FAQs

Have a question about the TDP? We may have already answered it here.

Detailed information about the TDP

As you start and make your way through the TDP, chances are you’ll have a question not answered by the program overview. On this page, we’ve collected responses to questions from TDP participants. If you don’t find the information you’re looking for here on this page, email your question to us — we’ll be glad to answer it, and then add it to the FAQs.

TDP program basics

Satisfying requirements: General and Foundational Track questions

Satisfying requirements: Advanced Track questions

Changing TDP tracks

Completing TDP tracks

TDP program basics

Who can participate in the TDP?

The TDP program is available to currently enrolled Columbia University doctoral students, and MFA students who sign up with their UNIs at http://bit.ly/tdpsignup.

Currently enrolled Teachers College doctoral students may register and participate, but due to resource constrictions we must limit TC student participation to the Foundational Track.

Is the TDP a certificate program?

Due to New York State laws, completers of a TDP track do not not earn a formal certificate (as do participants in some comparable programs at other universities). However, track completion earns a letter outlining track competencies and certifying completion from the Center for Teaching and Learning. Completion will also be noted on Columbia University transcripts for doctoral students in the following schools: Arts and Sciences, SEAS, Mailman, Nursing, and School of the Arts.

How much time will this program take?

Requirements for the Foundational Track could technically be fulfilled within a semester, with some pre-planning. Requirements for the Advanced Track could be fulfilled within two years (but see information about getting credit for your past activity below).

Please note that participants do not need to complete the TDP within a specific time frame (semester, year); they can stay in the program and complete requirements on their own schedule as long as they are currently enrolled Columbia doctoral students. We encourage participants to set goals for their work in the TDP each semester to guide their own teaching development as well as their progress in the TDP. Requirements for the Foundational Track could technically be fulfilled within a semester, with some pre-planning. Requirements for the Advanced Track could be fulfilled within two years (but see information about getting credit for your past activity below).

See breakdown of estimated time on TDP program elements

Do I have to declare which track I want to be on when I join the program?

No. TDF participants can join the program and then decide whether to exit at the Foundational level or keep working to accomplish Advanced Track requirements.

All TDP registrants by default begin on the Foundational Track level, and they may request to shift to the Advanced Track after completing a base level of work. See more information about switching to the Advanced Track.

Due to resource constrictions, participation of Teachers’ College doctoral students is limited to the Foundational Track.

How do TDP participants document their work?

CTL is running a TDP Canvas site where participants post all required elements of the track they are completing (such as reflections on attended workshops and/or events, reflections on being observed teaching, evidence of work in seminars and/or institutes, teaching statements, etc).

Why do you require written reflections?

To receive credit for attending workshops and participating in observations, TDP participants are required to post succinct reflections in the Canvas site, guided by module instructions. Additionally, as part of the Preparing to Teach module on the Foundational Track, you will upload two teaching-related documents–a Policy Sheet and First Day Plan–with annotations to indicate the context for which they are planned. These reflections and annotations serve to solidify the insights you’ve obtained in the session in a timely manner.

As you move through the program these reflections will grow into a small archive of your engagement with teaching development that can then be referenced as you plan instruction and approach the job market. These reflections are also a way that CTL can track your engagements in our programs, and better understand how our offerings are helping you to meet the core objectives of the Foundational and/or Advanced track.

For more information on what reflection is, why the TDP requires it, and what we expect from your reflections, please see Reflection Guidelines.

What is an annotation?

Annotations are brief, reflective pieces of writing that contextualize your documents. Annotations of materials like first day plans and policy sheets define the size and nature of the class it you plan to teach, explain why you chose a particular approach, provide evidence that your approach was (or is likely to be) effective, and detail what you learned by taking this approach.

Satisfying requirements: General and Foundational Track questions

Will the workshops I attended in the past count?

CTL workshops attended from Fall 2015 on are eligible, but a full reflection (around 300 – 500 words) on a workshop is necessary for it to count towards TDP requirements. For these reflections, we encourage you to update any documentation you may already have completed in CTL programs.

