UMSL Certificate in University Teaching

Whether you plan to have career in academia, industry, business, education, public service, or the health professions, UMSL's graduate Certificate in University Teaching (CUT) will be of value to you. This program, jointly sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and the Graduate School, is open to all UMSL graduate students - both Master's and PhD candidates - and faculty and graduate students from other campuses. If you have any questions about CUT, contact Jennifer McKanry.

CUT Flyer

How Do You Participate? 

CUT is not a linear program, meaning the units may be taken simultaneously when available, and in any order, with one exception. Unit F: Higher Education Foundations, must be completed prior to Unit C: Teaching Practicum Capstone. It is possible to complete all units in one year although most students opt to stretch them over multiple years.

CUT participants register for one semester at a time.

“As a participant in the Certificate in University Teaching (CUT) program, I have truly transformed as an instructor. I have known for years that I wanted to be a university professor, but this goal seemed very challenging and maybe even impossible at times. CUT helped me bridge the gap between pedagogical theory and practice. I learned techniques specific to diverse student populations, I learned online teaching methods just in time to move my courses online for COVID, and I learned about my own understanding of higher education and the kind of classroom I want to build for my students. CUT helped me think through and solidify my values and goals around teaching, and certainly prepared me for the job market.” - Nikki Hurless, Counseling PhD Candidate

“Looking back to the full-year training of CUT... I obtained a much greater confidence in university teaching, especially in course design, assessments and grading, active learning, and most importantly, leveraging online teaching platforms and tools… I thank the CUT program for developing my teaching by providing great opportunities and feedback.” - Yingtong (Amanda) Wu, Biology PhD Candidate

“The Certificate in University Teaching program has really helped me in determining and understanding those nuances that come with university teaching.” - Anna Taft, History MA Student

“As an aspiring educator, I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to commence the Certificate in University Teaching (CUT) program, at the start of my second year of graduate school in August 2019. I wanted to take the courses in the program and ultimately earn the certificate as I knew it would set me apart from other educators following the completion of my PhD. What I did not fully understand back then, was how much I didn’t know about being an educator and how much this program would teach me about how to develop the many skills needed and most importantly perhaps, self-reflection.” - Michael McKeever, Chemistry PhD Candidate

“I am proud of myself. It took me almost two years to decide to enroll on the CUT program. I was concerned it would take time away from my research (which it did) and I was not sure if I would gain much from the program (and I was so very wrong). Now, my only regret was not starting the program earlier! I grew so much as an educator, a mentor and a scientist. And I grew in confidence in myself and the career path that I chose.” - Andreia Figueiredo, Biology PhD Candidate

Attend the Teaching Assistant Academy

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The Teaching Assistant Academy (TAA) is a day-long professional development conference for all Graduate Teaching Assistants, Graduate Research Assistants, and Graduate Instructors. The Academy provides resource and development opportunities for teaching assistants across all disciplines. Specialized sessions address the needs of GA's for surviving and thriving in graduate school and for successful teaching and learning. The Academy is also a great venue to connect with other new and returning Graduate Assistants.

Higher Education Foundations - $50

Fall Semester

Unit F will help build foundations for teaching in higher education. This unit will explore theories and begin building tools for an academic career, as well as provide practical examples of teaching and learning in higher education.

Attend at least 7 of the following workshops:

Teaching & Learning in the University

  • Theories of Learning
  • Active Learning
  • Student Motivation
  • Inclusive Teaching
  • Designing Assessments
  • Grading

Preparing for University Teaching

  • Service-Learning and Civic Engagement
  • Understanding How Implicit Bias Shapes Expectations
  • Philosophy of Teaching & Diversity Statement
  • Program Structure
Submit your Teaching Philosophy, DiversityStatement, and "Notes to future self"


