The Teaching and Learning Center and College of Education now offer a teaching certificate program.
The Teaching and Learning Center, alongside the College of Education, now offers a Teaching in Higher Education (THE) certificate program available for graduate students looking to improve their teaching skills. The first set of students recently completed the program.
Ten Temple graduate students earned their certificates, and 138 are currently in the process. The students earning their certificates come from a variety of undergraduate degree programs.
Dr. Pamela E. Barnett, associate vice provost and director at the Teaching and Learning Center, explained.
“It’s a certificate that graduate students in the University can earn that will help improve their teaching practices and also, we hope, will make them more competitive on the academic job market,” Barnett said.
Barnett said having this certificate in a job application could be a plus for universities or a department looking to hire.
“Usually what they’re looking for is people who have research potential and also potential to be very strong teachers,” Barnett said. “To have the certificate would be one way to demonstrate that you really spent some time learning about teaching and trying to develop as a teacher.”
For matriculated graduate students, there are two steps in completing the program. First, there is a three-credit THE seminar. These seminars are specific to the student’s area of education.
Next is a non-credit reflective practicum, in which students teach, reflect and write. Each student constructs a workshop that includes some form of teaching.
“I think it’s an advantage,” Barnett said. “Right now the academic job market in some fields is very, very tight, particularly for students looking to become tenure-track professors. We definitely see it as something that could get someone an advantage or leg up.”
Mona Shater earned her certificate while also working on her master’s degree, hoping to gain an advantage in the job market.
“I molded it into my already-planned curriculum,” Shater said. “I hope that it would provide me an extra edge when applying for a teaching position. I’m not certain that it will, but at least I took an extra step to help me stand out from the competition.”
Shater said most of the course work consisted of reflective papers, exercises and readings on several topics, including universal design, classroom dynamics and classroom management.
“It’s definitely made me think about a lot of things differently. I approach teaching in a different way, keeping in mind the methods and tools I was exposed to,” Shater said.
Tressa Aulenbach, a graduate who received the certificate, said she enjoyed the seminar.
“It’s a very interactive class, and we did a lot of different group work,” Aulenbach said. “A lot of it that I liked was just sharing our stories. Learning from each other really helped also.”
After working as a teaching assistant for a year before enrolling in the program, Aulenbach is going into her second year of teaching life-span development to education majors.
“I really just wanted to learn some better skills of how to interact with students. How to be able to get them to participate a little more, just to make sure I was doing everything that I could to help them,” Aulenbach said.
After completing the THE seminar and the reflective practicum, students must submit their reflective paper, reflective practicum log, certificate application and evidence of teaching form to receive their certificate.
Although the program is fairly new, Aulenbach is hopeful about future enrollment and popularity.
“We’ll tell more people, and hopefully we’ll have the triple benefic, and more people will sign up for it,” Aulenbach said. “I think it really will take off, and I really hope it does.”
Cary Carr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.