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.

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 our various colleges and schools. 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 who can demonstrate that they have met and exceeded these standards are eligible for the Certificate of Teaching Excellence. Candidates who earn the Certificate of Excellence will have that noted on their official University transcript.

To Apply for the Certificate of Excellence

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

  1. Evidence of a grade of A or Satisfactory in a three-hour course on teaching and learning in higher education OR appropriate alternative training to be accepted by the CETL on a case by case basis, along with related experiences that incorporate the elements above.
  2. A copy of the pedagogy course syllabus and a description of other related experiences, for example, conferences related to teaching in higher education (CETL Annual Conference) and attendance of CETL workshops. If a student is substituting alternative training, he or she will need to provide proof of participating in alternative training.
  3. A description of the teaching internship/mentoring experience which is supported by the letters of recommendation provided by the candidates mentor and chair.
  4. A statement of the candidate’s philosophy of teaching and learning.
  5. Course materials that the candidate developed including syllabi, instructional materials, assessment materials, and technology resources. If a candidate teaches with department-provided materials or runs a lab, the candidate must create the above materials for a course he/she would like to teach in the future.
  6. Evidence demonstrating effective instructional skills (lecture materials, videos created for class, a written reflection of successful teaching instances, etc).
  7. Evidence of being the instructor of record of a course, Student Evaluation of Instruction ratings, and an interpretation of these ratings. Lab instructors should contact our office for information on providing alternative evidence.
  8. 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 cie@gsu.edu)
  9. 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, except student evaluations, faculty recommendations, transcripts and copies of student-submitted class work, should be placed in an online portfolio, on a WordPress site or another site of the candidate’s choosing.  All materials not submitted in the online portfolio, should be submitted in our Desire2Learn class.  Once a student has their materials ready to submit, he or she should contact Jennifer Hall at jenniferhall@gsu.edu to be added to the D2L class.

Materials will be reviewed by the CETL faculty. Within three weeks of receiving the materials, the CETL faculty will either recommend that the candidate be awarded the Certificate, that the candidate be denied the Certificate, or that the candidate submit additional documentation, for example additional evidence of student learning.

For more information email Jennifer Hall at jenniferhall@gsu.edu