To get a course approved for this program, instructors should submit a syllabus and a Course Approval Form [Word] [PDF] to Alan Kalish. Criteria for approval and a guide for possible course components are provided.

Criteria for Approving Courses

Disciplinary Teaching Courses

In order to meet the requirement of this specialization as a disciplinary teaching course or independent study, a course must have the following characteristics, in the judgment of the steering committee:

Established: An established, graduate-level course offering at least 2 credit hours or an individual study with a faculty member in the field that offers the same level of work.

Rigorous: A rigorous, academic examination of teaching in the field. Classes designed only as practica for GTAs (i.e., classes on how to teach a specific course as a GTA at Ohio State) are not sufficient.

Sufficiently broad: Includes a broader look at teaching, course and curriculum design, and/or the “pedagogical content knowledge” needed by university faculty in that discipline or interdisciplinary area.


In order to meet the requirement of this specialization as an elective, a course must meet the following, in the judgment of the steering committee:

Established: An established, graduate-level course offering at least 2 credits.

Rigorous: A rigorous, academic examination of teaching in the field or an issue in higher education.

Relevant: The main focus of the course must address teaching and learning in higher education and/or issues that have significant impact on teaching and learning or the profession of academe.


Possible Course Outline

The course outline below is a sample to allow faculty and students a place to begin planning, not a rigid requirement. Any disciplinary teaching course or independent study should include some of these elements, to be decided upon by the instructor (and student, if it is an independent study).


I. Purpose or Goals of the Course

  • Provide preparation for instruction at the college level
  • Focus on the skills, strategies, and issues common to university teaching and to those specifically applicable to the discipline
  • Apply teaching skills learned to actual experience
  • Gain pedagogical content knowledge, pedagogies appropriate to the discipline

II. Learning Objectives or Learning Outcomes
To develop the analytical and problem-solving skills that will enable continued growth and development of the graduate student as a teacher.

Some specific objectives:

  • think self-reflectively about their aims as teachers and begin the process of articulating their own teaching philosophies
  • incorporate an understanding of teaching and student learning theories into course development
  • design and critique classroom activities that are consistent with research and theory about teaching and student learning
  • understand the culture of teaching within the discipline, across differing types of institutions
  • develop good strategies for assessing both teaching and learning
  • be aware of general professional development issues in higher education

III. Possible Content

  • Teaching methods/techniques
  • Teaching roles and responsibilities
  • Theories of learning and motivation
  • Knowing our students (diversity/learning styles)
  • Discipline-specific learning strategies
  • Discipline-specific teaching methods and contexts
  • Course design
  • Designing assessments of learning
  • Planning teaching methods
  • Grading and giving feedback
  • Course/teaching assessment
  • Technology
  • Teaching philosophies
  • Teaching portfolios

IV. Possible Assignments

  • Micro-teaching
  • Teaching portfolio
  • Course portfolio
  • Teaching philosophy
  • Presentations on teaching topics
  • Reflective essays/journals
  • Observations of teachers
  • Interview of teachers
  • Visit classes at other types of institutions
  • Research paper/project
  • Develop lesson plans
  • Develop course outline/syllabus
  • Readings
  • Teaching resources bibliography

V. Key Resources 
Campbell, W. E., & Smith, K. A. (1997). New paradigms for college teaching.

Davis, B. G. (1993). Tools for teaching.

Feldman, K. A., & Paulsen, M. B. (Eds.). (1998). Teaching and learning in the college classroom.

Groccia, J. E., & Miller, M. S. (Eds.). (2001). College teaching: A sourcebook of essential readings.

McKeachie, W. J. (2002). Teaching tips.

Palmer, P. J. (1998). The courage to teach.

Svinicki, M. D. (2004). Learning and motivation in the postsecondary classroom.