To help PhD students and postdocs develop their approach to teaching and their approach to student writing, the Writing Program has partnered with the Chicago Center for Teaching to offer a College Teaching Certificate (CTC) with emphasis in Writing Pedagogy. The Writing Pedagogy programming introduces participants to various theories and practices of giving feedback on student writing; helps teachers design courses to meet writing-focused learning objectives; and asks teachers to implement writing pedagogy techniques into their teaching at UChicago, reflecting on that implementation with Writing Program Directors. As part of their Teaching Portfolio, participants will design a syllabus that includes a substantial writing component. 

To register for the program, log your completion of requirements, and track your progress, you must enroll in the CTC Writing Pedagogy Canvas site (link to the right). 

Program Requirements

I. Pedagogical Training

1. Orientation 

- Attend Teaching@Chicago

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 

-  Attend at least 5 hours of Writing Pedagogy Workshops from the Writing Program.

These 5 hours of programming are a combination of three Writing Pedagogy Workshops, two of which are required. 

  1. Rhetoric of Writing-Focused Feedback (2 hours, required)
  2. Using Writing Assignments to Meet Learning Objectives (2 hours, required)
  3. Elective: any other workshop organized 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

1. Teaching 

- 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.

- After attending at least one of the required Writing Pedagogy workshops, integrate one or more of the techniques below into your own teaching practice.

  • Design and implement one or more assignments that build writing skills
  • Design and implement one or more writing-focused class sessions
  • Give students written feedback on their writing

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.

3. Writing Pedagogy Design & Practice Reflection

After you integrate writing-focused pedagogy into your own teaching practice, you'll meet with a Writing Program Director in the same quarter. In this conversation, you’ll reflect on how the technique contributed to your learning objectives, and you’ll strategize for future practice.

The Writing Pedagogy Design & Practice Reflection meeting will cover three parts: 1. Description, 2. Design Reflection, and 3. Practice Reflection.

First, you’ll submit two briefs about the assignment sequence, class session, or feedback technique you implemented. Then, to arrange a meeting, email

Parts 1 and 2 should be a minimum of 500 words each. Instructors will complete part 3 orally (i.e., in conversation with a Writing Program Director).

  1. In part 1, describe the assignment, activity or feedback technique.  Include any written materials you used or provided for students (for example, an assignment prompt, handouts, or a particular template). In this section, please also detail the implementation, if applicable. How did you proceed? What were the steps? What kind of language did you use to explain or introduce the assignment, activity, or feedback technique?
  2. In part 2, reflect on your intentions for the writing-focused pedagogy, and your aims as you designed it. What were your specific learning objectives? What kinds of choices did you make in order to achieve those objectives? What was the thinking behind the techniques you used?
  3. In part 3, reflect on the implementation. Did the assignment, activity, or feedback technique go as planned in practice? Did you change anything “in real time”? What worked well? What were some of the drawbacks? What would you change for the next time you use this technique again? If you practiced writing-focused written feedback, we’ll ask you to submit  4 samples of feedback in advance of the meeting.

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. Design a Syllabus with a Substantial Writing Component

For the Writing Pedagogy emphasis, you must design a syllabus with a substantial writing component. This syllabus may be submitted in addition to the other two syllabi required by the CCT, or you may revise one of those syllabi to include a substantial writing component. Beyond integrating a substantial writing component into the course design, the syllabus should also:

  • Include a paragraph about feedback.  Explain the role of feedback in the classroom by adding a paragraph to your syllabus about what feedback means in your classroom and what modes of feedback you will use. For example, when does feedback happen, and how? What format would the feedback take?  Have you considered accessibility? What is being assessed in the feedback and how?
  • Articulate writing-focused teaching objectives.  What kind of writing and/or revision skills do you want your students to learn and practice? Are there any discipline-specific genres or rhetorical strategies that you want students to learn?
  • Design a sequence of writing assignments that help students meet learning objectives. Include writing assignment prompts in the syllabus. Are any assignments weighted differently? If so, make it clear why. Do any assignments include a drafting process? If so, describe that process. What is the genre of the writing assignment? For example, does the assignment ask students to produce expository writing, creative writing, a research paper? Are students asked to create visuals or use technology in the process of writing a presentation? Also include assignment expectations. What are the content-related goals for the assignment? What writing skills does the assignment help develop?

After submitting the syllabus, participants will receive written feedback from Writing Program Directors.

3. 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.

4. Submission of the Teaching Portfolio 

Once all requirements have been satisfied, please submit your final teaching portfolio (including the via Canvas to certify your completion of the program. CCT and Writing Program staff will review your materials, certify that you have completed all requirements, and issue your certificate.  


See also:

Writing Program: College Teaching Certificate with Emphasis in Writing Pedagogy