Teaching Apprenticeships in Biological Sciences

BIOS 77675-01

To assist with future careers in academia, the department offers several programs aimed at developing classroom and laboratory teaching skills. Several courses in the department offer teaching opportunities for postdocs and graduate students.

Goals
  • To create an advanced teaching role for interested graduate students in the department beyond TA positions.
  • To provide graduate students with a mentored teaching experience that mimics teaching done by a professor.
  • To improve the teaching documentation for the graduate student’s CV for the academic job market.

The Mentor

(suggested activities, can be modified based on individual needs but components 1, 2 and 3 are mandatory)

  1. Allows the apprentices to participate in at least 3 of the following: lecturing, course design, test construction, help/tutoring sessions, implementing innovation/technology. 
  2. Observes the apprentice's class sessions (lecturing, discussions, help sessions, tutoring, etc.)  at least two times and meets with the apprentice to communicate the mentor's observations.
  3. Works with the apprentice to develop a semester plan to be submitted to the Graduate Curriculum Committee for approval.
  4. Invites the apprentice to "shadow" the mentor’s activities connected with being a faculty member. For example, the apprentice might accompany the mentor to one or more committee meetings, advising sessions, and appointments.
  5. Facilitates the apprentice's observation of at least three of the mentor's own class sessions as well as two class sessions taught by other faculty members to gain insight in teaching pedagogy. 
  6. Review the TCEs (official or unofficial) of the apprentice to identify areas for possible improvement.
  7. Writes a final evaluation of the apprentice's teaching to be included in his or her teaching portfolio, and serves as a reference for job searches.

Under no circumstances should the apprentice serve the role of a regular TA. Grading should not be a major role of the apprentice. The apprentice should not be solely used as a lecturer when the faculty member is out of town. This should be an advanced teaching experience that mimics faculty teaching. The apprentice should be asked to work a reasonable amount of time per week, not more than 10 hours/week on average. 


The Apprentice

(suggested activities, can be modified based on individual needs but components 1, 2, 3 are mandatory)

  1. In all activities, takes the initiative to make appointments with the mentor, contacts the mentor by phone and e-mail, and facilitate the mentor's ease of contact with the apprentice.  
  2. Participates in at least 3 of the following: lecturing, course design, test construction, help/tutoring sessions, and implementing innovation/technology with the guidance of the mentor.
  3. Submits a semester proposal to the Graduate Curriculum committee for approval, before the semester starts. This plan should be developed by the mentor and the apprentice (see instructions below).
  4. "Shadows" the mentor through several different kinds of activities connected with being a faculty member at that institution. For example, the apprentice might accompany the mentor to meetings, advising sessions, appointments and the like.
  5. Observes at least three of the mentor's own class sessions as well as two class sessions taught by other faculty members to gain insight in teaching pedagogy.
  6. Prepares a syllabus and/or other materials for the course, using as appropriate previous syllabi for the same course, as well as departmental or institutional guidelines.
  7. Facilitates the observation by the mentor of at least two of the apprentice's class sessions (lecture, discussion, help sessions, tutoring, etc.).
  8. Meets with the mentor to discuss the class observations, teaching evaluations by students, and other teaching issues regularly.
  9. Writes a 3 page final report. The report should outline what the apprentice did, what she or he learned, what were the strengths of the program, and suggestions for improvement. The report should also include any data collected to determine if the aims of the apprenticeship were met and/or whether hypotheses were validated. This report is due to the program coordinator 1 month after the close of the semester.

All Apprenticeships must be approved by the Graduate Curriculum Committee. A written proposal of the activities that the apprentice will carry out should be submitted to M. Whaley before the semester starts. This should be accompanied by an explanation of why the activities are pedagogically sound and what they will add to the course. The best proposals have been written with specific aims and hypotheses.  Michelle Whaley can provide an example of a proposal if desired. A short email from the research advisor allowing participation in this opportunity is also necessary for approval.