Graduate students will get many opportunities to develop teaching and mentoring skills.
Students are required to do a minimum of two (2) semesters teaching to enhance their professional skills. The courses in which graduate students are TAs include the first level Foundations of Biology course, the intermediate: level courses Genetics, Biochemistry, Cell and Development, Mammalian Physiology, Ecology, and Evolution, and some upper division courses. TF responsibilities vary by course but include grading, meeting students during office hours or review sessions, running laboratory sessions or recitation sections, and giving lectures. Ambitious graduate students have designed labs and have been responsible for entire courses (based on Faculty approval).
Apprenticeship in Teaching Workshops and Certification
The Department encourages interested graduate students to participate in the Apprenticeship in Teaching (AT) Program sponsored by the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS). The AT program is designed to enhance the preparation of graduate students as teachers. The AT program provides graduate students with the chance to participate in workshops and engage in authentic, teaching-related, typical faculty tasks with mentorship from current faculty and CNDLS professional teaching staff. The PhD program requires 5 workshops for certification, students participate in additional workshops and experiences (syllabus writing, taped lectures with review). These tasks are designed to give participants increased confidence and preparation for an academic position with teaching responsibilities.
Most faculty members in the Department of Biology engage undergraduate students in their laboratories to conduct research projects. Graduate students frequently have the opportunity to mentor these students during the academic year and summers. These interactions can hone the graduate student’s skills in communication, supervising others, and helping them to achieve their educational and personal goals.