NeuroWise

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Dec 1, 2015
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The graduate school at my university offers a teaching certificate program that grad students can achieve through extra course work (9 hours), a teaching project (e.g., write or revise a lab manual), scholarship of teaching (e.g., scientific poster with a teaching element), and the creation of a teaching portfolio. This certificate is billed as an academic credential that enhances students' opportunities for academic employment. I believe it is formally listed on the transcript as well. As my ultimate goal is to be a tenure-track researcher at a large R01 school, I wonder if something like this certificate would be beneficial for me or will search committees not care because my research productivity/performance is what is important. Thoughts?
 

Ollie123

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Feb 19, 2007
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Won't hurt, but probably not worth it. That goes double if "extra coursework" is 9 credit hours and not 9 classroom hours. I'd say you are better off just teaching more courses than getting a certificate of some kind.
 
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Apr 11, 2012
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I agree with Ollie. A teaching certificate program won't help you that much on the job market. That said, having a teaching portfolio ready to go will make putting your application materials easier, and showing that you care about the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) might give you some ideas about how you would extend research into the teaching domain were you to get a faculty job. I guess what I'm saying here is that this program probably won't help you land a job, but it might help you speak more articulately about your teaching and feel more prepared to take on the multiple duties of a faculty role. Some of that would likely come up on interviews and would be impressive particularly to more teaching-oriented faculty (because even R1s often have more teaching-oriented faculty along with the heavy hitting research folks). I know that for myself, having a teaching portfolio and plans for SOTL were helpful at making me more comfortable and confident in talking about teaching, though who knows if those things contributed to job offers or not.

The other potential utility is thinking about getting one person to write you a more teaching-oriented letter when you apply for jobs, and an instructor a teaching certificate program might be great for that (especially if they can watch you teach).
 

Harry3990

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Oct 8, 2014
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I found my program's teaching class (basically a seminar style class with the other grad students who were teaching classes that semester and a prof) very helpful and supportive during my first semester teaching. But beyond that, I don't think extra classes would be all that helpful for jobs. My profs would say, especially for R01 competitiveness, to forget that and use the time to focus on demonstrating research productivity (or maybe teaching an extra class or two if you really want to round out the teaching component of your CV).

Also, the selling points that you outlined don't seem worth it to me personally. You could create a teaching portfolio yourself if you just took a weekend to do it and still get feedback from profs about it. Poster on teaching seems overkill, unless you want that to be a component of your research program in the future. Showing that you care about teaching is important, but you don't need structured classes/credits to do it IMO.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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Also, the selling points that you outlined don't seem worth it to me personally. You could create a teaching portfolio yourself if you just took a weekend to do it and still get feedback from profs about it. Poster on teaching seems overkill, unless you want that to be a component of your research program in the future. Showing that you care about teaching is important, but you don't need structured classes/credits to do it IMO.
this would be the best use of your time. I did a seminar class back in grad school and the list useful piece by far was putting together a teaching portfolio and getting feedback. I did research & a poster presentation on a related topic, which helped me be a better educator...but it didn't make me more competitive in the job market.
 

Marissa4usa

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Sep 5, 2007
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I would agree that any teaching certificates won't make you more competitive when you apply for jobs, particularly research-heavy ones. Having said that I did complete two of the four teaching certificates my university offers, which required attending a number of workshops and taking two courses, one geared towards teaching in the social sciences in general and one teaching psychology courses, and found both of them incredibly helpful. I haven't been able to put my skills to the test yet (aside from leading discussion and lab sections, and some occasional guest lectures), but it has really helped me figure out how I think about educating others. So, even if the actual certificates won't matter much, having a compelling teaching statement and a thought-through rationale for your teaching approach might set up apart from other applicants.