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Course Approval Process

To get a course approved for the Graduate Certificate in College and University Teaching, instructors should submit a syllabus and a Course Approval Form to Shirley Yu. Criteria for approval and a guide for possible course components are provided.

Criteria for Approving Courses

Disciplinary Teaching Courses

In order to meet the requirement of this certificate as a disciplinary teaching course or independent study, a course must have the following characteristics, in the judgment of the steering committee:

Established: An established, graduate-level course offering at least 2 credit hours or an individual study with a faculty member in the field that offers the same level of work.

Rigorous: A rigorous, academic examination of teaching in the field. Classes designed only as practica for GTAs (i.e., classes on how to teach a specific course as a GTA at Ohio State) are not sufficient.

Sufficiently broad: Includes a broader look at teaching, course and curriculum design, and/or the “pedagogical content knowledge” needed by university faculty in that discipline or interdisciplinary area.


In order to meet the requirement of this certificate as an elective, a course must meet the following, in the judgment of the steering committee:

Established: An established, graduate-level course offering at least 2 credits.

Rigorous: A rigorous, academic examination of teaching in the field or an issue in higher education.

Relevant: The main focus of the course must address teaching and learning in higher education and/or issues that have significant impact on teaching and learning or the profession of academe.


Possible Course Outline

The course outline below is a sample to allow faculty and students a place to begin planning, not a rigid requirement. Any disciplinary teaching course or independent study should include some of these elements, to be decided upon by the instructor (and student, if it is an independent study).

Purpose or Goals of the Course
  • Provide preparation for instruction at the college level
  • Focus on the skills, strategies, and issues common to university teaching and to those specifically applicable to the discipline
  • Apply teaching skills learned to actual experience
  • Gain pedagogical content knowledge, pedagogies appropriate to the discipline
Learning Objectives or Learning Outcomes

To develop the analytical and problem-solving skills that will enable continued growth and development of the graduate student as a teacher.

Some specific objectives:

  • comprehend how people learn and how to teach consistent with these principles of learning, using a variety of techniques appropriate for the discipline, level, and learning context.
  • consistently set and communicate learning goals and expectations, both for individual class sessions and the overall course, that are appropriate for the discipline, level, learning context, and the institutional curriculum.
  • attend to diversity, inclusion of multiple perspectives, and demographics so that every student has the opportunity to learn.
  • assess student learning responsibly, equitably, and in alignment with learning goals, and use the results to enhance student learning.
  • Find and use evidence-based pedagogical approaches specific to the discipline and which facilitate student learning of disciplinary content.
  • assess and improve their own teaching performance through inquiry-based practice informed by a community of scholarly teachers.
  • participate in activities to develop an integrated understanding of themselves as ethical, collegial individuals, teachers, and scholars within their classrooms, departments, and disciplines.
  • explore and situate their practice and potential career choices within the contexts and cultures of postsecondary disciplines and institutions.
  • be guided by an understanding of educational standards and policies in postsecondary environments.
Possible Content
  • Teaching methods/techniques
  • Teaching roles and responsibilities
  • Theories of learning and motivation
  • Knowing our students (diversity, equity, and inclusion)
  • Discipline-specific learning strategies
  • Discipline-specific teaching methods and contexts
  • Course design-setting and explaining learning goals and expectations
  • Designing assessments of learning
  • Planning teaching methods
  • Grading and giving feedback
  • Course/teaching assessment
  • Technology
  • Teaching philosophies
  • Teaching portfolios
Possible Assignments
  • Teaching portfolio
  • Course portfolio
  • Teaching philosophy
  • Develop lesson plans
  • Develop course outline/syllabus
  • Readings
  • Teaching resources bibliography
  • Presentations on teaching topics
  • Reflective essays/journals
  • Observations of teachers
  • Interview of teachers
  • Visit classes at other types of institutions
  • Research paper/project
Key Resources

The following texts can aid in the development of good courses. For additional assistance or course design resources, contact Shirley Yu.

  • Ambrose, S.A., et al. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching.
  • Campbell, W. E., & Smith, K. A. (1997). New paradigms for college teaching.
  • Davis, B. G. (1993). Tools for teaching.
  • Groccia, J. E., & Miller, M. S. (Eds.). (2001). College teaching: A sourcebook of essential readings.
  • Kalish, A. and Robinson, S. S. (Eds.). (2012). Mapping the Range of Graduate Student Professional Development. Studies in Graduate and Professional Student Development 14.
  • McKeachie, W. J. (1978, 2013). Teaching tips. (multiple editions)
  • Palmer, P. J. (1998). The courage to teach.
  • Svinicki, M. D. (2004). Learning and motivation in the postsecondary classroom.
  • Welkener, M.M., Kalish, A, & Bandeen, H.M. (2010). Teaching and learning in the college classroom. Third edition. ASHE Reader Series.