Each fall, approximately 200 new CUNY Graduate Center Graduate Teaching Fellows (GTFs) from 31 doctoral programs at the Graduate Center teach their first college courses at one of CUNY’s eleven senior colleges. These courses are, for the most part, wholly designed by GTFs who are entering their second year of doctoral study. Those GTFs will teach for at least six semesters, and many teach several additional courses as adjuncts at CUNY in subsequent years. Each class of GTFs works with approximately 50,000 CUNY undergraduates over a three-year span. Dozens of additional Graduate Center students who do not have GTFs teach at CUNY as well.
Launched in Summer 2018, the TLC’s Teach@CUNY Summer Institute is available to doctoral students between their first and second years. Beyond the training the Institute provides new college teachers, the Institute also facilitates the exploration of pedagogy just as doctoral students’ scholarly identity is taking shape. These students have been reading deeply in their fields for a year, and when they enter the Institute, many have just completed or are preparing for comprehensive exams. Some are anxious about the responsibility that awaits them as new professors in the fall, and more than a few have learned little about the contexts in which they’ll be teaching. The Institute signals that the Graduate Center believes teaching is as important as research to emerging scholarly identities. It prepares these scholars not only for their upcoming teaching responsibilities, but for a lifetime as engaged, committed educators, whether that work happens inside or outside of the college classroom.
The Institute is designed by the TLC’s staff, who have taught dozens of courses across CUNY and who spend each academic year working with GC student instructors in a variety of ways. Their knowledge and perspective keep the Institute fresh and responsive to the needs of GTFs. For instance, in 2020, the TLC redesigned and launched a completely virtual Institute in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its curriculum was recalibrated to prepare GTFs to teach in multiple instructional modes in Fall 2020 and beyond.
The TLC also offers a yearly Mid-Winter Institute, between the Fall and Spring semesters. To read more about the 2021 Mid-Winter Institute, visit http://cuny.is/tcuny-winter-inst.
The Institute has been supported by gifts from the Charina Foundation and the Lumina Foundation, and institutionally by the Graduate Center’s Provost Office, the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Library Services at CUNY Central, and the CUNY Academy for Arts and Sciences. The Center for Advanced Study in Education (CASE) has developed formative and summative evaluations of the Institute which has helped shape the curriculum and has measured its impact on GTFs as they move forward with their careers.