Announcing: The Open Teaching Initiative

CC licensed image courtesy of Hartwid HKD
CC licensed image courtesy of Hartwig HKD

The Open Teaching Initiative

Observing how other instructors develop and implement lessons, manage discussions, utilize classroom space and technology, and mix instructional methods can be inspiring, can help one evolve as a teacher, and, for those just starting out in the classroom, can demystify college teaching.

In Spring 2017, the Graduate Center’s Teaching and Learning Center will be launching the Open Teaching Initiative (OTI), which will foster cross-disciplinary dialogues about teaching among Graduate Center student instructors. The OTI also provides a structure for introducing those who will be teaching their first college courses in Fall 2017 to CUNY’s undergraduate classrooms.

The Open Teaching Initiative will launch March 17-31, 2017 with two programs. During Open Classroom Week, Graduate Center students who have taught for at least two semesters will open their classrooms to visits from first year Graduate Center students who will be teaching their first courses at CUNY in Fall 2017. The instructor will then meet with the students who visited their classrooms to discuss strategies for teaching at CUNY. For their time and generosity, host instructors will receive an honorarium of $100. This program will select up to 20 hosts in Spring 2017, with the goal of scaling up in subsequent semesters.

The second program in the Open Teaching Initiative is the Class Visit Exchange, which will facilitate reciprocal classroom visits for participating instructors. The TLC will select and pair applicants, giving priority to cross-disciplinary classroom exchanges, in order to expose GC students to new teaching practices and methodologies. Following the Class Visit Exchange, participants will attend a workshop to discuss their experiences, write an entry reflecting on the exchange for the Teaching and Learning Center’s blog, and participate in a panel discussion about the initiative at Teach@CUNY Day on May 8. Up to eight participants will be selected for this program, and will receive $250 for their participation and reflection. Lessons learned from Spring 2017 will help the TLC increase opportunities for such exchanges in subsequent semesters.

Applicant Qualifications
Applicants to host visitors during Open Classroom Week must be full-time Graduate Center students who have taught for at least three semesters, and who are teaching at CUNY during the Spring 2017 semester.

All Graduate Center students who will be teaching at CUNY during the Spring 2017 semester are eligible to apply to participate in the Class Visit Exchange.

Submitting an Application
To reserve a spot to visit a classroom during Open Classroom Week, please submit your name, program, and contact information via this form. This program will facilitate visits by up to 60 first year Graduate Center students.

To apply to host visitors during Open Classroom Week or to participate in the Class Visit Exchange, please submit the following materials as a single PDF to by February 1, 2017 February 13, 2017 with the subject line “Open Teaching Initiative.”

Please see the materials required of applicants below. Depending on which program you are applying for, please follow the appropriate file naming guidelines for your application:

Open Classroom Week Host: LastnameFirstname.Host.pdf
Class Visit Exchange: LastnameFirstname.Exchange.pdf

Applications must contain:

  • Applicant Information: name, program at the GC, contact information (email, mailing address, and phone number). Applicants must be a doctoral student currently enrolled and in good academic standing at the Graduate Center, and teaching in Spring 2017 on a CUNY campus.
  • A 250-word statement of teaching philosophy that explicitly indicates the type of instructional methods you use in your courses
  • A 250-word statement of your interest in the program to which you’re applying
  • Syllabus for course previously taught
  • A Short CV (no longer than two pages)
  • Courses that you are scheduled to teach in the Spring, including CUNY campus and department

Criteria for Evaluation

Applications to host visitors during Open Classroom Week will be assessed based on:

  • clarity of statement of teaching philosophy
  • specificity of interest in opening your classroom

Applications for the Class Visit Exchange will be assessed based on:

  • clarity of articulation of instructional methods
  • specificity of goals for visiting a colleague’s class and opening your classroom

Questions about the fellowship or the application process should be directed to Luke Waltzer, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center ( and Avra Spector, TLC Fellow (