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Teaching Preparation

Preparing Graduate Students to Teach

The Department feels that it has an obligation to both its graduate students and the undergraduates who are taught by graduate students to train graduate students not only in how to do philosophical research but also in how to teach philosophy. The Department has developed an extensive program to prepare graduate students become excellent teachers. To be eligible for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA), graduate students must complete 18 hours of graduate coursework in philosophy, earn a B or higher in Philosophy 8970 (the first course in the sequence), and be recommended by the Director of Graduate Students, Dr. Tim O’Keefe (tokeefe(at)

In Philosophy 8970, in addition to mastering the content of the course they will teach, graduate students learn how to:

  • prepare and deliver lectures,
  • design and implement syllabi that meet university, college, and departmental requirements,
  • develop and grade objective tests, quizzes, and essays.

They also observe others teach and then review and discuss their observations with peers.

You may want to read this excellent article from The Chronicle of Higher Education about how departments who are hiring faculty view applicants who had no teaching experience as graduate students.

During their first semester as GTAs, students register for Philosophy 8980, Teaching Philosophy Practicum, within which they teach sections of Phil 1010, Critical Thinking. Students selected for these assistantships typically teach one to three sections of Philosophy 1010 per semester.

During subsequent semesters of teaching, GTAs register for Phil 8985, Advanced Teaching Philosophy Practicum, in which they develop a Teaching Portfolio (an essential element of a professional dossier). Philosophy 8985 provides an opportunity for students to meet requirements for a Certificate of Teaching Excellence from the College of Arts & Sciences. Award of this Certificate is noted on official transcripts.

This program is supervised by the Coordinator of Graduate Teaching, Dr. Sandra Dwyer. Feel free to e-mail Dr. Dwyer for more information at sdwyer(at)