A full reflection considers specific takeaways from the workshop and possible applications to your teaching. It provides thoughtful answers to questions such as: What did you learn or experience during this session that was unexpected or surprising? What will you change or add to your approach to teaching? What impact will this new knowledge/process have on your students’ learning?

For more information on what reflection is and what we expect from your reflections, check out the Reflection Guidelines.

I completed the CTL Orientation to Teaching for Graduate Students. Does this count toward the TDP requirement?

The CTL Orientation to Teaching for Graduate Students is available on-demand and provides guidance for creating two items necessary to complete the TDP Preparing to Teach module:  a Policy Sheet and First Day Plan, each with annotations.. Annotations of these items define the size and nature of the class it you plan to teach, explain why you chose a particular approach, provide evidence that your approach was (or is likely to be) effective, and detail what you learned by taking this approach.

I haven’t attended Essentials of Teaching workshops. How would I meet that requirement?

We run Essentials workshops every semester. Alternatively (as detailed below), you can submit a syllabus built around learning goals in lieu of attendance and reflection, showing aptitude in topics covered during the Essentials sequence.

I think that the Essentials of Learning requirement would be redundant for me. Is there an alternative to attending these workshops?

The Essentials of Teaching and Learning sequence covers foundational approaches in inclusive teaching practices, defined learning objectives, assessments linked to those objectives, and active learning techniques. While we recommend these workshops for instructors at any level of experience, TDP participants may meet an Essentials workshop requirement by submitting an original syllabus reflecting competency in the application of the Essentials workshop topic to a course, accompanied by explanatory reflection. Details are here.

To request this substitute, contact the CTL at CTLgrads@columbia.edu. If a substitute is granted, CTL will subsequently review the submitted syllabus and accompanying reflection to confirm that they satisfy the “Essentials” requirement.

Do all CTL workshops count for the pedagogy workshop point requirement?

No, this requirement is limited to pedagogy workshops that introduce participants to new ideas, research findings, or methods in and around teaching and application to their own practice. Programs aimed at generating job market materials (teaching statements, diversity statements, portfolio building) are highly recommended, especially for Advanced Track participants, but do not count towards pedagogy workshop attendance. Similarly, TDP info sessions or CTL events focused on career pathways are highly recommended, but do not count towards the pedagogy workshop requirement. You can find a current list of CTL offerings that count for the TDP on the Event Finder.

Do graduate student-led CTL programs count for the TDP?

Your are welcome to meet TDP pedagogy workshop requirements by attending and reflecting on CTL programs designed and led by graduate students. These include:

  • Lead Teaching Fellows workshops: See details here. LTFs run workshops in their home departments (find out if your department has one this year via the 2021-22 LTF directory). Keep an eye out for announcements from them. If an LTF opens their workshop to participants beyond their department, we list it on the Event Finder.
  • CTLgrads Learning Communities: See details here. You can earn two pedagogy workshop credits for attending a full two-part series with reflection on the full Learning Community (attach your LC reflection to two Pedagogy Workshop modules).
  • CTLgrads Journal Club: See details here. Journal Club sessions are sometimes led by CTL staff and sometimes by graduate students particularly engaged in research around an educational topic.

I went to a CTL event or sponsored conference. Does that count for workshop attendance?

CTL events like the Inclusive Teaching Forum, the Celebration of Teaching and Learning Symposium, and the Teaching Transformations graduate student conference count as pedagogical workshop attendance for the TDP, as long as they’re accompanied with a full reflection.

Do CTL fellowship meetings count as attending pedagogy workshops?

No, CTL Fellows meetings (such as kickoffs, pod meetings, end-of-semester gatherings) do not count for the TDP workshop quota, which is focused on pedagogical development.

I led an LTF workshop or a CTLgrads Learning Community. Would that count?

Yes, leading these sessions counts toward the workshop attendance requirement. Include your reflection about the event in the TDP for workshop credit. Graduate student-led credits are allotted as outlined in the previous FAQ.

I am currently off campus or for other reasons cannot make in-person workshops at the CTL. Are there any online options available for pedagogy workshops?

