The CUNY Graduate Center’s Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) creates and connects opportunities for GC students to grow as educators and scholars within the nation’s largest public urban university system. As one of the few teaching centers dedicated to working with graduate student instructors, the TLC prepares new college teachers for their entry into the classroom, guides developing teachers as they refine their practices, and helps experienced teachers think through how to best apply what they’ve learned in the next stages of their careers, whether those careers be inside or outside the classroom. The TLC’s programs are explicitly designed to generate, engage with, and integrate the concerns of the students whom it serves, and Graduate Center students take an active role in shaping the Center’s priorities and areas of focus. Unifying all TLC activities is a commitment to building and supporting community among educators teaching at CUNY.
The TLC prepares graduate students to teach college courses. In doing so, those students develop knowledge about the fundamental elements of collegiate instruction, such as syllabus creation, assignment design, and assessment. Through the TLC’s programming, students gain valuable experience in how to apply for grants, produce scholarship of teaching and learning, translate their research and teaching experiences for diverse audiences, engage with questions of curriculum development and higher education policy, critically weigh varying approaches to educational technology, and design and implement assessment projects at various scales.
The TLC always approaches this work with CUNY undergraduate students and the university’s mission to educate “the whole people” in mind. CUNY enrolls 250,000 degree-seeking undergraduates, and Graduate Center students teach 6500 courses each year. As a result, the teaching Graduate Center students do has a tremendous impact on the university, and their own work is, in turn, shaped by their experiences in CUNY’s classrooms—which may include 18 year-olds just out of high school, single parents in their 20s and 30s, immigrants from every part of the world, and members of the full-time workforce who are looking to develop new skills or to complete a degree. The process of translating their scholarship for such a diverse student body enriches Graduate Center student instructors’ engagement with their disciplines and helps prepare them to work in a variety of academic and professional contexts.
The Teaching and Learning Center believes that knowledge is never static, and a community’s approach to teaching must never be as well. When working with the TLC, GC students explore, experiment, and think deeply about the future of college instruction, the role and ethical implications of technology within the various functions of the university, the place of their disciplines within broader curricular and co-curricular structures, and the responsibilities of the academy to engage with and ultimately to serve their publics.