Skip to main content Skip to departmental menu

Course Support Leaders

A Course Support Leader (CSL) works closely with a lecturer in course support preparation and delivery.  They may also lead other tutorial helpers, e.g. PhD students and junior RAs. The main objectives are to:

  1. Improve the quality of teaching support
  2. Offer more flexible support to lecturers
  3. Recognise the valuable contribution to teaching made by some RAs

The CSL Scheme

Any course can have a Course Support Leader (CSL), and possibly one or more additional helpers.  A CSL will typically be an experienced RA who has an outstanding grasp of course material; he or she will be chosen by the course lecturer. Their task is to support the course lecturer in any reasonable way, such as:

  1. helping to review, update and create course material (lectures, tutorials, courseworks etc.)
  2. assisting in the organization of additional helpers for course support delivery
  3. moderating coursework marks
  4. delivering selected lectures

After appointing the CSL, the lecturer should discuss with the CSL to sort out a plan of action so that the amount of time for CSL does not exceed proposed thresholds (see below).  The CSL should maintain their own record of the tasks that have been undertaken, and the amount of time spent on each.

CSL benefits

A CSL will achieve the following benefits:

  1. They will only need to contribute to one course per academic year
  2. CSL is a recognized role that can be included on the individual’s CV and mentioned in letters of reference.  This may be particularly beneficial to RAs who aim to pursue an academic career


  1. Before RAs are confirmed CSLs,  their Principal Investigators must agree, in order to avoid potential conflicts with their research
  2. CSLs should spend no more than 6 hours per week on average (approximately 60 hours per course) on CSL activities
  3. CSLs involved in lecturing should normally be limited to delivering no more than 2 lectures in a course
  4. CSLs may NOT set or mark examination questions

Any conflicts arising between CSLs and academics should be referred to the relevant Director of Studies (Tony Field for undergraduates, Fariba Sadri for postgraduates).

Tony Field
Silvana Zappacosta
19th September 2018