As part of the “Professional Development” section for my portfolio requirements (in lieu of comprehensive exams, I will defend a professional portfolio in order to become a Ph.D. Candidate before the semester over – I will blog about this in the near future), I am completing a variety of professional workshops, pre-conferences, colloquiums, and training events in my field to enhance my doctoral course work. I was just accepted to the Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Program (G*STEP) program, with approximately 85 other University of North Texas graduate students, who will complete the G*STEP certificate over the next 12 months.
As indicated by the image, the goal of the G*STEP program is to initiate mentoring, encourage personal growth, and support effective teaching and learning practices for graduate students. This non-credit certificate program was developed by the Toulouse Graduate School, the Center for Learning Enhancement, Assessment, and Redesign (CLEAR),the Provost’s office, Undergraduate Studies, UNT Libraries, and the UNT Program of Higher Education to promote effective teaching in higher education at UNT.
UNT would like to reach their FOUR BOLD GOALS for teaching effectiveness, which can be grouped into these three key factors:
1. Providing organized and clear instruction that contributes to understanding and promotes learning
2. Creating a learning environment that is inclusive, respectful and engaging
3. Guiding and encouraging self-directed learning resulting in a wider understanding and contribution to the learning process.
Although I already have teaching experience, in both the K-12 and higher education classroom, I thought the G*STEP program would improve my instructional craft, enhance my pedagogical methods, and connect me to other graduate students in various disciplines – to learn about their teaching practices, challenges and resources. The only cost to the program is purchasing Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers and committing my time/effort to the program for the duration of the twelve months. As I plug through the online modules (8 total) and face-to-face meetings (6 total), I will be sure to share my contributions, reflections and progress here.