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Learning How to Teach History

New graduate program will train doctoral students to teach undergraduates

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March 7, 2013 | by Emily Osborne

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Becoming a scholar is serious business -- and so, too, is learning to teach undergraduates in the arts and sciences.

Now through an $85,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation, The Graduate School (TGS) at Northwestern University is partnering with the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence, the Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, and the American Historical Association (AHA) to implement a discipline-specific model for training doctoral students as teachers of undergraduates.

The project, “Graduate Student Teaching in the Arts & Sciences” will be piloted in the history department. Doctoral students and faculty will build teaching-related programming beginning this fall.

“Our proposed programming will help Northwestern produce effective and innovative liberal arts educators who understand how to apply principles from scholarship on teaching and learning into the departmental culture,” said Monica Gerlach, assistant dean for planning and academic resources in The Graduate School.

History doctoral students will be trained to identify specific forms of learning relevant to their discipline, explain scholarly practices in ways that are accessible and exciting to undergraduate students, and provide opportunities for undergraduates to experience historical research and receive feedback on their work.

Through the project, graduate students and faculty will sharpen their skills while creating an archive of recommended practices and a digital curricular guide to teaching history that will be utilized for years to come. This model will subsequently be adopted by other graduate programs at Northwestern and history departments nationwide through the AHA collaboration.

The Teagle Foundation is committed to promoting and strengthening liberal education, and its programs encourage collaboration among institutions seeking to generate new knowledge on issues of importance to higher education.

For further information about this project, please contact the project principal investigator, Professor Tracy C. Davis, associate dean for academic affairs in The Graduate School, or the project manager, Monica A. Gerlach, assistant dean for planning and academic resources in The Graduate School.

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