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Principles Certificate

The Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning enhances the quality of undergraduate and graduate education by offering a certificate in Principles of University Teaching Skills for full- and part-time graduate students, faculty, and teaching staff.

The Principles Certificate can be earned by participating in 15 Effective Teaching Credits, which include a variety of pedagogically-focused activities offered on a regular basis by the Reinert Center, as well as creating a professional teaching portfolio. Because this certificate is extensive, and is the result of an ongoing process of 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.


The purpose of the Principles Certificate 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, to draft and develop a philosophy of teaching, and to document teaching competencies.


In order to enroll in the Certificate, complete the Statement of Intent.


The requirements for the Principles Certificate 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 Principles 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.
  • Design a discipline-specific course and syllabus with appropriate instructional methodology and measurable learning objectives.
  • Assemble a professional teaching portfolio that includes a statement of teaching philosophy and other pedagogical artifacts stemming from the program requirements that demonstrate their teaching competencies.
  • 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 comprise at least 10 of the total 15 Effective Teaching Credits.

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

Online Courses (one credit each; all three required; must be taken in order)

  • Teaching Philosophy 
  • Course Design 
  • Learning Technologies

Mentor Meetings (one credit for all four as a set; all four required)

  • Getting Started 
  • Reviewing the Teaching Philosophy Draft
  • Reviewing a Recorded Teaching Situation (situation must be at least 30 minutes in duration)
  • Reviewing the Teaching Portfolio

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

Independent Study (one credit each)

  • Service Learning

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

Teaching Portfolio

The creation of a teaching portfolio is the culminating project for the Principles Certificate; participants completing the Foundations Certificate are not required to complete a teaching portfolio.


A teaching portfolio is a compilation of artifacts that communicate evidence of your teaching philosophies and abilities (just as a dissertation communicates research abilities). An increasing number of institutions request a teaching portfolio or individual components of a teaching portfolio to demonstrate teaching experience throughout the academic job search as well as part of tenure and promotion dossiers.

Participants in the Principles Certificate will develop a portfolio containing a teaching philosophy, curriculum vitae, sample syllabus and course assignments, as well as reflective writings (see Requirements and Prompts for complete list of contents). The requirements for the Certificate ensure that participants have a solid foundation for a portfolio. Participants are welcome to add additional components to evidence teaching practices beyond the Certificate requirements.

A participant's mentor and Center staff are available to review and provide feedback as he/she develops his/her portfolio. In order to complete the certificate, participants compile and submit a teaching portfolio, meet with Center staff for an in-person review, and have all work assessed at a minimum of "acceptable" per the portfolio rubric (see below).

Portfolio Format: Digital Portfolios

No specific tool is required; participants may create a portfolio using any tool with which they are comfortable.
SLU is a Google campus; faculty, staff, and students have access to develop a site in the "sites" feature; however, please know that anyone who leaves the institution will not have indefinite access to their SLU google apps account. Many free programs exist outside of SLU's Google apps (example: Wordpress, Google sites, Google Blogger, Weebly, and more).

Portfolios must be complete at the time of submission, which means they contain all required components and are in a format that includes a coherent organizational strategy. Regardless of medium, what matters most is that the organization be clear and usable as a tool for navigating the portfolio's contents.

Review the Portfolio Rubric for detailed assessment criteria.

Submission and Review Process

Portfolios are due near the end of each semester. Once a portfolio is reviewed, participants schedule a 30-minute review meeting with Center staff. 

Each portfolio is reviewed by two Center staff in order to provide different perspectives and richer feedback to participants. Portfolios are evaluated based on criteria within the Portfolio Rubric. Both reviewers are present for the review meeting, when possible.

During the meeting, reviewers address key strengths of the portfolio; share any revisions that will be needed before final approval can be given; and provide ideas for further development in the future. 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 an acceptable level to earn the certificate.

Submit an online portfolio

Additional Resources

Creating a Teaching Portfolio
Washington University of Saint Louis

Preparing a Teaching Portfolio
Fran Mues and Mary Deane Sorcinelli
The Center for Teaching, University of Massachusetts Amherst