The Chicago Center for Teaching offers professional development activities aimed at supporting PhD students and postdocs as they develop their approach to teaching. As a means of structuring and documenting this professional development process, the CCT offers the College Teaching Certificate (CTC) program, which outlines a pathway for teaching development during graduate training and postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago.
This program aims to help PhD students and postdocs to:
1. Develop and critically reflect on their teaching practice as they take up teaching opportunities at UChicago.
2. Discuss and appraise key pedagogical principles and frameworks and implement them in the design of a new course.
3. Receive formative and constructive feedback on their teaching.
4. Articulate a meaningful, inclusive, student-centered approach to teaching, expressed in a statement of teaching philosophy and demonstrated in a teaching portfolio.
To register for the program, log the completion of requirements, and track your progress, you must enroll in the CTC Canvas site - see link on right-hand side for auto-enrollment. The CCT also offers two specialized certificates. One in partnership with the Chicago Language Center, focuses on second language pedagogy. Another, in partnership with the Writing Program, has an emphasis in writing pedagogy.
I. Pedagogical Training
Teaching@Chicago is an orientation to teaching at UChicago for first-time teaching assistants, interns, and instructors, and is an important first step in developing your teaching skills. Held the week before classes start each fall, the program provides initial guidance on your role as a graduate teacher.
2. Reflecting on Teaching
- Complete at least 5 hours of teaching development programming. For example, you could attend at least 3 of the 4 sessions in a Fundamentals of Teaching Series, participate in other workshops or events on teaching offered by the CCT, or participate in other programming about teaching offered by the Writing Program, other centers on campus, or your department, etc.).
- Write a 500 to 700-word reflective essay that summarizes how your approach to teaching was shaped by participating in this programming.
As you take on roles such as teaching assistant, intern, or instructor, there are numerous opportunities on campus to step back and reflect on different aspects of your developing teaching practice. Just what mix of programming advances your teaching development goals will vary from person to person. Options to fulfill this requirement include:
- A Fundamentals of Teaching Series
- Other teaching workshops and seminars offered by the CCT or other units on campus (e.g. The Craft of Teaching)
- Teaching development activities offered by your department (e.g. departmental pedagogy courses or workshops)
- A course on teaching offered by the Writing Program
3. Reflect on Inclusive Pedagogy
- Complete at least 1 stand-alone workshop on Inclusive Teaching offered by the CCT.
- Upon completion of a workshop on inclusive teaching, please write a 500 to 700-word essay reflecting on the ways that inclusive pedagogical practices inform your approach to teaching. Please include a description of specific strategies you plan to use to promote an inclusive and welcoming classroom environment. For example, activities you plan to incorporate into the way you think about and address social and/or cognitive differences and student learning.
4. Course Design
- Complete “Course Design and College Teaching” (CCTE 50000)
In this seminar-style course offered each quarter by the CCT, graduate students and postdocs read and discuss a selection of literature on teaching and learning, complete a course design project, and write a statement of teaching philosophy.
II. Practice and Feedback
- Complete two terms of teaching
You may complete the teaching experience requirement as either a teaching assistant or an independent instructor. The teaching experience must include direct student contact in a classroom or lab setting. Appointments that involve only grading or office hours do not satisfy the teaching requirement.
2. Observation and Feedback
- Participate in an Individual Teaching Consultation (ITC)
Observation and feedback is a key step for developing your teaching. The CCT offers ITCs to graduate students and postdocs as a way to receive constructive feedback to help them develop their teaching.
III. Document Your Teaching
1. Statement of Teaching Philosophy and Teaching Portfolio
- Participate in the Seminar and Workshop on Teaching Portfolios
The Seminar on Teaching Portfolios provides guidance to graduate students and postdocs on how to write a statement of teaching philosophy and construct a teaching portfolio. The subsequent Workshop on Teaching Portfolios then provides a venue for guided peer feedback on the teaching statement and other elements of the portfolio in progress.
2. Essay on Inclusive Pedagogy
- As you prepare your teaching portfolio, please submit an updated draft of your reflective essay. The updated version may include new thoughts on promoting an inclusive and welcoming classroom environment, an assessment of specific inclusive strategies you have been able to incorporate into your teaching, and/or a description of how considerations of inclusion and diversity shaped the materials of your teaching portfolio. This reflective essay should also be included in your teaching portfolio.
3. Submission of the Teaching Portfolio
Once all requirements have been satisfied, please submit your final teaching portfolio via Canvas to certify your completion of the program. CCT staff will review your materials, certify that you have completed all requirements, and issue your certificate.