The Department values high-quality undergraduate instruction and provides a number of avenues for graduates students to improve their teaching skills. First, all graduate students with no prior teaching experience at the college level must enroll in GRSC 7770. Second, the Department has a teaching internship (GENE 7360) for which students can earn 2 credit hours. This course can be repeated up to 5 times. The course provides an opportunity for senior Genetics graduate students to obtain supervised, documented experience in preparing and delivering lectures and/or leading discussions. This course is not meant as a mechanism for graduate students to give “guest” lectures in a course for which they are currently serving as a teaching assistant. It is meant to serve as a formal internship in the teaching of Genetics. Through close faculty supervision, the successful student will be able to translate knowledge of the subject matter into lectures. Through written and substantive feedback, the successful student will be able to demonstrate pedagogical competency in Genetics.
The guidelines for participating in the internship course are:
1. Participation is voluntary by both the faculty instructor and the graduate student intern. Any undergraduate course in the Genetics Department may be included in the program. Only one intern can participate in any single course in any given semester.
2. To be eligible to participate in this course, graduate students must have completed at least two years of graduate school, be admitted to candidacy (Ph.D. students only) and have previous experience as a teaching assistant in either GENE 3000 (Evolutionary Biology) or GENE 3200 (Genetics). In order to have served as a teaching assistant in those courses, the graduate student would have taken GRSC 7770 or had previous college-level teaching experience.
3. Before the course begins, the supervising faculty member will meet with the graduate intern to discuss the lecture schedule and chose lecture topics for the intern. The intern cannot give more than 10% of the lectures in a given class (5 lectures for a MWF course and 3 lectures for a T/R course). The instructor should place the intern’s lectures on the course syllabus and explain to undergraduates enrolled in the class that a graduate student intern will be delivering these lectures.
4. Well before each lecture by the intern, the intern will prepare a detailed outline of the lecture and then will discuss the outline with the supervising faculty member. In order for this to be an effective training process, it is important that this initial planning of the lectures be done more-or-less independently by the student. The instructor will then work with the intern to develop the final outline, being sensitive to the intern’s interests and wishes (i.e., the intern should not be expected to give exactly the same lecture the instructor would). If appropriate, the intern will give a practice lecture in front of the instructor and receive feedback.
5. Intern lectures may be given in a block to provide continuity and an opportunity for the intern to develop themes; formal feedback and evaluation would probably follow the block of lectures. In other cases, the intern may give single lectures at different times during the semester with formal feedback and evaluation following each lecture. This approach would give the intern time to make useful adjustments before the next lecture.
6. The instructor will attend all the lectures given by the intern. The instructor will provide a written evaluation of the intern performance using a form similar to that used for peer faculty teaching evaluation in the department and will discuss the evaluation in detail with the intern. When possible, the instructor should solicit undergraduate student feedback and provide that to the intern.
7. The graduate intern will attend lectures given by the faculty member in the class.