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Teaching Preparation Series

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Teaching Preparation Series

The Faculty Innovation Center and campus partners offer a professional development opportunity for graduate student instructors to learn about, observe, practice, receive feedback on, and reflect upon classroom teaching techniques. Some of these campus partners include: Title IX Office, Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), University Ombuds Office, Sanger Learning Center, and the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC). Join us in our online sessions to learn about teaching!

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What are the benefits?

Participants who complete multiple sessions will receive a Certificate of Completion that acts as a credential demonstrating your investment in professional development to future employers.  Participants who attend three workshops and upload a reflection will earn the Teaching Preparation Certificate. Participants who complete 7 sessions and submit a qualifying Teaching Statement for an Advanced Teaching Preparation Certificate. 

What will I learn?

You can expect to learn about a variety of skills and concepts regarding teaching and learning, improve your pedagogy, and connect with peers from across campus to improve upon your teaching. Below, you can find typical session descriptions in the series.

Understanding your role: How do I work effectively with students & faculty?

As a graduate student, you assume many roles: teacher, instructor, as well as student. In this workshop, you will learn about and apply theories of self-directed learning to students and oneself’s achievement, as well as gain strategies about setting expectations and working effectively with students and faculty.

Students with disabilities

How do I provide equal access and foster inclusion through academic accommodations?

Instructors are responsible for providing equal access to information and reducing barriers to learning for all students. For students with disabilities, this might be accomplished through the provision of academic accommodations. Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Assistant Instructors (AIs) are often assigned to facilitate accommodations. In each course, TAs and AIs have an opportunity to create an inclusive environment and foster meaningful participation in the classroom since students often feel more comfortable communicating with them. During this session, you will learn about how to work with students with disabilities in your role as a TA or AI!

Lesson planning: How do I structure my time in the classroom?

In this hands-on and collaborative workshop, participants will learn the basic outline of a lesson and practice creating these steps for their own teaching material: the objective, introduction, activity, wrap-up, and assessment. We will dwell on the “activity” stage to discuss scaffolding techniques, which enable instructors to build to advanced material. Finally, participants will brainstorm assessment methods to check if their lesson plans were successful. Instructors will leave with a useable lesson plan for their classrooms.

Drafting teaching statements: How do I articulate my beliefs about teaching?

Learn the characteristics of an effective teaching statement —including what search committees look for —and begin drafting/refining your statement to vibrantly convey your teaching values and the instructional choices you make to help students achieve learning goals.

Grading & feedback: How do I quickly and fairly assess student work?

Proponents of the grading philosophy known as minimal marking argue that “the best mark is that which allows students to correct the most on their own with the least help.” In this workshop, we’ll talk about why we assign grades to individual assignments, explore the ideas behind minimal marking, and consider how rubrics can save time and create a fairer and more instructive experience for your students.

Workshop your teaching statement: What is working? What can I improve?

FIC staff will facilitate an asynchronous peer workshop in which participants will receive feedback on their teaching statement drafts and share suggestions to strengthen others' statements with vivid examples of teaching strategies and learner-centered goals.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) statements

How do I communicate my experiences and commitment to diversity?

Learn about the components of DEI statements—which are becoming an increasingly integral part of job market materials—and the role of these statements in your applications. This workshop will provide the opportunity to critically reflect on what diversity means to you and how you demonstrate a commitment to diversity, as well as to begin articulating how these values are apparent in your current practice and future goals.

Title IX: How does my role as a responsible employee impact my teaching practice?

Dive into a comprehensive overview of Title IX at UT Austin. We will discuss Title IX, UT Austin's sex discrimination policy, mandatory reporting duties for employees,strategies for prevention, interventions, and support available for Title IX related incidents.

Facilitating asynchronous discussions: How can I foster student participation to enhance learning?

Discussion can be an effective classroom tool to reach a variety of course goals. In this session, you will identify course goals you may achieve through discussion, consider instructor anxieties regarding discussion, learn tools to facilitate effective discussions, and gain knowledge about a range of discussion schemes and strategies.

Trauma-Informed Pedagogy

How do I help students engage with difficult material without putting them at risk?

In this workshop, we talk through what it means to be trauma-informed and how we might create a trauma-informed space in our classrooms. First, in an asynchronous video, we’ll learn about implementable trauma-informed pedagogical practices to work into our learning spaces, ranging from small discussion sections to large online classrooms. After this overview, in a synchronous Zoom session, we discuss specific scenarios as a group, to see how we might respond to difficult situations with a trauma-informed approach.

Teaching Practice

Teaching Practice is a teaching improvement technique that involves an instructor delivering a mini-lesson (10-12 minutes) to a small group of peers in order to receive detailed feedback on their teaching effectiveness. It is a great opportunity for instructors to try new teaching strategies in a safe environment.

Transferrable Skills of Teaching: How do I communicate my skills to employers?

Through teaching, you have developed multiple skills that are applicable to careers beyond academia: from leadership and management to communication and public speaking. Learn how to identify the skills you employ in teaching to market your skill set for diverse career pathways. In this workshop, you will reflect upon and evaluate your skills and experiences. You will learn how to analyze job listings, tailor your resumes, and communicate the transferrable nature of your teaching skills to an employer.

How we learn: How can I use pedagogical theory to make learning last?

Join us for an introductory crash course in the cognitive theories underlying learning and memory. Discover how you can leverage these theories to encourage deep, meaningful, long-lasting learning for your students.

How can I register?

Self-enroll in our Canvas course for the Series.

What have others said?

“I really enjoyed the series and learned a lot of information that I feel will be applicable in my future teaching career.”

“[H]aving the certification impresses a lot of search committees. It's been a great talking point when they ask about my teaching experience and training.”

“I've had several tenure track job interviews [...] and I think a lot of it is because I am able to talk really clearly about teaching and pedagogy in my statements, which I learned in the classes.”