The Apprenticeship in College Teaching (ACT)

For the past two years, The Connors Family Learning Center (CFLC) has offered a new program for graduate student teaching assistants and fellows. The Apprenticeship in College Teaching was developed with the Office of the Provost and with input from departments and is designed to prepare graduate students for teaching at BC and in their future careers. Students can combine training offered by their departments with the CFLC seminars to cover a range of teaching topics. Those who complete the program receive a certificate from the Office of the Provost for inclusion in their teaching portfolios. The program is very flexible and students can complete the requirements in one year or over the course of two or even three years.

The first step is to file a plan with the CFLC, including goals and a proposed timeline for completing the program components:

  • Attend a teaching orientation, held at the beginning of each academic year.
  • Attend five required workshops, plus two electives. The required workshops cover:
    • Classroom Management
    • Syllabus Design
    • Grading
    • Creating a Teaching Portfolio
    • Conducting a Teaching Observation.

    The two electives can be chosen from a variety of topics. All workshops can be completed with departmental, university or CFLC programs.

  • Write a course syllabus.
  • Observe and be observed teaching
  • Build a teaching portfolio that includes a reflective statement of teaching philosophy, a CV, samples of work (e.g., exercises, exams, writing assignments), observations and evaluations. All participants have the option of creating an electronic version of the portfolio.

The teaching portfolio is probably the most valuable part of the ACT. Like the program overall, the portfolios have the dual purposes of preparing graduate students to be better teachers at BC and helping them prepare for the job search and interviews. Just the process of creating the portfolio helps a teacher become more reflective and better prepared for future teaching and for talking about teaching. Here are some examples of online teaching portfolios from students in the ACT program:

The ACT program has grown considerably since its beginning in the fall of 2011. Last year, 16 students earned certificates. Currently, over 100 students are enrolled in the ACT and 36 expect to finish this semester or over the summer. Although many participants come from Arts and Sciences and the Lynch School of Education, all the BC schools are represented (GSSW, Law, CSOM and CSON). Several students have told us that the portfolios were mentioned positively on job interviews, as evidence of teaching experience and commitment to developing as a teacher.

If you have questions about the ACT or would like to direct students to the program, please go to our web site or contact Sue Barrett

Sue Barrett
Director, The Connors Family Learning Center