Yes. Participants in the TDP can earn credit for pedagogy workshops through the following online venues. Please let the CTL know if you are planning to pursue either option by emailing CTLgrads@columbia.edu:

I’m not teaching at Columbia before graduating. How do I fulfill the requirement Application and Practice requirement on the Foundational Track?

While we encourage TDP participants to complete a CTL Teaching Observation or Mid-Semester Review while they are working with students at Columbia (as a TA or in another instructional capacity), we realize that this is not always possible. CTL Microteaching Practice sessions run every semester, and can be used to fulfill the Application and Practice requirement.

Satisfying requirements: Advanced Track questions

How does attending a CTL seminar or intensive count for TDP requirements?

Successful completion of a seminar or institute can be used to satisfy the Advanced Track’s ‘intensive’ requirement or pedagogy workshop requirements.

Satisfaction of the Advance Track’s ‘intensive’ requirement entails completion of a CTL seminar or institute. See instructions detailed in this module. Note that only one seminar or institute can be applied to Advanced Track’s ‘intensive’ requirement. A seminar or institute attended before switching onto the Advanced Track may be counted for this requirement.

If, instead, you are applying a seminar or institute towards pedagogy workshop requirements, submit reflections for each individual session. You may earn pedagogy workshop credits for seminar session reflections no matter which track you are on.

Will an institute or seminar (‘intensive’) I took in the past count?

Yes, but you need to point us to your completed work in that program.

Work in pre-2018 institutes and seminars that was posted on the now-defunct Wikispaces platform has been archived by CTL. Contact us at CTLgrads@columbia.edu if you need to retrieve this older work. Please note that Representing Your Teaching Summer Intensive (RYTSI) sessions do not count toward the intensive requirement.

I’m not teaching at Columbia before graduating, and therefore cannot be observed teaching a class. How would I fulfill this requirement for the Advanced Track?

To fulfill the full Application and Practice requirement on the Advanced track, at least one of your two observations must be a CTL Teaching Observation or Mid-Semester Review. If you are not teaching, you will need to creatively set up an observable event to showcase your teaching in your discipline for at least 50 minutes. You might, for example, arrange to be a guest instructor for a class at Columbia. If you are leading a different kind of instructional event at Columbia, check with CTL to see if it qualifies for the observation requirement. Note that leading an LTF event does not count for the TDP Application and Practice requirement.

If you are teaching at a different institution, it is possible that you could gather footage of your teaching that could be used for an observation. Footage of you teaching taken before your engagement in TDP-related programs would not qualify. Contact CTL at ctlgrads@columbia.edu to see what steps would be necessary for an observation to count.

Which faculty members can I observe for that Advanced Track requirement?

Any instructor currently teaching at Columbia or Barnard can be observed, after they grant you permission ahead of time. You cannot observe a class you are enrolled in. Instead, we encourage you to explore and observe an instructor you’d don’t know, and one in a different field or discipline. This reflection will remain confidential; CTL will not share it with the observed faculty or with others in the TDP program.

In the TDP Canvas site you will find language to send to an instructor ahead of time, seeking permission to observe, as well as a template for your faculty observation reflection. We also encourage you to come to workshops we periodically offer at CTL on how to conduct an effective teaching observation.

How do people on the Advanced Track build a digital teaching portfolio?

Participants on the Advanced Track build a full portfolio of their teaching development on a platform developed by the CTL or an equivalent platform, incorporating selected pieces of their work exported from the TDP Canvas site.

The CTL-designed digital platform is hosted for free at Columbia, and may be activated at any time for TDP participants on the Advanced Track. CTL digital portfolios can be made public or password-protected, depending on the preference of the portfolio-builder. See detailed information about the portfolio platform in the TDP Canvas site.

On the TDP Track Transition form used to switch to the Advanced Track, you can indicate your desire to set up an e-portfolio (see information about switching to the Advanced Track). CTL will review this request and send you necessary documentation to get started. Alternately, you can email CTLgrads@columbia.edu or drop by our office hours Fridays 2-4pm online and in 212 Butler Library (during the academic year) to initiate this process.

Will I have access to my digital teaching portfolio after I leave Columbia?

