Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

About Teaching Development for Graduate and Professional School Students

The Poorvu Center supports graduate students, professional school students and postdocs through a range of programming that aims to improve the learning experience for Yale undergraduates, while also offering professional development to future faculty that will serve them well in their job search and teaching careers.

In addition to the work of two staff members, the Poorvu Center’s support for these populations is offered by a team of 20 Teaching Fellows, who are graduate students from a range of departments and disciplines. They are selected through an application process based on their commitment to teaching and their readiness to stretch beyond their own discipline. These Fellows gain valuable professional development in pedagogy training and peer mentoring, while giving back to the community they have learned from.

The Teaching Development team offers dozens of workshops for graduate students, postdocs, and professional school students each year. Many are part of a 2- to 4-part series, with the twin goals of developing a learning community and deepening participants’ engagement with the material. These workshops are a combination of repeat topics that constitute our core offerings from year to year and new topics that capture emerging trends in future faculty training. Core topics include: The Fundamentals of Teaching Chemistry, The Fundamentals of Teaching History, Teaching and Mentoring in a Lab Course, Course Design, and Using Rubrics and Grading. New and emerging topics include: The Fundamentals of Inclusive Teaching, Social Media in the Classroom, Accessibility in the Classroom, and Teaching as Research. The slate of workshops is primarily peer-led, allowing Teaching Fellows to be experts before an audience of their peers, and reaching across all disciplines and departments at Yale.

The Teaching Development team offers hundreds of consultations each year. These consultations included teaching observations and one-on-one counseling about course design, writing the teaching statement, and coaching on job talks. The classroom observation cycle, which includes a pre-meeting, a visit to the class, and a post-meeting to debrief about the class, stands as one of the most powerful tools for helping new teachers improve their craft.

McDougal Graduate Teaching Fellows at the Poorvu Center lead programs on effective and innovative teaching, develop teaching resources, and provide individual consultations for graduate student instructors at Yale.