College Teaching Preparation

Associate Director
Gina Hurley

GraDuate certificate of COllege Teaching Preparation

The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning sponsors the Graduate Certificate of College Teaching Preparation (CCTP), which students can pursue in conjunction with graduate-degree programs in the Graduate Schools of Arts and Sciences. The goal of this certificate program is to equip students with transferrable skills that are valuable on the job market and for careers involving teaching and mentoring. There is no formal application procedure for this certificate, and the program is open to all graduate students at Yale University.

Upon completion of the CCTP, graduate students will understand and be able to do the following:

  • Articulate learning goals for students, the nature of learning, and effective teaching strategies that can support specific learning goals 
  • Design processes to assess what students have learned
  • Use relevant secondary literature, including research about high-impact teaching
  • Describe learning theories
  • Create opportunities for learning communities 
  • Use and promote strategies that value diversity and positively impact classroom equity
  • Develop scholarship in teaching and learning within the context of higher education
  • Leverage communities, including classrooms, institutions, departments, and the general public to impact teaching and learning

General Requirements

Completion of the CCTP requires a total time commitment of approximately forty-five hours and can occur over the course of months or years. Options for completion are flexible and self-paced. The program requires: 

1. Two terms of teaching in the Yale Teaching Fellow Program (as a teaching fellow or part-time acting instructor)

2. Completion of training and development workshops/courses (see Workshop Requirements below)

3. Two observations of teaching by others with written reflections

4. Two occasions of being observed teaching with written reflections

5. Participation in two learning communities
    a. CCTP participants are required to participate in two learning communities that focus on teaching, as opposed to research. These groups can be as small as three to five people or much larger. They should meet at least four times. 
    b. Potential focuses for a learning community might include:
        i. job market working groups, which can workshop teaching materials in preparation for academic job searches;
        ii. disciplinary pedagogy, focused on teaching within a given field; or
        iii. interdisciplinary pedagogy, focused on broad topics such as anti-racist teaching, accessibility, active learning, or STEM education. 

6. Compilation of a teaching portfolio and completion of an exit interview with CTL Staff (see Teaching Portfolio below) 

Workshop Requirements

Participants will complete a range of introductory and intermediate or advanced teaching workshops:

  1. Introduction to Teaching, either: 
        a. one Fundamentals of Teaching series (participants may select the topic) or
        b. one Scientific Teaching Fellows course (BBS 879 or PHYS 530)
  2. Completion of eight Poorvu Center advanced/intermediate workshops (or CIRTL Network Workshops/Short Courses). Please note that the requirement regarding intermediate vs. advanced workshops was revised in fall 2022. Participants who joined the program before that term may disregard it.
        a. Up to six workshops can be “intermediate” teaching workshops. Intermediate teaching workshops do not presuppose any previous engagement with the topic but will draw on topics covered in the CIRTL MOOC/Scientific Teaching Fellows Course.
        b. At least two of these teaching workshops should be designated as “advanced.” Participants may take as many advanced workshops as they wish. 

Teaching Portfolio

The teaching portfolio requires graduate students to document the sum of their college teaching experience and articulate the unique perspective on teaching that they have acquired from it. The Portfolio also allows them to articulate their teaching experience and ability for presentation to prospective academic employers. The format we have chosen is consistent with portfolios that are often part of an application for an academic position.

The portfolio should include a range of teaching-related materials, along with annotations for each one that describe context for the course, insight into how the materials were or will be used, and any additional information that would help the reader more fully understand the decisions made in designing this course.

The portfolio should include the following materials: 

  1. Teaching statement (no annotation required)
  2. Sample course materials, e.g., policy sheet, syllabus, test questions, handouts, rubrics, review materials, in-class activities, or lesson plans 
  3. Two newly developed syllabi
  4. Student evaluations, if applicable
  5. Optional: Letters of support or consultation reports from observers who may be faculty or students. This category may include letters solicited from faculty or students as well as informal emails from students or others commenting on the participant’s teaching.

The portfolio should also include an account of the requirements fulfilled as part of the CCTP along with a reflective narrative. These items require no annotation. 

  • A list of teaching experiences at Yale or elsewhere
  • A list of Poorvu Center workshops attended
  • A brief, one-line description of learning communities
  • Documentation from observations
  • A brief reflective narrative about the participant’s experience in the CCTP program (one to two double-spaced pages).

Filing for the Award of the Certificate

When they have fulfilled all relevant requirements, participants will complete their experience by submitting the teaching portfolio and undergoing an exit interview. The exit interview is a fifty-minute meeting with a Poorvu Center staff member. Participants spend twenty-five minutes offering reflections on the program and in the final twenty-five minutes, receive feedback on one or two items of their choice in the portfolio.