College Teaching Certificates

In partnership with academic departments and other organizations on campus, the Chicago Center for Teaching offers a host of professional development activities aimed at supporting graduate 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), a program that sets out a pathway for teaching development during graduate training and postdoctoral work at UChicago.


This program aims to help graduate students and postdocs to:
1. Develop and critically reflect on their teaching practice as they take up teaching opportunities at the University.
2. Discuss and appraise key pedagogical principles and frameworks, and implement them in the design of a new course.
3. Receive constructive, confidential feedback on their teaching.
4. Articulate a meaningful, student-centered approach to teaching, expressed in a statement of teaching philosophy and demonstrated in a teaching portfolio

Program Requirements

In fall 2016, new requirements for the CTC took effect.  Graduate students and postdocs who began at UChicago in fall 2016 or later must satisfy the revised requirements.  Graduate students and postdocs who entered UChicago before fall 2016 may choose between the two sets of requirements.  To register for the program, log your completion of requirements, and track your progress, enroll in the CTC Canvas site.  For those completing the pre-2016 requirements, see here. The CCT, in partnership with the Chicago Language Center, also offers a certificate program focused on second language pedagogy.

I.  Pedagogical Training

1.  Orientation

This orientation to teaching at UChicago for first time teaching assistants, interns, and instructors is an important first step in developing your teaching skills.  Held each fall the week before classes start, the program provides initial guidance to your role as a graduate teacher.

2.  Reflecting on Teaching

  • Complete at least 5 hours of teaching development programming.
  • Write a 500-750 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 Workshop Series (offered by the CCT)
  • Other teaching workshops offered by the CCT or other units on campus (e.g. Eat. Teach. Talk. Run!)
  • Teaching development activities offered by your department (e.g. departmental pedagogy courses or workshops)
  • A course on teaching offered by the Writing Program

3.  Course Design

In this seminar style course offered offered every fall and spring quarter (P/F) by the CCT, graduate students and postdocs read and discuss a small 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.

2.  Observation and Feedback

Observation and feedback is a key step for developing your teaching.  The CCT offers ITCs to instructors as a way to receive confidential, constructive feedback on their teaching.

III.  Documenting Your Teaching

1.  Statement of Teaching Philosophy and Teaching Portfolio

The Seminar, regularly offered by the CCT, provides guidance on how to write a statement of teaching philosophy and construct a teaching portfolio.  The Workshop—to be completed after participating in the Seminar—provides a venue for guided peer feedback on the teaching statement and other elements of the portfolio in progress.

2.  Submission
Once all requirements have been satisfied, submit your final teaching portfolio to the CCT to certify your completion of the program.  CCT staff will review your materials, certify that you have completed all requirements, and issue your certificate.