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One of the unique strengths that each of our graduate students enjoys on the job market is the depth and diversity of their teaching portfolios. Rather than serving as a grader or an assistant to a professor's class, the courses that our graduate students teach are emphatically their own: they design the syllabi, choose the reading lists, set the calendar, create the assignments, and do the grading.
We also guarantee each graduate student the opportunity to teach at least one literature class related to the student's area of specialization.
The English Department has a professional development and teacher training program for all graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs). The goal of this scaffolded program is to provide graduate students with the knowledge, skills, experience, and supportive mentoring environment to best prepare them to become teachers of writing and literature at the post-secondary level.
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First-Year Teacher Preparation
Fall: Prior to Fall of the first-year, students
participate in an orientation with the Center for Teaching and
Assessment of Learning to prepare for the upcoming year. During the Fall
semester, new students serve as apprentices to an experienced professor
in the teaching of ENGL110: Seminar in Composition. Apprentices work
closely with their faculty mentor and cohort to observe, teach,
co-teach, lead groups, assess student writing, develop lesson plans and
Spring: In the Spring semester of the first-year, students
are placed as apprentices for a literature or other advanced
undergraduate English course with an experienced professor. Throughout
their apprenticeship, students help develop syllabi, lecture, lead class
discussions, assess student work and more. Apprentices learn
strategies for teaching in their research fields and are supported
through regular mentorship by the instructor-of-record. Students are
also enrolled in ENGL688: Composition Theory and the Teaching of
Writing. This course provides formal training in pedagogy and practical
experience in developing teaching materials. In ENGL688, students
develop their syllabus, assignments and teaching philosophies in
preparation for teaching their own courses in the following year.
Second-Year and Beyond
The standard teaching
load is two courses per year (1 section in fall, 1 section in spring). Graduate students teach ENGL110: Seminar in Composition and are guaranteed at least one opportunity to teach a course in their field while in the program. This course is typically ENGL280: Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors. The course allows students to develop a custom syllabus on a topic of their choosing. Students may also teach
special topics-based Honors sections of ENGL110, as well as advanced writing
courses such as ENGL 301 (Advanced Writing), ENGL 312 (Business Writing), and
ENGL 410 (Technical Writing). Opportunities to teach various English courses (for additional compensation) during Winter and Summer terms are also available.
Graduate students also have ample opportunity to expand their teaching qualifications through formal training programs in online-teaching and teaching multilingual learners. Students who complete these training programs are eligible to teach sections specifically for multilingual students, as well as online sections.
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "Folktales in American literature and culture" (Spring 2023) - Darby Witek
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "Science and Literature" (Spring 2020) - Megan O'Donnell
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "Monsters on the Loose: Recycling Monsters Across Genres" (Spring 2020) - Seda Oz
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "Making and Breaking" (Fall 2020) - Michael Doss
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, " Tracing the Life of Objects in American Literature" (Spring 2021) - Helena Kim
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "The Great American Author, Wanted Dead or Alive" (Fall 2020) - Joe Nash
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "Relationships in Young Adult Literature" (Fall 2020) - Rebekah Phillips
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "Whiteness and American Literature" (Spring 2021) - Jack Truschel
ENGL280 Approaches to Literature for Non-Majors, "Contructing Black Identity in American Literature" (Fall 2020) - Brett Seekford
Each year, the English Department awards one graduate student the Outstanding Teacher Award in recognition of exceptional and innovative teaching. Award applications are reviewed by a faculty committee. The award offers a $500 prize.