Apprenticeship in College Teaching

The Apprenticeship in College Teaching Program is a free, non-credit-bearing program that prepares graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for teaching careers in higher education.

ACT seminars bring participants together across disciplines to engage important pedagogical questions. Classroom observations allow for discipline-specific discussion with faculty mentors in participants' departments. And the final Teaching Portfolio and reflective essay encourage participants to synthesize what they’re learning.  

The program can be completed at the participant’s own pace, and successful completion of the program results in a robust teaching portfolio and certificate issued by the Office of the Provost.

Course Design (Core)

Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, O'Neill 250

Kim Humphrey, Instructional Designer

At the heart of every successful classroom is a well-designed course. In this interactive seminar, we will consider the basics of a “backwards design” approach to course development that seeks to align course goals, assessments, and instruction. We’ll also talk about how course structure can impact student learning and classroom climate. Kim Humphrey will facilitate this session. Enrollment is limited; please register as soon as possible, but no later than September 6th.  

Register for the ACT Seminar: Course Design (Core)

Assignment Design (Core)

Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, O'Neill 250

Francesca Minonne, Assistant Director for Graduate Student Programs

Working from a very broad definition of “assignment,” this interactive seminar invites participants to think through the qualities of an effective assignment as well as strategies for structuring assignments that are meaningful and motivating to students. We’ll also consider how learning science research can inform our thinking about assignment design. Francesca Minonne will facilitate this session. Enrollment is limited; please register as soon as possible, but no later than September 14th.

Register for the ACT Seminar: Assignment Design (Core)

Teaching from the Margins: Strategies for Instructors from Underrepresented Groups (Elective)

Tuesday, October 4, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, O'Neill 250

Kim Humphrey, Instructional Designer

For instructors who identify as belonging to historically underrepresented groups -- who don’t fit their students’ assumptions about who a “typical professor” should be -- the classroom can present unique challenges. In this session we’ll discuss some of the common challenges faced by underrepresented instructors and share strategies for addressing them. Kim Humphrey will facilitate this session. Enrollment is limited; please register as soon as possible, but no later than September 27th.

Register for the ACT Seminar: Teaching from the Margins (Elective)

Active Learning (Core)

Thursday, October 13, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, O'Neill 250

Sarah Castricum, Assistant Director for Faculty Programs

Hands-on activities such as problem solving and teamwork hold a lot of promise to transform learning, but they can also seem challenging to develop and evaluate. This interactive session will explore ways to structure activities that will meet your learning goals for your students and offer them the support they need to succeed. We will consider how to use active learning in any discipline, class setting and time frame. Sarah Castricum will facilitate this session. Enrollment is limited; please register as soon as possible, but no later than October 6th. 

Register for the ACT Seminar: Active Learning (Core)

Grading for Learning (Core)

Thursday, October 20, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, O'Neill 250

Francesca Minonne, Assistant Director for Graduate Student Programs

Grades can be a significant source of feedback, both evaluating performance and guiding future learning. They can also be a source of doubt and anxiety -- for both students and instructors. In this interactive session, we will consider how learning science and psychology encourage us to think differently about how we approach grading. And we’ll talk about practical strategies -- including the use of rubrics -- for grading more consistently, effectively, and efficiently. Francesca Minonne will facilitate this session. Enrollment is limited; please register as soon as possible, but no later than October 13th.

Register for the ACT Seminar: Grading for Learning (Core)

Grading for Learning (Core)

Thursday, October 27, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, O'Neill 250

Francesca Minonne, Assistant Director for Graduate Student Programs

Grades can be a significant source of feedback, both evaluating performance and guiding future learning. They can also be a source of doubt and anxiety -- for both students and instructors. In this interactive session, we will consider how learning science and psychology encourage us to think differently about how we approach grading. And we’ll talk about practical strategies -- including the use of rubrics -- for grading more consistently, effectively, and efficiently. Francesca Minonne will facilitate this session. Enrollment is limited; please register as soon as possible, but no later than October 20th.

