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Non-Credit Certificate in College Teaching Program Pilot a Success

July 1, 2022

In the 2021-22 academic year, the Teaching and Learning Center collaborated with the Graduate College, Online Learning Council, and Office of Postdoctoral Affairs to pilot a Certificate in College Teaching. This non-credit program provides Drexel University graduate students and postdocs with the experience and key materials to help them become more effective instructors in higher education. The flexible asynchronous online structure of the program helps participants to develop pedagogical skills, learn best practices, and formally document their professional development. The completion of the program recognizes participants’ commitment to effective teaching and culminates in the development of teaching philosophy or teaching portfolio. There is no cost to participate in the program.

Founding committee members Natalie Chernets, Director of Postdoctoral Affairs & Professional Development, Johanna Inman, Director, Teaching and Learning Center, Deirdre McMahon, Teaching Professor, Department of English and Philosophy & Chair, Online Learning Council Faculty Fellows, and Anne Converse Willkomm, Assistant Dean, Graduate College & Assistant Clinical Professor served on the selection committee which received 220 applications for the program which only had room for 30 participants. The committee prioritized applicants graduating in spring, summer, and fall 2022 and deferred applicants who planned to graduate after spring 2023, potentially including them in future program offerings. Student demographics were considered to ensure University-wide participation in terms of disciplines, degree programs, and diverse life experiences. In addition, significant weight was put on the quality of responses to questions regarding participation and professional teaching goals.

Faculty mentorship was a significant aspect of the program and sixteen Drexel faculty mentors volunteered to guide the program participants; most were assigned to two mentees. An effort was made to match mentees and mentors from similar disciplines. The mentors were scheduled to meet with their mentees three times through the program to reflect on their experience. In addition, mentors were encouraged to allow participants to observe their teaching in 1-2 classroom settings. Lastly, the mentors provided feedback on the teaching philosophy developed in the program. The program could not have been successful without these exceptional teaching mentors: Anne Converse Willkomm, Chris Finnin, Dan King, Dana Kemery, Deirdre McMahon, Denise Agosto, Jennifer Atchinson, Jon Deutsch, Jonson Miller, Ken Bingham, Kevin Egan, Mesha Hunte-Brown, MJ DeCarlo, Monica Togna, Tim Gorichanaz, and Monica Ilies.

After the completion of the pilot year, the program has demonstrated high satisfaction from participants. In addition, high retention rates demonstrated the participants’ interest and commitment to the program. The committee has decided to offer the program again in fall 2022 and admit a similar cohort of students with existing resources while seeking additional resources for program scalability.

Hear what some of the pilot participants had to say about their experience.