • a CV and covering letter which details your experience, skills and achievements in meeting (or the potential to meet) the criteria set out above.
  • a statement as to your aspirations as a Teaching Fellow in terms of what motivates you, what you would like to achieve and what your broad approaches to teaching excellence and innovation are (maximum 2 pages).


You should provide details of 3 referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference (if they are not listed as an academic referee).

Please note:

  • We shall seek references during the application process.  Unless in the case of very early career candidates, referees should not (if possible) include your PhD supervisor(s) and include references from a University other than your own.
  • We would ask that you alert your referees to this application as soon as possible so that we can quickly obtain references.  If you do not wish (some or all) of your referees to be approached during the recruitment process; you must clearly indicate this to us at the time of your application.
  • References sought for candidates may be made available to the panel during the shortlisting process.
  • We will seek a reference from your current line-manager if we make you an offer of employment (albeit you may have also nominated your line manager as an academic referee).  Please clearly indicate on the application form which referee is your current line-manager and indicate if we should only approach them once an offer has been made.

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.

Next Steps

The assessment for the post will include a 30 minute presentation (15 minutes on your plans for engagement in innovative practice in the design and delivery of high quality teaching and high quality learning and support and a 15 minute mini-lecture on Young's Slits, suitable for Level 1 students. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment in or around September 2020.

This is a TF post so we should refer to the TEF metrics. We are a Silver Institution with aspirations for gold.

Person Specification

Candidates applying for a grade 7 post will have recently completed or be concluding their PhD and, while they may have limited direct experience of the requirements for the post, they must outline their experience, skills and achievements to date which demonstrate that they meet or that they have the potential to achieve the essential criteria.

Essential Criteria  

  • A good first degree in Physics.
  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in Physics or a related subject, or equivalent demonstrable practitioner experience which may include appropriate certification and/or membership of a relevant professional body.
  • Experience, skills and/or achievements that demonstrate teaching and examining at University level with positive student feedback gained.
  • Experience of contributing to the development and delivery of high-quality teaching and/or assessment of learning, including the design and creation of successful learning environments and curricula.
  • Demonstrable ability to participate in the collegial/administrative activities of an academic department and/or discipline.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills with the ability to engage with a range of students and colleagues across a variety of forums.

Desirable Criteria:

  • Experience of successfully developing innovative teaching methods for the design/delivery of high quality teaching.
  • Experience of successfully working in an administrative role within an organisation or department.
  • Experience of providing high quality one-to-one student supervision.
  • Evidence of work undertaken (or which would be undertaken) in preparation for teaching and keeping up to date with developments in the subject area, such as
    1. active membership and engagement with a professional body;
    2. demonstrable innovation in educational practice;
    3. publication in a scholarly journal or relevant professional publication;
    4. Attending and presenting internal and/or external seminars or at a regional conference; and/or
    5. Materials/curriculum development for wider use in a department.
  • Candidates may have, or should have the ability to attain the rank of Fellow of HEA.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.