TDP digital teaching portfolios are built on a templated WordPress platform. This allows for individual customization as well as exporting to WordPress hosts beyond Columbia. At the same time, as Columbia alum you can also continue to update your Columbia-hosted portfolio after you graduate. As part of the Advanced Track exit interview, CTL will provide guidance for transferring and updating your portfolio after you graduate.

Changing TDP tracks

Which track am I on in the TDP?

By default, new registrants for the TDP join on the Foundational Track. They can then complete the Foundational Track or opt to switch to the Advanced Track (see this page for information on track switching).

How do I get onto the Advanced Track of the TDP?

You may switch from the Foundational to the Advanced Track of the TDP anytime after completing the Preparing to Teach and Essentials requirements in this program.

Please note that you will still need to fill in any Pedagogy Workshop or Application and Practice requirements you have yet to complete on the Foundational Track in order to complete the program on the Advanced Track. The TDP Program Overview, the TDP Planning Sheet, and/or a review of your module submissions in TDP CourseWorks can help you determine if you have any remaining Foundational Track requirements to complete. If you are switching onto the Advanced Track, you will not need to complete the Foundational Track capstone reflection.

To switch tracks, fill out this quick TDP Track Transition form. In this form, you will be asked to identify a topic of interest to focus on as you proceed through the Advanced Track (see next FAQ for more information). Once this form is submitted, CTL will then review and confirm via email that you are on the Advanced Track.

Why am I being asked to identify a topic of interest for the Advanced Track?

A important goal for the Advanced Track of the TDP is the cultivation of inquiry-based pedagogical development. To help you pursue this goal, beginning in May 2019, we ask you to indicate a particular topic of interest to focus on when you formally switch onto the Advanced Track. As you complete the track, we invite you to continually reflect on this topic while engaging in future TDP activities. We will discussing your thoughts about this topic during the Advanced Track exit interview.

Can I work on Advanced Track completion before formally switching tracks?

Yes, even if you are not ready to formally switch from the Foundational to the Advanced track, you can still attend programming and post reflections that will count for Advanced Track completion.

This means that you can attend and reflect on advanced workshops, seminars, and institutes even if you haven’t yet completed the Essentials of Teaching and Learning workshop sequence. When you formally transition to Advanced Track, you’ll be that much closer to Advanced Track completion.

I’m currently on the Advanced Track, but it looks like I’ll only be able to complete the Foundational Track before graduating. Can I switch back?

Yes, just fill out the TDP Track Transition form and request to switch back down to the Foundational Track. Please note that you will need to complete the Foundational Track Capstone Assignment and any other outstanding deliverables for the Foundational Track to complete the track with certification.

Completing TDP tracks

I’ve completed all requirements for the Foundational Track and wish to exit the program with certification. How do I do that?

Congratulations! Please double check that you’ve completed all requirements and alert CTL by filling out the TDP Exit Form. CTL will review your TDP work and confirm your completion. If you are graduating in an upcoming semester and want to ensure transcript notation, keep your eye on track completion deadlines on the Exiting the Program page.

I’ve completed all requirements for the Foundational Track and wish to move on to the Advanced Track. How do I notify you?

Please alert CTL that you’re ready to switch onto the Advanced Track by filling out the TDP Track Transition form.

I’ve completed all requirements for the Advanced Track and wish to exit the program with certification. How do I do that?

Congratulations! Please double check that you’ve completed all requirements and alert CTL by filling out the TDP Exit Form. CTL will review your TDP work and, assuming all Advanced Track requirements have been satisfied, reach out to you to schedule an hour-long exit conversation. This conversation will include discussion of your posted narrative reflection on your experience in the program and your digital teaching portfolio.

If you are graduating in an upcoming semester and want to ensure transcript notation, keep your eye on track completion deadlines on the Exiting the Program page.

It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to complete either track before graduating. How do I remove myself from the TDP?

If you are not planning on completing a TDP track before you graduate, please unregister from the program on the TDP Exit Form.. This will help us have a better sense of who is participating in the program — and to stop emailing you with TDP-related correspondence.

We understand that plans can change. Even if you’ve determined that you won’t be completing a TDP track, we hope you benefited from the work you did in the program anyway!

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