CTL Mini-Courses in College Teaching

CTL offers a range of short courses designed for graduate students and post-docs.  These courses count toward the CTL certificate's workshop requirements and focus on preparing graduate students as future faculty.


Educators are responsible for creating classes in which all students feel welcome and capable of succeeding. How can identities salient to our students (race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, and other backgrounds) not only be valued in the classroom, but leveraged as strengths for learning? In this mini course, participants will uncover a variety of approaches to help students learn and thrive to the best of their abilities. Over five weekly meetings, participants will complete a series of readings, engage in discussion on inclusive teaching, and identify skills and practices to implement in their classes to make these more inclusive and equitable. Participants will also draft and workshop academic job market materials so that these convey a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Open to Penn doctoral and terminal master’s students and postdocs. Attendance counts as two workshops towards the CTL Teaching Certificate.

This program will next be offered in fall 2021, times/dates TBD. To register, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/KDeRQn734GNxWu3c7 Any questions? Contact Jamiella Brooks.


The Course in College Teaching is a ten-session seminar intended to prepare postdoctoral fellows and graduate students nearing the job market to teach college courses and to help them develop as instructors. The course will provide a structured series of workshops and discussions to help PhD students or postdoctoral fellows with little or no teaching experience. (Note: except in fields like design where a masters is a terminal degree, the Course in College Teaching is not appropriate for masters students.) Each session will use practical, hands-on activities to help students reflect on their own teaching goals and style. Students who complete the course will consider concrete ways of organizing, preparing for and teaching a course. Students will also create a portfolio of teaching materials – from sample assignments to in-class activities to syllabi – that they can use on the job market and to prepare them for their future as teachers.

This program will next be offered in spring 2022. It will run for nine sessions on Wednesdays from 3-4pm,beginning the week of January 24 and ending the week of April 18. For more information contact Ian Petrie.



Effective and inclusive mentorship facilitates the educational and professional development of all of our mentees. This mini-course is designed to highlight some of the commonly-defined best practices of mentorship while offering opportunities to reflect on our own experiences. We will discuss some evidence-based practices and outline concrete ways to incorporate those strategies into our mentorship. Some practices include creating a communication plan, giving and receiving useful feedback, cultivating our mentee’s sense of identity within our fields, and building mentorship networks. We consider these strategies in the context of the multiple roles we serve as a mentor.

This program will next be offered in spring 2022, 10:00-11:30am every other Tuesday for five sessions: 3/15, 3/29, 4/12, 4/26, and 5/10. Here is a more detailed description of the Meaningful Mentorship Mini-CourseTo register, fill out this form. This course will be offered again, so if this time does not work for your schedule, please register and we will reach out when openings become available. If you have questions, email Cait Kirby.


If you’re designing a course to propose here at Penn (or another institution), or for a job market sample and you’d like some structure, camaraderie, and feedback to keep you on track, consider signing up for CTL’s Course Development Seminar. As a group, we will work on articulating course objectives, identifying content/readings, designing  assignments/assessments and crafting course policies. After the first meeting, each session will require all participants to submit an element of their course.

This program will next be offered in spring 2022. It will meet Fridays from 3-4:30 on 2/25, 3/4, 3/18 and 4/8. For more information contact Ian Petrie.


This four-meeting mini course is designed to give graduate students and post-docs an introduction to research applicable to student learning which may be translated into concrete teaching strategies across the disciplines. Readings for each session will be drawn from recent works such as Susan Ambrose et al., How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (2010), James Lang Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning (2016) and Sarah Rose Cavanagh’s The Spark of Learning (2016), as well as journal articles from participants’ disciplines. We will determine the readings in light of the group’s particular interests.

This program will next be offered in summer 2022. For more information contact Ian Petrie.


When implemented effectively, active learning techniques have been shown to improve learning outcomes. This four week mini-course is designed to help participants explore active learning and consider how to effectively implement these techniques in various classroom settings. This course is intended for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows interested in utilizing these techniques in recitations or their own courses, now or in the future. 
Please note: this mini-course is not the same as Active Learning TA Training. That required training does not count towards the CTL Teaching Certificate.

This program will next be offered in summer 2022.


This four-meeting mini course is designed to introduce graduate students to online teaching, considering how to teach a fully online course that is both engaging for students and meets rigorous standards.   Students will get experience working with the Canvas platform and think creatively about how to use Canvas and a wide range of other online tools.  Alonside this technical experience, students will consider key pedagogical questions for teaching online such as keeping students motivated and  creating a sense of community.  The sessions will help graduate students prepare not only for online and technology-enhanced teaching at Penn, but also in their future careers as faculty in an increasingly digital academy.

This program will next be offered in 2022.



This mini course will introduce graduate students to a range of tools that they might use for teaching and provide a test kitchen where they can try tools, design assignments and lessons, and get and give feedback on their teaching ideas. The seminar is geared both toward students who are novices in digital environments and students with a good bit of experience in the hopes that instructors with a range of different experiences can help each other develop effective ideas for incorporating digital tools into their classes. By the end of the four-week session, students will have some familiarity with a range of digital tools and have designed a complete assignment that they might use in a class. 
For more information contact Cathy Turner.