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Teaching Development Opportunity for STEM Postdocs: Applications Due Soon
In STEM fields, postdoctoral positions are frequently the launching point into the professoriate. Yet many postdocs have two or fewer terms of teaching experience when they begin applying for academic jobs. CRLT and Rackham Graduate School have collaborated to create a unique opportunity for U-M postdoctoral scholars to build their skills in teaching in the sciences: the Postdoctoral Short-Course on College Teaching in Science and Engineering (PSC).
CRLT is currently accepting applications for the fifth offering of the PSC. The course will take place on Monday mornings, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, March 11th through April 22nd. Applications are due November 1, 2012.
The PSC was developed and is primarily taught by CRLT Assistant Director, Chad Hershock. In order to flexibly accommodate the demanding research obligations of U-M’s postdocs, he developed the course using a “flipped class” model. Before each of the seven sessions, participants watch short video podcasts and complete preparatory, online assignments to establish basic mastery of teaching and learning concepts. During face-to-face meetings the postdocs engage exclusively in hands-on, experiential learning, practice applying the concepts, and participate in reflective discussions. Both online and during class, the instructors model research-based teaching strategies, so that participants may experience these approaches from the perspectives of their future students. Short-course topics include:
- course design
- assessing student learning
- research on student learning
- teaching for inclusion and student retention
- instructional technology
- effective lecturing
- active, cooperative, and inquiry-based learning
Two of the most highly valued aspects of the course are the practice teaching opportunities and the capstone project. Postdocs in the PSC get the opportunity to practice their teaching and receive feedback on their skills from peers and experts from CRLT. The capstone project involves developing a syllabus for a course that the postdoc might teach in the future, based on the principles of course design and teaching best-practices learned in the PSC.
Feedback from previous participants attests that the PSC can be a transformative experience for postdocs:
- “I wasn’t planning on teaching as part of my career. PSC showed me that not only do I enjoy teaching, but that I am capable of doing it well. It’s changed the type of job I’m applying for.” (from a postdoc in engineering)
- “During a campus interview, the search committee chair asked me how I would actively engage students in their introductory courses with over 100 students. After PSC, I was totally prepared to answer this question and could provide examples from my course design project and practice teaching session.” (from a postdoc in the biomedical sciences)
If you are interested in developing your teaching skills, applications are due on November 1st. To be eligible, an applicant's faculty supervisor MUST e-mail email@example.com by the application deadline, verifying his/her support for the applicant's full participation in the program.