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Foundations Certificate in University Teaching Skills

The Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning enhances the quality of undergraduate and graduate education by offering two certificates for full- and part-time graduate students, faculty, and teaching staff: the Foundations Certificate in University Teaching Skills and the more comprehensive Certificate in University Teaching Skills.

The Foundations Certificate can be earned by participating in ten Effective Teaching Credits, which include a variety of pedagogically-focused activities offered on a regular basis by the Reinert Center, as well as writing a reflection essay. Because the certificate is the result of an ongoing process of learning and reflection, participants are required to allow a minimum of two semesters to complete it. Certificates are awarded twice a year, at the fall and spring semester Certificate Ceremonies.

Purpose

The purpose of the Foundations Certificate in University Teaching Skills is to promote the development of faculty and graduate students in their journey toward transformative teaching. The certificate's requirements provide participants with pedagogical information to enhance their teaching practice.

Enroll

In order to enroll into the program, complete the Statement of Intent online submission form.

Objectives

The requirements for the Foundations Certificate in University Teaching Skills are designed to create the occasion for participants to meet the following objectives over the course of at least two semesters. Because of the inherent flexibility in the Foundations Certificate, it is the participant's responsibility to choose from the range of Effective Teaching Credits offered in order to ensure he/she will meet all of the following objectives:

  • Identify and analyze different learning and teaching styles.
  • Discuss and apply various methods to assess student learning outcomes and teaching.
  • Consider productive faculty-student relationships.
  • Identify and integrate different uses of digital technology in teaching and learning.
  • Recognize different uses of service learning for discipline specific outcomes.
  • Acquire knowledge about fundamental classroom teaching skills, including lecturing, managing discussions, and other active, experiential, and collaborative learning techniques for a variety of teaching contexts and environments.
  • Reflect on the pedagogical practices of university instruction, and how the lessons taken from participating in certificate activities has changed one's relationship with teaching.
Requirements

Requirements comprise at least 5 of the total 10 Effective Teaching Credits.

Praxis Workshops - (one credit each)
Choose a minimum of five; additional Praxis workshops attended count toward elective credit.
Topics change each semester, approximately six offered once each semester

Electives

Electives are chosen beyond the requirements to fulfill the remaining Effective Teaching Credits.

Teaching Essentials (one credit for every two)
Topics vary each semester

Institutes (up to two credits each)

  • Winter Institute
  • Ignatian Pedagogy Institute
  • May Event
  • Other Reinert Center Institute (with permission)

Observation + Consultation (one credit) 
Conducted by Reinert Center Staff either in person or recorded
*Limit two (2) for credit

Small Group Instructional Feedback (SGIF) Session + Consultation (one credit) 
Conducted by Reinert Center Staff at the midpoint of the term
*Limit two (2) for credit

Approved Conferences (up to two credits each)

  • UMSL Focus on Teaching and Technology Conference

Designated Additions (one credit each)
Special events and programs designated by the Reinert Center as earning credit

Substitutions (up to two credits)
See substitution policy on the Reinert Center website

Reflection on Teaching Development

A minimum of 10 Effective Teaching Credits, the Reflection on Teaching Development, and at least two semesters must be completed to earn this Certificate.

Reflection on Teaching Development (Foundations Certificate version)      

Reflection is essential to one's development as a teacher, and it is integral in the context of Jesuit education. Therefore, as the culminating act of your participation in the Certificate program, you are asked to reflect critically on what you have learned about teaching, what you have learned about yourself as a teacher, and how you have developed through the overall experience of participating in the Certificate program. In your writing, you will draw connections between, and articulate the significance of the various teaching related activities in which you have engaged throughout the program. Reflecting on your actions and learning activities will provide insight to your strengths, weaknesses, and future directions as a teacher. Many of these activities will be components of the Certificate, but other activities can and should be included in your reflection. Writing a reflection on your teaching development can also be the basis for documents used later in an academic job search or the faculty review process.   

Guidelines

The Reflection on Teaching Development is a narrative-type essay (at least 3 pages long) in which you reflect critically on three overarching areas of your teaching development: your thinking about teaching and learning when you began the Certificate Program, how the specific experiences you have had during the Certificate Program have changed (or not) your thinking about teaching and learning, and how you hope to continue your development as a teacher in the future.              

The reflection should include discussion of the following points:

  1. A description of your overall development as a teacher during your time in the program;
  2. Examples from some of the Praxis Workshops and other events you attended for Effective Teaching Credit, pointing to lessons or ideas that have changed the way you think about teaching and/or learning;
  3. Examples of any teaching experience you may have had during this period, focusing on how you applied lessons learned in the program.
  4. Personal learning goals for the future based on how you have grown through the program and where you are now in your teaching development.  

One last thing to keep in mind: while you must include the components described above, the essay should stem from your own individualized reflection and consideration of your particular experience. This means the essay will look different (in terms of formatting, emphasis, etc.) for everyone.  

Questions for Reflection To stimulate your thinking, you might consider some or all of the following questions as you reflect on your development (you are not required to respond to these questions; they are simply to help you get started with your reflection):  

  1. Where were you in your thinking about teaching when you began the Certificate Program?
  2. What did you know, believe, or assume about how students learn when you began the program?
  3. How does your portfolio demonstrate what you have learned and believe currently about teaching?
  4. How has your understanding of teaching and/or learning changed?
  5. What lessons will stay with you from the Praxis Workshops you attended? How have they informed your views about teaching/learning? Your choices as a teacher?
  6. What actions may you take next in light of your learning to continue to develop yourself as a teacher? 

Submission and Review Process

Reflections are due near the end of each semester (a specific deadline is set and communicated each semester).

Each reflection is reviewed by two Center staff in order to provide different perspectives and richer feedback to participants. Reflections are evaluated based on criteria within the Reflection Rubric. In cases in which revisions are required, the participant will receive feedback from both reviewers in the same document.

If participants are required to submit revisions, they are given a timeline to do so; however, all work must be received and assessed at a minimum of the "acceptable" level to earn the certificate.

To submit a Foundations Certificate Reflection, please email us at cttl@slu.edu