Certificate of Excellence in College Teaching

The Certificate of Excellence in College Teaching provides a common framework through which Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) might move beyond basic competence and document their excellent work in teaching and promoting student learning. The Certificate of Excellence is noted on their official University transcript.

At Georgia State University there are many excellent programs that prepare graduate students to teach in higher education. Setting standards for GTAs and offering appropriate programs in discipline-specific pedagogy and related mentoring and supervision is a priority within various colleges and schools at GSU. Determining the preparation level of teaching assistants is determined by individual colleges and schools. However, the elements of all programs to prepare graduate students to teach in higher education should provide opportunities and support for:

  • applying the body of information and professional literature about enhancing student learning in higher education.
  • planning a course in higher education, including writing course syllabi, planning and teaching lessons, and developing assessment instruments.
  • developing skills in promoting student engagement—leading discussions, cooperative/collaborative groups.
  • implementing strategies that respect and accommodate diversity.
  • using technology appropriate for promoting student engagement and learning.
  • demonstrating strategies to assess multiple levels of student learning, skills, and dispositions.
  • applying strategies that foster reflection and course revision, including portfolio development and peer review strategies.
  • independently demonstrating the integration and application of appropriate practices and skills to promote student learning, including effective written and oral communication skills and writing to enhance student learning.
  • demonstrating ethical and professional behavior.

Students wishing to apply for the Certificate of Excellence must submit a minimum of two recommendations—one from their department chair and one from their mentor. In addition, students must submit a teaching portfolio that includes the following documentation:

  • evidence of a grade of A or Satisfactory in a three-hour course on teaching and learning in higher education along with related experiences that incorporate the elements above.
  • a copy of the syllabus of the pedagogy course and a description of other related experiences, for example, conferences and workshops related to teaching in higher education.
  • a description of the teaching internship/mentoring experience that is cosigned by the full-time Georgia State faculty member who served as the mentor or supervisor.
  • a statement of the candidate’s philosophy of teaching and learning.
  • course materials that the candidate developed including syllabi, instructional materials, assessment materials, and technology resources.
  • evidence of demonstrating effective instructional skills.
  • evidence of being the instructor of record of a course, Student Evaluation of Instruction ratings, and an interpretation of these ratings.
  • demonstration of the use of strategies to promote reflection and improvement, for example, Group Instructional Feedback Technique (GIFT) *(request a GIFT for your class at cii@gsu.edu)
  • documentation of student learning, especially assessment of learning, written feedback given to students, and products of students’ work as appropriate to the discipline.

All materials should be included in a three-ring binder and submitted to the Center for Instructional Innovation (CII) located at 75 Piedmont Avenue, Suite 502, Atlanta, GA  30303. The first page in the binder should include a cover page with the candidate’s name, department, contact information, Panther number, and the names of the candidate’s mentor and department chair. Materials will be reviewed by the faculty who work in the CII. Within three weeks of receiving the materials, the CII faculty will either recommend that the candidate be awarded the Certificate, that the candidate by denied the Certificate, or that the candidate submit additional documentation, for example additional evidence of student learning.

Revised 9/12/11

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