Below are examples of best practices our doctoral units use to train their students to become better teachers as part of their development as future faculty.
Aerospace Engineering: Our teaching fellowship program by which senior graduate students interested in academia are given the opportunity to teach an undergraduate course under the mentorship of a faculty member. One is selected per semester (application, interview and ref letter to apply). Also, the department nominates students for COE Mavis Future Faculty Fellows Program Awards for Doctoral Students/ the award was established to provide students interested in an academic career with an opportunity to become proficient in research teaching and mentoring. And all students are required to TA for one semester, must attend at least one CTE orientation, are encouraged to attend CTE workshops and seminars, and students also learn by example of our excellent faculty instructors.
Civil & Environmental Engineering: We also believe that our annual award to an advanced Ph.D. student as the “CEE Alumni Graduate Assistantship for Teaching Excellence” has provided incentives and opportunities for our best students who are committed to an academic career. This award gives the student the opportunity to work with a mentor to take full responsibility for an under-graduate course. Competition for this award is very stiff, and the honor has given several of the winners a distinct advantage when they apply for faculty positions. The award is funded from alumni donations, and we are trying to expand the funding so that more students may be recognized. Each Ph.D. student in Environmental Engineering and Science must complete a significant teaching activity prior to graduation; this can be either a TA experience or “taking over” a class for up to two weeks (under the mentorship of the instructor who is often the Ph.D. student’s supervisor). Ph.D. students in Civil Engineering are strongly recommended to engage in a similar teaching experience. Completing a significant teaching experience is a milestone that has just been added to our Annual Review Form. Our department also holds an annual competition for an award known as the “CEE Alumni Graduate Assistantship for Teaching Excellence.” This provides an advanced Ph.D. student the opportunity to work with a mentor to take full responsibility for a 300 or 400-level course. Competition for this award is very stiff, and the honor has given several of the winners a distinct advantage when they apply for faculty positions.
Comparative Biosciences: One thing this year we are trying is to develop a student/post-doc run course that allows students to develop their teaching skills since there are few opportunities for that in the vet college.
Kinesiology & Community Health: We have developed a new course that provides PhD students with the scholarly knowledge and practical experience necessary for effectively assuming the roles of teaching, mentoring, and presenting in the professoriate. All doctoral students are required to complete a teaching experience course (KIN 565, Teaching in the Professoriate). This course combines lectures and practical experience in teaching undergraduate classes. Students experience 14 hours of instruction in the university classroom while simultaneously completing a team teaching experience that consists of 9 hours of observation in an undergraduate course followed by 21 hours of team teaching with the instructor of that course.
Social Work: Our students gain information and experience in teaching through their learning in SOCW 575 “Social Work Teaching Seminar”, a required course on social work education and the pedagogy of college teaching. Successful completion of this course is required prior to receiving an appointment as a teaching assistant. Also see hands-on.
Business Administration: BA Doctoral Program on Teaching in conjunction with CTE. We promote activities planned by the COB through the Academy for Advancement of Learning to all our PhD students. Past topics in seminars sponsored by the Academy have included course design, class session planning, active learning methods and implementation approaches. Teaching is a requirement for all PhD students. To strengthen the understand and kill sets of our students in the classroom- various faculty and teaching specialists have presented on topics such as case discussion, developing a teaching philosophy statement, developing a course syllabus, developing projects and evaluation and assessment of combined activities. Our DGS led a discussion summarizing and asking students to summarize current readings from the Academy of Management Learning and Education. A total of eight sessions have been offered and students completing the seminar will receive a Certificate of Teaching award at the end of the program.
Communication: In terms of teaching, new students attend a weeklong teaching orientation that introduces not only the content of courses they will teach, but also the best practices of teaching in the field. Our introductory courses (the ones new students tend to teach) have faculty course directors who supervise TAs. In addition, new students are matched with senior graduate students who serve as “peer leaders” to offer formal and informal guidance about teaching. Throughout the semester, TAs attend regular staff meetings to discuss pedagogical techniques as well as course content. Once per semester, their teaching is observed by senior peers and faculty course supervisors; this feedback is then shared informally and in writing. Finally, we encourage graduate students to take advantage of campus resources on teaching, including professional development workshops and the Graduate Teaching Certificate program. With very few exceptions, most PhDs in communication will go on to academic careers in which teaching will be an important, if not predominant, activity. The process of training and mentoring that we follow (described above) provides doctoral students with an outstanding foundation on which to begin their teaching careers. Evidence for the success of our approach to training new teachers may be found in the regular appearance of dozens of our graduate students on the List of Excellent Teachers each semester, as well as the campus teaching awards regularly won by our graduate students.
