Teaching Practicum

Purpose and Availability

The teaching practicum gives graduate students an opportunity to become familiar with a range of undergraduate teaching through sustained observation of and limited participation in a class taught by a member of the graduate faculty.

All undergraduate classes except required writing classes and seminars capped at 15 may, if the instructor chooses, be made available for the one-credit teaching practicum. Before the beginning of each semester, the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) will ask for volunteers among the graduate faculty and will then circulate to graduate students a list of available classes, with meeting time, topic, and instructor. Students may indicate their interest in a class, and faculty members will select (based on fit, demand, etc.) from among those who have expressed interest. The option is open to both doctoral and second-year master’s students, but doctoral students will have priority if demand exceeds supply.

Scope of Participation

The practicum is a one-credit independent study (ENGL 8407) and is not equivalent to an Stipended Graduate Assistantship (SGA) assignment. Graduate students taking the practicum may not be asked (or allowed) to calculate or assign any grades, to teach a class in the instructor’s absence, or to perform any other duties of the instructor of record. Graduate students assigned to a class will be expected to attend a preponderance of the class meetings. The student and the faculty member will meet outside of class to consult about the student’s participation in pedagogical activities, which might include teaching a class or portion of a class, generating assignments, responding to student writing, and developing grading criteria.

Assessment and Outcomes

The faculty member will write a narrative evaluation based on the student’s contribution to the conduct of the class. The faculty member should either include in the evaluation or write up separately language that can later be used in letters of recommendation for teaching positions.

Toward the end of each term, the GSC will hold a seminar for graduate students and faculty participating in the practicum. The seminar will provide an opportunity for participants both to share their specific experiences and also to generalize across classrooms about challenges, strategies, and outcomes.