Guidelines & Criteria

Guidelines for Student Taught Courses

  1. A student instructor must first complete a required course on pedagogy (COLL 300) before they will be permitted to teach a STC.

  2. A student must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and be enrolled at Rice for at least two semesters before teaching a class. Students must be enrolled at Rice for at least 1 full semester before proposing a class.

  3. A student instructor cannot be paid a salary, but is awarded 1 credit hour for teaching the course. Colleges should first have the student instructor register in a teaching practicum (COLL 200) that is overseen by the college magister. The faculty sponsor of the STC is additionally responsible for the course, and should be involved in its planning, operations, and grading. The sponsor is also expected to attend at least 1 class and meet regularly with the student instructor.

  4. All student-taught courses are offered for one credit hour.

  5. The classes must be graded on a satisfactory/non-satisfactory scale—this is functionally equivalent to pass/fail, but does not count against a student’s quota for pass/fail courses.

  6. Student-taught courses must have an enrollment cap of 19 or fewer.

  7. A student may take as many STCs as they like. As College (COLL) courses, these are listed on the academic transcript.

  8. Students may not audit STCs and no more than three hours of COLL credit may be applied towards the satisfaction of a student's graduation requirements.

COLL 300: Pedagogy for Student Instructors

Aspiring student instructors who have not already taught an STC must complete the 1-credit hour COLL 300: Pedagogy for Student Instructors prior to teaching an STC. This course is offered every term. It meets 90 minutes per week for the first six weeks of the term. The goal of COLL 300 is to provide students with tools and knowledge with which to (1) develop a strong STC proposal and (2) become effective instructors.

Evaluation Criteria from the Center for Teaching Excellence

  1. It is the student’s responsibility to present the course proposal to his/her College Master for College approval and subsequent recommendation to the Center for Teaching Excellence. To ensure that there is sufficient time for review within the college, each proposal should be submitted to the college magisters with sufficient time in advance of the proposal deadline, as specified by the college magisters.

  2. Does the title/topic of the course match the syllabus/subject matter? In other words, will the course actually address what the instructor claims they will teach? Similarly, does the course teach what should be covered in a course on that topic, as judged by an expert in the general field? As an important part of this criterion, the subject matter of the course must not already be offered at Rice.

  3. Is the topic sufficiently well-defined that the topic can be covered in the limited amount of time for a 1 credit course? The course should not sacrifice depth for breadth and should not attempt to accomplish too much within the constraints of a student taught course.

  4. Does the course provide more than one perspective on the topic? In other words, has the instructor included additional appropriate readings, guest lectures, videos, etc. into the syllabus for the course? A good course provides the students with a synthesis of material from more than one viewpoint. There are numerous ways to accomplish this synthesis. The course needs to present more than just the student instructor’s own view. The course proposal should include a detailed plan for providing both synthesis and multiple perspectives, along with an explanation of the instructor’s qualifications to teach a course on the subject matter.

  5. Do the assignments in the course actually match the learning objectives and the subject matter of the course? Will a student who completes the assignments have met the objectives of the course? This is particularly important since the courses are graded S/U only.

  6. For courses which involve physical activity or skills development, are the appropriate safety precautions and training in place? Risk management should be consulted, and for physical activity courses which require appropriate spaces, the Director of the Recreation Center and the Director of the Lifetime Physical Activity Program must be consulted.

  7. Does the course proposal have the support of the faculty associates of the college? This can be provided in a manner determined by the college magisters and may include a designated subset of the faculty associates. To ensure that there is sufficient time for review within the college, each proposal should be submitted to the college magisters with sufficient time in advance of the proposal deadline, as specified by the college magisters. The masters may find it helpful to have the input of the academic fellows/mentors in the college during this process.

  8. The best procedural step to ensure that the answers to these questions are positive is through the mentoring provided by the faculty sponsor. This is facilitated when the faculty sponsor provides a statement (approximately 1 page) addressing the substance of the course, the supporting materials, the learning objectives, and the assignments. As such, it is imperative that the student instructor work with the faculty sponsor from the outset of the planning process, rather than at the last minute.