Why take GPS 989

GPS 989: Philosophy and Practice of University Teaching is a two-term course (Tuesdays 2:00-4:30pm) for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who are currently teaching, have some previous teaching experience (teaching assistant, marking, grading, sessional lecturing, etc), or who have completed GSR 979: Introductory Instructional Skills.   

This course differs from GSR 979: Instructional Skills in that it provides an in-depth opportunity to practice and apply the principles of university teaching.  GPS 989 is ideal for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who are considering a career in teaching as a professor, sessional lecturer, or in non-academic settings such as a manager, leader, or coach.  It is also for students who want to become part of a international community of peers who care about teaching.  For example, many of our alumni continue to stay in touch with one another as they apply for (and receive) teaching positions around the world, long after the course officially ends.

Many of our alumni report that what they actually learn in the GPS 989 course is unexpected: leadership skills such as building rapport, leading teams and many others.   So whether or not you want to become a professor, GPS 989 will teach you the skills you need to be a leader, no matter what you do.

If you plan to teach and take this course at the same time, please be aware that you will need to plan your time accordingly. That being said, many of our graduates feel this is a valuable way to experience learning about teaching in a very practical way.

About this Course

Course Overview

GPS 989 will challenge you to discover or to become more deeply aware of your personal philosophy, approach, and style as a teacher.  It will focus on the best practices of university teaching, the basics of various instructional techniques, and assessment and evaluation methods across the disciplines. 

One of the most important goals of this course is to challenge you to become aware of how and why you are teaching as much as what you are teaching.  While an emphasis is placed on learning practical skills such as planning and delivering a lecture, generating sound assignments and exams, and grading fairly and efficiently, you should know by the end of this course that teaching tools are difficult to apply effectively without an understanding of why you personally use them. 

For more information on course topics and discussions, check out our course blog at: http://words.usask.ca/gsr989/.

Learning Outcomes and Approach

In GPS 989, the teaching team will attempt to model as many different teaching and learning methods as we can.  In particular, we will emphasize collaborative learning techniques such as discussion, case studies, problem solving and many others. You will have many opportunities to apply the principles of university teaching and practice your communication skills throughout the GPS 989 course. There will also be many opportunities throughout the course for peers to discuss and critically reflect on their teaching and learning experiences across various cultural contexts and academic disciplines.  

By taking GPS 989 you will be:  

  • Better prepared to teach, instruct, and communicate as you move into your career as a professor, researcher, or advisor within or beyond the university
  • Exposed to new and innovative ways to teach at the university level
  • Involved in a hands-on learning experience with weekly opportunities to actively practice and discuss the theory and practice of university teaching in a Canadian context

Certificate

GPS 989 is a non-credit (Pass/Fail) course. If you successfully complete the course based on the following requirements, you will receive a certificate and note on your transcript that will indicate a “Pass” in the course.

A “Pass” is based upon:

  • Regular attendance and satisfactory participation (as per course rubric) in all classes in Terms 1 & 2.  Please note that students who miss more than two classes per term must make arrangements to complete additional work.  
  • Satisfactory completion of all assignments by agreed upon deadlines in Terms 1 & 2.

If, for any reason, you need to drop the course, you must do this according to the University’s official processes, dates, and deadlines, or else your transcript will indicate a “Fail.”

Eligibility

To be eligible to enroll in the course, you must:

  • Have some teaching experience (including marking, teaching a lab or tutorial session, guest or sessional lecturing, coaching, working as a tutor) or will be teaching at the same time as taking this course, or who have completed GSR 979: Introductory Instructional Skills
  • Be registered as a Masters or PhD graduate students in both terms (fall and winter; or terms 1 and 2)

Priority will be given to students who have already completed the first year of their program of study.

In addition, you should:

  • Be able to regularly attend class
  • Be able to commit several hours a week (outside of class time) to fully engage in readings and complete reflective and practical teaching assignments

Teaching experience

Ideally for GPS 989 your former teaching experience should be at the university, college, or K-12 level, e.g. if you have taught a class, lab, or tutorial (at the U of S, SIAST, or other institutions, locally, nationally, or globally), worked as a teaching assistant, sessional lecturer, or lab coordinator.  Your former teaching experience also includes similar work that you've completed at other colleges or universities, elementary or secondary school teaching experience (K-12), and/or professional development in teaching and learning (e.g. successful completion of GSR 979: Instructional Skills).  In special cases, we may consider teaching experience from the community, e.g. coaching, tutoring, teaching music lessons, etc.

If you have no prior teaching experience at the university, college, or K-12 levels but will be teaching when taking GPS 989 (e.g. you have an upcoming teaching assignment for the fall or winter terms) we encourage you to supply your letter of offer or other similar documentation for the upcoming year.  If you plan to teach and take this course at the same time, please be aware that you will need to plan your time accordingly. That being said, many of our graduates feel this is a valuable way to experience learning about teaching in a very practical way.

Documentation of your teaching experience may include (but is not limited to) the following:

  • An email or letter from a instructor, faculty colleague, or supervisor outlining your previous teaching experience, including the names of courses that you taught and a description of your teaching responsibilities
  • An official offer of employment from the U of S or another institution/school where you’ve taught (must outline the courses and dates the courses were taught)
  • A letter from a instructor, faculty instructor, or colleague who has observed your teaching

If you have had several past teaching assignments, you'll need to provide documentation regarding only one of your teaching assignments, preferentially the most recent assignment that you've had.

Registration

If you have no prior teaching experience at the university, college, or K-12 levels but will be teaching when taking GPS 989 (e.g. you have an upcoming teaching assignment for the fall or winter terms) we encourage you to supply your letter of offer or other similar documentation for the upcoming year.

Applying

We will be accepting applications for the 2017-2018 academic year beginning May 1. The course will be offered from September 2017 to April 2018 on Tuesday afternoons from 2-4:30pm

Please read the application form carefully. If you are not a current graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan, if your supporting documentation is not attached, or your information is incomplete, we will be unable to process your application. 

The application form below is downloadable as a fillable PDF. Please download the PDF, open it in Acrobat (not Preview), save it, following the instructions below:

1. Name your file as follows: Last name_First name_GPS989app

2. Include your supporting document as an attachment, rather than in the body of the email.  Name this file as follows: Last name_First name_GPS989doc

Email your application form to: gmctl_courses@usask.ca with "GPS 989 Application" in the subject line.

Application process

Once your application has been submitted, you will receive an email from our office confirming we have received your application. Please note it may take up to two weeks to process and approve your application.  You will be notified via the email provided on your application if we have further questions.  We will also use this email address to provide you with instructions on how to register for the course on PAWS if your application is successful.  Please note you are responsible for registering for the course on PAWS if your application is approved.

If you do not receive any communications from our office after two weeks of the date you submitted your application, please contact gmctl_courses@usask.ca to follow up with us.  

Questions?

Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning

GMCTL has a variety of programming, workshops, non-credit courses and resources for graduate students or post-doctorals who are new to teaching and who already have some experience but want to learn more.