Binghamton University's Graduate School was one of the first in the U.S. to offer a university-wide Certificate of Completion in College/University Teaching, preparing graduate students for higher education teaching.
The program, approved by the Graduate Council in May 1996, may be integrated into academic studies at any point in a current degree-seeking graduate student's academic career at Binghamton University.
What is the value of earning such a certificate? It helps you organize your teaching credentials and portfolio, articulate your teaching philosophy, and demonstrate your teaching experiences and abilities when pursuing teaching opportunities.
The "add-on" Certificate recognizes work performed by teaching graduate students over the course of their graduate careers as they prepare for class, develop assignments, evaluate student work, and reflect on their teaching experiences. In addition, students complete four types of activities:
Includes Teaching Assistant Orientation events and online module, Teaching Events, workshops on Writing Across the Curriculum, and workshops for linked courses or General Education courses. Completion of 12 hours of participation in courses, teaching workshops, conferences and teaching alliance discussions. Documentation is required. GRD 671, 672 and 676 can be applied toward this requirement.
Includes courses on teaching, teaching practicum activities, colloquia gatherings of teaching staffs in large courses, and professional development meetings for graduate student teachers organized by graduate programs.
The experience of teaching, together with the varieties of evaluation (observation and guidance by a faculty supervisor and student evaluations) that make teachers into reflective practitioners. Recipients of the Certificate will have demonstrated teaching and presentational skills. They may have taught as TAs, GAs, RAs, adjuncts, or in any other capacity.
As a capstone activity, the preparation of a teaching portfolio allows advanced graduate teachers to draw together their experiences and to reflect on their philosophies of teaching. The portfolio communicates a teacher's goals and accomplishments. It may include student evaluations, syllabi, individual lesson plans and assignments, evaluated student work, handouts, and a statement of the candidate's teaching goals and philosophy.
Develop a Learning Contract: Your Learning Contract will be a proposal (no longer than a page or two) documenting how and when you intend to accomplish the requirements for the teaching certificate. You'll work closely with your graduate director to create this document and to plan ways of fulfilling the requirements which meet the general rubric of the certificate's specifications. There may be various ways and combinations of fulfilling the requirements, and your plan might be individualized for your own course of study; the Learning Contract is a way to develop a plan that is meaningful and appropriate for you. Once you've written your Learning Contract, you'll need to submit a copy to both your graduate director and the Graduate School (email@example.com), so that both parties will be made aware of your intent to pursue the certificate.
Upon Completing Your Requirements: When you have completed your requirements, including the compilation of your teaching portfolio, you should submit the final document to your graduate director, so she or he can verify your successful completion of all items. Please also submit a copy to the Graduate School. When you are ready, you will need to fill out the Graduate Application for Degree form to formally apply for your certificate. This will be done separately from your application for your graduate degree.
Note: As you progress with your fulfillment of certificate requirements, be sure to document and make duplicate copies of all your activities related to your progress. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact The Graduate School's Assistant Dean of Admissions and Recruitment, Kishan Zuber (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Departments may offer some courses in college teaching and need to supervise their TAs/IORs to facilitate their graduate student teachers' ability to complete the Certificate. Departments should provide some guidance for the development of a teaching portfolio by graduate students. The national initiative on Preparing Future Faculty encourages this kind of training and recommends the following courses, sequence and portfolio description.
Stage I. Assist faculty instructor at 100-level, either in large lecture class with discussion sections or medium-sized course. In either case, the instructor should provide the graduate student with some opportunity for teaching experience, either in the form of leading discussion sections or giving guest lectures.
Stage II. After the completion of at least one semester's experience at Stage I, students may register for the 500-level courses on college teaching. Occasionally, and with the permission of the instructor, students who have not had Stage 1 experience may be allowed to enroll. Students who have not completed Stage II may not proceed to Stage III.
Stage III. Students who have completed the two courses are eligible to teach as Instructor of Record in one of the department's courses, with the permission and assignment by the Chair of the department. Please note that a department cannot guarantee an instructor-of-record opportunity nor are there any entitlements to these positions.
It is expected that IORs within the department's regular curriculum will have assisted in those courses prior to teaching them. Graduate IORs work with a faculty mentor to develop course syllabi and design their courses. Faculty mentors agree to assist in this process and to be available for consultations as appropriate. Faculty mentors will also review the student's teaching portfolio, if appropriate, and recommend certification to the Graduate Committee.
Last Updated: 3/4/13