Internet Explorer Detected

The Penn State Graduate School website is best experienced in Firefox or Google Chrome. It is highly recommended that you use an alternative browser.

Penn State CIRTL Teaching Certificate Program

CIRTL banner

Preparing the Next Generation of Faculty 

Penn State graduate students and postdoctoral scholars can hone their teaching skills by completing the Penn State CIRTL Teaching Certificate program. CIRTL — the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning — is a 45-university consortium that helps graduate students and postdocs learn how to teach college courses more effectively. Penn State is a CIRTL member, which means all graduate students, postdocs, and faculty members can access CIRTL programming for free. 

Eligibility 

To be eligible to receive Penn State CIRTL teaching certificate, you must be either: 

  • A graduate student enrolled in any graduate degree program, or 
  • A postdoctoral scholar conducting research at Penn State 

How the Penn State CIRTL Certificate Works 

There are three possible levels of CIRTL certificate at Penn State. The one you choose to pursue will depend on your interests and available time.  

Associate

In this introductory level, you will explore ideas about how to teach in ways that are evidence-based, equitable, and effective. You will also participate in a learning community where you discuss teaching/learning topics with peers. 

Practitioner

At this level, you will implement evidence-based, equitable, and effective strategies in planning a project focused on a teaching/learning environment. In addition, you must fulfill all requirements for the preceding (Associate) level. If interested in more information about the Practitioner level, send an email to CIRTL@psu.edu.

Scholar

At this level, you will do research on your own TAing or teaching and will present it to an academic audience or submit it for publication in an academic journal. In addition, you must fulfill all requirements for the preceding (Associate & Practitioner) levels. If interested in more information about the Scholar level, send an email to CIRTL@psu.edu.

For students who were completing the Graduate School Teaching Certificate: 

The Graduate School Teaching Certificate will be replaced with the Penn State CIRTL Certificate as of the Spring 2024 semester. Those who are nearing completion of the Graduate School Teaching Certificate will be able to complete that program. The one change is that the final requirement to develop a website will be changed to developing a written statement of teaching philosophy. See the full requirements for the previous certificate below. Please send an email message to cirtl@psu.edu if you have any questions. 

  • Attend the Schreyer Institute New Instructor Orientation or an equivalent teaching orientation that includes lesson planning, teaching methods, and strategies to encourage student participation.
  • Complete one semester of SUBJ 602 Supervised Experience in College Teaching in the graduate student's program under the direction of a mentor. A grade of B or higher is required.
  • Complete the Schreyer Institute Penn State Course in College Teaching or HIED 806 Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.*  Questions regarding the Schreyer Institute Course in College Teaching should be directed to site@psu.edu.
  • Complete an additional semester of SUBJ 602, to include either a block of lectures prepared and presented by the graduate student, or total responsibility for a lab or recitation section. A grade of B or higher is required.
  • Develop a website that includes a statement of teaching philosophy and demonstration of the ability to develop a PowerPoint presentation. Assistance with this project may be obtained through the Information Technology website. These free courses are not required for the Teaching Certificate but are available if needed.

Penn State CIRTL Associate Certificate 

This initial level is the foundation of teaching and learning. While completing this certificate, you will explore ideas about how to teach in ways that are evidence-based, equitable, and effective. You will also participate in a learning community where you discuss teaching/learning topics with peers. 

The Penn State CIRTL Teaching Certificate program focuses on three main learning objectives: Evidence-Based and Effective Teaching, Equitable and Inclusive Teaching, and Building Community.  

Evidence-Based and Effective Teaching 

  • Define evidence-based teaching  
  • Discuss psychology of learning concepts 
  • Discuss learning strategies  
  • Describe and evaluate objectives, activities, and assessments and their alignment with one another  
  • Define and give examples of active learning   
  • Discuss and illustrate effective facilitation of group work  
  • List and demonstrate effective presentation skills  
  • Discuss grading and demonstrate familiarity with the role of feedback, equity issues in grading, mastery/specifications grading, and grading rubrics 

Equitable and Inclusive Teaching 

  • Describe and differentiate terms that commonly arise in discussions of diversity, equity, and inclusion in learning  
  • Describe how diversity enhances learning  
  • Explain how inequities, biases, and institutional structures can negatively impact learning  
  • Explain how an instructor’s beliefs and biases can influence student learning 
  • Explain the importance of the instructor in creating an inclusive classroom culture  
  • Describe Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and its key elements 

Building Community 

  • Describe and explain the value of participating in a learning community  
  • Discuss teaching and learning topics with colleagues and peers  
  • Reflect on and incorporate constructive feedback related to teaching  
  • Provide constructive feedback on teaching  

