An important aspect of the Center for Teaching Excellence’s mission is to provide resources both for graduate students who are currently TAs or instructors of record at Rice, as well as for graduate students who wish to build academic careers in which teaching will play a significant role. As a part of these efforts, we recently established an accredited certificate program in pedagogy. Once completed, this Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning (GCTL) will appear on students' transcripts, providing a valuable credential to add to their CVs. The program was officially approved by the Faculty Senate on November 12, 2014.
The GCTL provides participants with a combination of formal pedagogical training, practical experience, and mentoring that will prepare them to be effective college teachers. The courses that comprise the GCTL are as follows:
- UNIV 500: PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE COLLEGE TEACHING
This course provides an overview of essential, research-based methods used by college instructors to enhance the quality of student learning. Topics will include course and syllabus design, student engagement, classroom management, and more. The course will culminate with the development of a teaching philosophy and a sample syllabus. 3 Credit Hours. Fall Only.
- UNIV 501: RESEARCH ON TEACHING AND LEARNING
This course explores scholarship on teaching and learning in detail with special attention to the breadth of approaches and methodologies. The culminating project will be a literature review in an area of interest. 3 Credit Hours. Spring Only.
- UNIV 502: PRACTICUM IN COLLEGE TEACHING
This practicum allows students to design and deliver teaching demonstrations and to receive feedback on their work. The course will also focus on the place of teaching in the broader landscapes of higher education and the academic job market. 3 Credit Hours. Fall and Spring.
- UNIV 599: TEACHING PORTFOLIO
This independent study serves as a capstone to the UNIV sequence on teaching and learning. Students will meet individually with the instructor to plan and complete a teaching portfolio. 2 Credit Hours. All Year.
Currently, some departments have pedagogy seminars on the books, whereas many others do not. We do not envision this certificate program competing with departmental pedagogy courses, but instead providing a complement to these disciplinary offerings, because we will be addressing the broad landscape of pedagogical techniques and research. By the same token, students in departments that do not have such courses can benefit from a close study of best practices in teaching and learning. Those students who have taken a 3-credit, department-level pedagogy course may substitute it for UNIV 500.
To officially apply to the certificate program, complete "Graduate Declaration of University Certificate" located in the Registrar's form database. Students may complete this form at any point during their enrollment in the courses above.
Please contact the Center for Teaching Excellence at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
All graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are welcome to attend these 3-hour interactive workshops held once a semester. Our fall topic is "Preparing to Teach as a Graduate Student and Beyond," and our spring topic is "Preparing for the Academic Job Market."
At Rice University, teaching assistants (TAs) play an important role in the success of many of the university’s courses. Serving as a teaching assistant provides many benefits to the students and faculty as well as the graduate student taking on this role. Directly assisting and working with undergraduates and one’s peers brings with it many rewards in addition to many responsibilities. The CTE’s Teaching Assistant training takes place in the first few weeks of every semester and is designed to provide students who are currently TAs or plan to be TAs in the future with the tools to be successful teaching assistants. Topics covered in the training include:
- Institutional Policies (ADA, FERPA, etc.)
- Grading and Rubrics
- Mentoring, Office Hours, and Other Kinds of One-on-One Teaching
- Teaching Tips
Each semester, the CTE hosts at least one formal research presentation on a specific question addressed within the scholarship of teaching and learning. The "What's New in Research on Teaching and Learning" talks take place over lunch (provided by the CTE) and are open to all faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students.
Each spring, the CTE leads a Reading Group on an important book in the field of teaching and learning. The CTE Reading Group is open to all instructors at Rice and is a terrific chance to discuss research on teaching with colleagues from many disciplines. The CTE purchases books for all who register, and books are distributed at the first group meeting.