Register for the ACT Seminar: Grading for Learning (Core)

Creating Effective Learning Environments (Core)

Monday, October 31, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, O'Neill 250

Kim Humphrey, Instructional Designer

This interactive seminar provides a practical discussion of how to foster a positive classroom climate that promotes student learning. Participants will discuss strategies for mitigating belonging uncertainty and stereotype threat in their classrooms through reflecting on their own and their students' social locations as well as considering course content. Kim Humphrey will facilitate this session. Enrollment is limited; please register as soon as possible, but no later than June 9th

Register for the ACT Seminar: Creating Effective Learning Environments (Core)

Getting Started in Online Contexts (Elective)

Monday, November 7, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, O'Neill 250

Nirmal Trivedi, Assistant Director for Teaching, Learning and Technology

Many institutions are increasing their numbers of online course and program offerings. As an instructor, the opportunity to teach in a new modality creates the potential to expand traditional ways of teaching and enhance engagement for learners. This interactive workshop will be a starting point for you to critically reflect on your perceptions and experiences as pertains to online teaching and learning. It will also allow you to explore strategies for bridging the gap between expectations and the realities of online teaching. Nirmal Trivedi will facilitate this session. Enrollment is limited; please register as soon as possible, but no later than October 31st. 

Register for the ACT Seminar: Getting Started in Online Contexts (Elective)

Planning for Better Discussions (Elective)

Wednesday, November 30, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 PM, O'Neill 250

Francesca Minonne, Assistant Director for Graduate Student Programs

Whether you’re faced with a sea of silent students or trying to get a runaway conversation back on topic, leading class discussion can be one of the most challenging – and enjoyable – parts of your work as an instructor. In this interactive session, we’ll talk about strategies to help you and your students prepare for learning-rich discussions. Francesca Minonne will facilitate this session. Enrollment is limited; please register as soon as possible, but no later than November 23rd.

Register for the ACT Seminar: Planning for Better Discussions (Elective)

The Apprenticeship in College Teaching Program combines opportunities for group inquiry into important pedagogical questions with individual reflection on teaching practices. Successful completion of the program involves attending at least seven ACT seminars, participating in two classroom observations, and compiling a teaching portfolio and reflective essay. Although it is possible to fulfill all ACT requirements in a single year, participants can take as long as they need, while they are students at Boston College, to complete the program. While we prefer for participants to complete the program by the time they graduate, we are willing to extend this deadline to two months past their graduation date. Please note that full program requirements are below and participants may enroll at any time.

Program Changes

The following requirements reflect changes to the ACT Program that went into effect on August 1, 2016. Participants who registered for the program prior to August 2016 are welcome to complete the program according to the requirements that were in place when they first registered. Since the prior set of required workshops will no longer be offered, participants can choose from any of the new required workshops to meet that expectation. If you have questions about how to meet program requirements, contact the Graduate Programs Coordinator (megan.lease@bc.edu).

Program Registration

Registration for the ACT Program is open to all Boston College graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, whether or not they will have any classroom responsibilities while at BC. Registration is on a rolling basis, so participants can sign up at any time:

  • Submit the online ACT registration form by clicking on the “Register” tab above.
  • Attend a required brief orientation with the Graduate Programs Coordinator to discuss their goals for the ACT program and to answer any questions.

ACT Program Requirements

Successful completion of the program involves:

  • attending seven ACT seminars (five required seminars and two electives);
  • participating in two classroom observations (as observer and observed);
  • compiling a teaching portfolio that includes a teaching philosophy, sample syllabus, and other relevant teaching materials; and
  • submitting a short essay that critically reflects on what you’ve learned in the program.

More information about each of these requirements is available below.

Program Completion

Once you have completed all requirements of the program (including the submission of a portfolio that meets program expectations), the Assistant Director for Graduate Student Programs (francesca.minonne@bc.edu) will contact you about scheduling an Exit Interview to conclude your participation in the program.

All recent ACT graduates are also invited to participate in the annual Graduate Student Teaching Recognition Ceremony, where we award that year’s ACT Certificates. Students who wish to receive their certificate at the end of this academic year should plan to complete program requirements and submit their materials by Friday, February 24, 2023.

Observation And Portfolio Forms

ACT participants are expected to provide written reflections on two observations:

ACT participants are also expected to provide a completed Teaching Portfolio and Reflective Essay:

If you have questions regarding any of these forms, please contact centerforteaching@bc.edu.

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