Recreation, Sport & Tourism: Doctoral students also have an opportunity to participate in Graduate Student Teaching Preparation Program that offers comprehensive, in-depth, individually-focused, and academically sound preparation to their teaching duties. In order to prepare Ph.D. students for their teaching assignments and to facilitate their success in the classroom, the department has established the Graduate Student Teaching Preparation Program. The program involves a graduate-level course geared toward teaching in the professorate, seminars on teaching-related issues, and one-on-one mentoring by the teaching mentor prior, during, and after students’ individual teaching assignments. Doctoral students also have an opportunity to participate in Graduate Student Teaching Preparation Program that offers comprehensive, in-depth, individually-focused, and academically sound preparation to their teaching duties. The program, developed in FY 09, involves students taking the course dedicated to teaching in the Professoriate (RST 560) that provides scholarly knowledge and practical experience necessary for effectively assuming the roles of teaching, mentoring, and presenting in the professoriate. In the course, students team teach an undergraduate course with an assigned faculty mentor, give a scholarly research presentations, and attend a series of theoretically grounded lectures focusing on instructional design, learner characteristics, and successfully conveying information to others. Prior to assuming their teaching duties in the department, the students are also expected to familiarize themselves with the contents of the course they are scheduled to teach by serving as teaching assistants for the course, attending the class if it is offered prior to their teaching assignment and consulting with the instructor who has taught the course most recently. During their teaching assignments, they are provided feedback on their teaching by the Faculty Mentor who visits their classes at several points during the semester and discuss their progress and any challenges that they might be facing. After the completion of the course, doctoral students are provided with written feedback related to their teaching performance in the course.
German Languages and Literatures: Teacher training in GLL is at a level essentially unsurpassed in other U.S. graduate programs in Germanics. Our language program director, Prof. Cori Crane, has brought many of the best practices and reforms from a now-famous curricular remodel at her graduate institution of Georgetown to the program at Illinois, adapting them to our particular institutional context and needs. Our graduate students have been partners in this project, and now continue to reap its benefits and the benefits of participating in a rigorous process of pedagogical training. Our faculty observations of and feedback on graduate student teaching is another best practice we could share.
Sociology: Our impressive training of students for classroom teaching. Our faculty take seriously the task of mentoring and training students to teach, as evidenced by the number recognized on the Incomplete list.
Accountancy: We immerse our students in research and teaching activities and, as a faculty, become very involved in mentoring and, later, partnering with their research projects.
Curriculum and Instruction: Reflective teaching is highly valued within the department; thus, significant numbers of students engage in the types of innovative pedagogy that we want them to emulate in their future as academics or in government agencies. In addition, doctoral students have unique service opportunities such as working as assistants on academic journals; this experience helps them to understand the criteria for review and publication of manuscripts. The integration of these activities is a hallmark of our doctoral program.
Social Work: Our students obtain a series of “hands-on” teaching training and opportunities. In addition to uniquely designed Social Work Teaching Seminar that helps them understand social work education and the pedagogy of college teaching, they also have the opportunity of first assisting a lead instructor before they become independent instructors. This system of progressive teaching and mentoring has developed over the past several years in response to input from our PhD Program Committee and the School’s PITA initiatives. Our students gain information and experience in teaching through their learning in SOCW 575 “Social Work Teaching Seminar”, a required course on social work education and the pedagogy of college teaching. Successful completion of this course is required prior to receiving an appointment as a teaching assistant. Our TA appointments are designed such that doctoral students have the opportunity of first assisting a lead instructor in an undergraduate class before becoming independent instructors themselves, either as a TA for an undergraduate class or as an adjunct instructor for either an undergraduate or master level class. As lead instructors they are still supervised by the Associate Dean and receive ongoing mentoring and support for their teaching. Also see Teaching Course.
Special Education: We work extremely hard to create collegial, collaborative relationships between faculty and PhD students (i.e., it is not unusual for multiple faculty to mentor any given PhD student with co-teaching between the student and different faculty members).
In addition, Graduate TA Training offered by the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) is required of all first time TAs whose programs don't provide this training, and CTE also offers teaching certificates and many other events and workshops on teaching.