Graduate Student Teaching Apprenticeship Program


This program supports graduate students in the Colleges of Science and Engineering in carrying out a mentored advanced teaching experience within their department. The teaching activities will be jointly determined by the faculty mentor and the apprentice and could include: class observation, literature review, planned micro-teaching, etc. Students who complete this program are also eligible for the Advanced Teaching Scholar Certificate

The apprenticeship program is designed to advance a graduate student’s experience in university teaching and learning beyond the regular TA responsibilities of grading, running discussion sessions and labs, or taking over a faculty member’s class in case of absence. Participation in the program should familiarize graduate students with the teaching and general faculty culture of their field, as well as enable them to work together with a faculty member in addressing particular issues in teaching and learning.

The apprentice should spend approximately 30 hours over the course of one semester on apprenticeship activities.

Suggested Program Activities:

  • Mentor facilitates the apprentice’s observation of several of the mentor’s class sessions or class sessions of other faculty members. The apprentice practices using classroom observation instruments designed to improve teaching and analyzes the results of the observation with the mentor. 
  • Mentor involves the apprentice in course development. For example, the apprentice might assist in developing student assignments, demonstrations of course content, notes, handouts, exams, etc. 
  • Mentor allows the apprentice to give a guest lecture or lead other classroom activities. The mentor observes the class activity and analyzes the apprentice’s performance in a follow-up meeting. The Kaneb Center can suggest strategies and instruments for classroom observation and post-observation analysis.
  • Apprentice develops his/her own teaching portfolio that includes, at a minimum, a teaching philosophy and an analysis of his/her course evaluations.
  • Mentor and apprentice read and discuss articles on teaching in the discipline. The Kaneb Center can recommend articles.
  • Mentor invites the apprentice to participate in faculty activities, such as advising sessions, discussions of course design, curriculum development committee meetings, or other activities related to teaching.
  • Other, needs approval.

Benefits to Faculty Mentors:

  • Mentors can implement a new teaching strategy with the help of the apprentice.
  • The apprentice can offer more targeted attention to students in a course than the professor alone could.
  • The apprentice can develop electronic course management tools for a faculty member.

Benefits to Apprentices:

  • The apprenticeship prepares graduate students for the academic job market by providing the opportunity to develop a teaching portfolio and by increasing their confidence in their teaching abilities.
  • The apprenticeship introduces graduate students to the professional life and culture of academic teaching as future practitioners and departmental colleagues. 
  • The apprentice develops a personalized guided study of university teaching and learning. 

Application Process

Interested students must have passed their candidacy exams to be eligible for this program. A recommendation letter and approval from the student’s research advisor is required. The student is responsible for finding a mentor in his/her own department or academic unit but may consult the Kaneb Center for suggestions on possible choices. The student then submits a proposal (500 words) outlining his/her previous teaching experience and the following: 

  • goals of the mentor and student
  • specific course involved and the proposed teaching or course development activities to be carried out
  • activities to introduce the student to faculty teaching culture
  • general timeline of apprentice-mentor meetings and partnership stages (student-mentor involvement is typically one semester but can be longer as needed)

A faculty member in the student’s department must serve as program liaison/coordinator who will examine and approve the proposal along with the Kaneb Center. All application materials must be submitted at least two weeks before the start of each semester. This apprenticeship may be completed in conjunction with a departmental teaching assignment as long as a clear list of apprenticeship responsibilities, in addition to and separate from the regular TA responsibilities, is provided and fulfilled. Significant changes to the proposal in the course of the apprenticeship must receive prior approval.

When the apprenticeship is completed the mentor will provide a final review and evaluation of the apprentices' performance for the student's file. This includes: a list of the activities carried out; the benefits to the apprentice and mentor; an evaluation of the student’s performance from the mentor; a summary (500 words) of the experience by the apprentice, and a teaching portfolio developed by the apprentice. 

For more information, contact:
Monica Hoban (1-9146) in the Kaneb Center's main office, email: