Saint Louis University

CUTS Frequently Asked Questions

What does CUTS stand for?
Certificate in University Teaching Skills. Usually stands for the Certificate, but occasionally refers to the Certificate Program as a whole.

What is the difference between the "Foundations Certificate in University Teaching Skills" and the "Certificate in University Teaching Skills"?
The Foundations Certificate can be earned by completing ten Effective Teaching Credits and writing a reflection. The Certificate in University Teaching Skills has more complex requirements and results in a professional Teaching Portfolio.

What changes have been made to the Certificate Program?

In order to continue offering a robust pedagogical program that meets the diverse and changing needs of the faculty and graduate students of Saint Louis University, we have updated and enhanced the components and credits of the Certificate in University Teaching Skills Program as of July 1, 2016.

The changes we made give certificate participants more flexibility in how they earn credit; they now have additional options beyond attending seminars, and many ad hoc options are now established and predictable. The changes also offer more clarity and ease in keeping track of credits earned; participants now earn credit for participating in online courses and mentor meetings.

We have also changed some of the terminology for program components to align more closely with the program objectives; Effective Teaching Seminars have been converted to Praxis Workshops and Online Seminars are now referred to as Online Courses. The program credits, Effective Teaching Credits, are also now broken up into requirements and electives in order to align with normal academic nomenclature to create more clarity in tracking credits needed.

For specific information about how to earn either the Foundations Certificate in University Teaching Skills or the Certificate in University Teaching Skills, please visit the certificate program page on our website.

Which certificate is right for me?
This is different for everyone. You will need to review the program requirements for both certificates. Think about the time, effort, and purpose that go into both certificates. If you need help deciding, feel free to consult with a member of the Reinert Center staff.

How long does it take to finish the CUTS program?
Both Certificates take a minimum of two semesters to complete, but many people spread out the requirements over two years. If you need more time than that, you should let the Reinert Center know that you are continuing past two years and when you expect to finish. We do not allow participants to complete the Certificates in fewer than two semesters. Doing so would compromise the quality of the work produced and the reflection on teaching, which is essential to the Certificate programs. 

Is there a charge to enroll in the Certificate program?
No. Both Certificates are available to all full- and part-time SLU graduate students, faculty, and teaching staff at no charge. Undergraduates may not pursue the Certificates. Staff who do not teach at the university should contact the Reinert Center at to discuss eligibility for CUTS. Those outside the University may not participate in the CUTS program.

I can't come to Effective Teaching Seminars (ETS) on Tuesdays or Fridays. Can you offer them at different times, like in the evening or during the summer?
Unfortunately, this is not currently possible. We schedule Praxis workshops for the most convenient times for the largest number of people, especially faculty members, who are our primary facilitators for these seminars. While we regret that the Tuesday/Friday afternoon schedule may not work for everyone, we do not currently have the resources to change or extend the schedule.

I don't have a video recording of my teaching, but my faculty mentor has observed my teaching. Can we have a discussion about her observations and have that replace the video recording requirement?
No. The main purpose of the video recording requirement is for you to watch yourself teaching. This self-observation is crucial to gaining insight into your own habits and practices. Discussing the recording with your mentor, after he/she has watched it, helps to facilitate self-reflection, and it also helps you to put what you see in the recording into a broader perspective. You do not need to watch the recording with your mentor; you can both watch it on your own time, then plan to meet to discuss it afterward.

I am not teaching a class this semester. Do I still have to do a video recording?
Yes. We recommend that you ask your faculty mentor, a colleague, or another member of your department if you can guest lecture in one of their classes. If this isn't possible, you can stage a teaching performance of your own, inviting friends, colleagues, even Reinert Center GAs and staff, to observe. The main thing is to have an opportunity to teach in some form - with a minimum of 30 minutes of teaching time - and to be able to watch it yourself and have your faculty mentor watch it.

I am going to an event on teaching in my discipline. Can I have elective credit for that?
Maybe. You will need to provide program information to the Reinert Center, in advance, so that we have time to consider the content of the event and to determine whether the event you will be attending lines up with the program objectives for the Certificate Program. Review our Effective Teaching Credit Substitution Policy or consult with Reinert Center staff ( to discuss this request further. After the event, you will be asked to write a short essay in which you reflect on the content of the event attended and on how it applies to teaching at the university level.

I have to miss a Praxis workshop; can you record it and make it available to me?
No. Praxis workshops are specifically designed to foster interaction between attendees and between attendees and facilitators. We cannot reproduce the interactive quality ofPraxis workshops in video form.

I just need one more Effective Teaching Credit to finish the Certificate, but I am graduating in a few weeks and can't fit it in before that. Can I finish the CUTS program after I leave SLU?
No. The services of the Reinert Center are for current SLU graduate students, faculty, and staff; the program must be finished by the time you graduate. There may be options, however, after the Certificate Ceremony but before graduation.

How and when can I pick up my certificate?
Certificates are awarded only twice yearly: at the Certificate Ceremonies in December and May. Certificates can be mailed after these ceremonies, for those who cannot attend. We do not award certificates prior to those ceremonies; therefore, if you complete all the requirements in, say, January, your Certificate will not be awarded until May. You may list the certificate on your CV with an anticipated date of the next upcoming Certificate Ceremony.

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