Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Feedback about Associates in Teaching

Feedback about the Associates in Teaching Program from Doctoral Students and Faculty Members


► “Participating in the AT program has been the most enriching experience so far of my time at Yale. I really learned how to lecture and present ideas, documents, and questions to the students.” Doctoral student in History

► “The AT program provided invaluable teaching experience with a faculty mentor who cares deeply about teaching.  From an organizational and pedagogical perspective the students benefited over previous years.” Doctoral student in Physics

► “Participating in the Associates in Teaching program not only allowed me to gain invaluable experience as a primary instructor, but encouraged me to broaden my scholarly interests as well. Because of this, I feel much more confident about my prospects on the job market and would highly recommend that every graduate student try to take advantage of this opportunity.” Doctoral student in Philosophy

► “The AT program is not only a solution to this issue; it should be understood as a fundamental and necessary experience for any graduate student with aspirations of teaching undergraduates. The opportunity to design a syllabus, receive constant feedback, take co-ownership of a course, and, in my particular case, teach freshmen, has been a privilege.  [My faculty co-teacher] is the most dedicated scholar, mentor, and teacher I have encountered during my time at Yale. To borrow from Nigerian writer and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, ‘The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.’ For me, freedom as a solo instructor meant forgoing an opportunity for hands-on learning, an apprenticeship, with a mentor I highly respect. [My faculty co-teacher] made this an experience for mutual growth and collaboration, where the preparation and feedback tasks for our class were shared evenly.  I unilaterally attribute my success as a historian, professor, and mentor going forward to my AT experience.” Doctoral student in History

► “The Associates in Teaching program has been an exceptionally positive experience and has allowed me to gain, firsthand, an essential understanding of university teaching fundamentals such as developing a syllabus, lecturing, and taking initiative in teaching activities. With the encouragement and mentorship of my advisor, this has been the best means of developing my pedagogical skills – skills that are necessary for any educator or academic.” Doctoral student in History of Art

► “When I went on the job market, I felt least prepared to answer questions that concerned teaching, as my only teaching experiences had been as a Teaching Fellow. Senior faculty members in my department became terrific informal mentors, however, I still had questions about basic aspects of teaching. For example:

  • What kinds of readings work best in a seminar versus a lecture? How much should we assume that our students know?
  • What happens if, in an introductory course, there are real discrepancies in students’ academic backgrounds — how can we recognize and work with these differences in a productive way?
  • In terms of assignments: How can we most effectively balance primary- and secondary-source readings?
  • How should we structure assignments such that they challenge students without discouraging or overwhelming them?
  • What are the best strategies for offering constructive feedback?

These are the types of questions that my graduate student co-teacher and I have discussed throughout the past year, since we began planning our course last December. Our class, and our conversations about the class, have deeply enriched my teaching — and my understanding of the relationship between my teaching and research.” Faculty member in History