  • Participate in course(s), workshops, and webinars offered either at Penn State or through the CIRTL Network that serve to meet the Evidence-Based and Effective Teaching, and Equitable and Inclusive Teaching Learning Objectives. View a matrix showing current Penn State and CIRTL courses that meet particular learning objectives.
  • Participate in a Learning Community. There are two ways to meet this requirement:
    • Participate in a pedagogical learning community sponsored by Penn State CIRTL, an academic program, a self-organized group of graduate students or postdocs, or the CIRTL network, or  
    • Complete a SUBJ 602 course (e.g., CHEM 602) as a TA in which the course instructional team serves as the learning community. Note that that the TA assignment must involve: 
      1. Teaching activities that go beyond serving as a grader. The assignment must involve interactions with students such as being responsible for leading lab sessions or discussion sections. 
      2. Discussion with the instructor and other TAs (if there are multiple) about the assigned teaching activities. 
      3. Feedback from a TA supervisor. 
  • Complete a Final Reflection 
    • Reflection (1-2 pages, a 3- to 5-minute video, or other means of expression) that demonstrates how the individual has met the objectives and integrated their learning experiences from the workshops, courses, webinars, and insights from participation in the pedagogy learning community into their personal approach to teaching.
      OR
    • A teaching philosophy statement. This may be the best option for those who have had an opportunity to implement what they have learned. 

    A teaching philosophy includes an instructor’s beliefs about teaching and learning, and how they integrate that into their teaching. It describes how learning happens in courses you teach through examples of learning activities, instructor-student and student-student interactions, and learning assessments. See Writing a Teaching Philosophy

Penn State CIRTL Practitioner Certificate 

At this level, you will implement evidence-based, equitable, and effective strategies in planning a project focused on a teaching/learning environment.

  1. Equitable & Inclusive Teaching
    • Prepare/select strategies to address microaggressions that occur when teaching.
    • Analyze a course for inclusivity & inclusive teaching practices
    • Analyze course materials for accessibility, and suggest accessibility solutions related to any items that would cause barriers for students with disabilities.
    • Select appropriate instructional strategies to create inclusive and equitable learning environments.
  2. Building Community
    • Develop a plan for building community in a course.
    • Actively participate in an existing learning community or develop a learning community associated with a teaching/learning project.
  3. Evidence-based & Effective Teaching

Develop either A or B as described in detail below:

A. Create an accessible syllabus and content plan for a course that you are likely to teach as a graduate instructor or new faculty member. The syllabus and learning plan should include:

  • Learning objectives and outcomes that are aligned with a degree program curriculum and phrased appropriately.
  • Inclusive course content, teaching strategies, and assessment plans (this will require knowledge of inequities faced by students underrepresented in higher education without stigmatizing or making assumptions about them).
  • A rationale and a plan for creating a learning community (or communities) in the course.
  • Assessment methods that allow students to demonstrate their learning of course material.
  • Explanations of the concept and value of academic integrity – i.e., syllabus language and a brief verbal script that could be used on the first day of a course
  • A plan for gathering feedback from students during the course.

OR

B. Create a proposal for a course-focused intervention and research project to improve student learning (i.e., a SOTL project—Scholarship of Teaching and Learning). This proposal can be anything from helping to design a module for a course with high DFW rates to designing a study on assessing a learning intervention. You can receive guidance on planning your proposal from CIRTL@psu.edu. The proposal should include:

  • Background information from the literature on teaching and learning
  • A research question focused on teaching and learning in the course
  • An approach to address the research question
  • A plan for gathering information about the project’s impacts on student learning

Penn State CIRTL Scholar Certificate 

At this level, you will do research on your own TAing or teaching and will present it to an academic audience or submit it for publication in an academic journal.

Engage in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

  • Actually conduct SoTL research (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning – research on a college course or learning environment) that has received Institutional Research Board (IRB) human subjects research approval. You can receive guidance on planning and implementing your project from CIRTL@psu.edu. 
  • Share your research with others in one or more of these ways:
     
    • Write up your research and submit the article to a peer-reviewed journal. (If you achieve publication, that’s wonderful—but not mandatory.) See a list of journals that publish SOTL research.

      OR
       
    • Present your SOTL research at a conference, the CIRTL Network’s annual spring exhibition, or a Penn State event focused on sharing SoTL research. 

 

The Penn State CIRTL Canvas hub provides participants with detailed resources to navigate the certificate process. Participants use a self-enrollment link to get into the hub, after which they can access the hub on their Canvas dashboard or by direct link.

This page was generated on June 16, 2024 at 6:45 PM local time. This may not be the most recent version of this page. Check the Penn State Graduate School website for updates.