“I learned to effectively design courses, including formulating learning objectives, identifying and designing appropriate assessments, etc, in the first unit (Unit F Higher Education Foundations) of the program. Even though I did not have a chance to design and teach a course of my own during graduate school, this unit showed me how I will be able to achieve so in the future.”  - Yingtong (Amanda) Wu, Biology PhD Candidate

“I looked at titles of each of the workshops and there were some that I imagined I did not need as I already knew everything there was to know. I, of course, was totally mistaken. Thankfully, I was not so arrogant as to skip any of the workshops, and I quickly learned that there was a great deal I did not know, even about simple topics such as Active Learning or Designing Assessments. I quickly learned that these 2-hour Friday morning workshops were going to be more involved and far more informative than I had estimated. The most eye-opening workshop … for me personally, was the Inclusive Teaching workshop. I had no idea about implicit biases or how identities could impact learning.” - Michael McKeever, Chemistry PhD Candidate

“During the CUT program I was also able to connect with other graduate students who were like minded... I learned about teaching in other disciplines and the requirements for TAs in other departments. Although the program is designed in modules, so there is no cohort that goes through all the modules together, I was able to have meaningful interactions with other graduate students, and it was always a joy when I saw a familiar face at another workshop or event on campus.” - Andreia Figueiredo, Biology PhD Candidate 

Teaching with Technology - $50

Fall or Spring 

In this unit, participants will experience working in an online environment and develop examples for setting up the learning environment in an online class. Unit T includes a short course component plus attendance at a conference. The CTL’s Teaching with Technology modules will be offered in a blended format (online modules with two face-to-face meetings).


  • Unit begins with in-person meeting in late October and ends with in-person meeting in late November
  • Attend Focus on Teaching & Technology Conference (FTTC) in late September (requires separate registration; $25 student fee)


  • Unit begins with in-person meeting in mid-March and ends with in-person meeting in mid-April
  • Conference options will be provided.

“CUT introduced me to some incredible resources, and I am really hoping to be able to incorporate them into assessments and in a classroom setting in the future. The Teaching with Technology unit was a good refresher for what I already knew, and for what was new information and resources.” - Anna Taft, History MA Student

“My technical skills, including use of technology to assist with teaching increased greatly. I also had my horizons expanded in terms of inclusion and diversity and the effects those have on learning.” - Michael McKeever, Chemistry PhD Candidate

“This unit helped me to re-envision classroom activities in a virtual space... In this unit, I grasped how to facilitate teamwork through online teaching tools, such as using breakout room in ZOOM for discussions, using shared GoogleDoc folders for group projects, VoiceThread for doing group presentations, Perusall for annotating and commenting on primary literature, and Padlet for sharing students’ ideas and posting photos and video. In addition, with the training on inclusive teaching, I understood the importance of increasing accessibility for students with disabilities, and learned to be aware and use tools to facilitate accessibility (e.g., setting up automated captions for ZOOM meetings)... To sum up, this Unit T training opened up my eyes to use multiple online tools to facilitate teaching.”  - Yingtong (Amanda) Wu, Biology PhD Candidate 

Professional Development - $50 


This unit is designed to prepare you for your academic career. All of the following components must be satisfied:

Attend at least four of the following workshops:

  • University Jobs 101
  • Developing Your Academic CV and ApplicationMaterials
  • Creating a Teaching Portfolio
  • Preparing for Campus Visits
  • Salary Negotiation
  • Writing in Graduate School
  • Finding and Getting Grants

On your own:

  • Attend a CTL colloquium or seminar, submit 1-page summary & reflection
  • Shadow a mentor in your discipline; write a 2-3 page paper describing your experience

“In addition to benefiting my teaching, the Certificate in University Teaching had a strong focus on professional development. I learned how to develop and write a teaching philosophy, I attended panels and discussions on the process of applying for an academic job and how that process differs based on the different types of institutions of higher education, and had the chance to explore what life would look like as a professor in different academic settings. This proved to be extremely useful when I started applying for jobs. Not only did I already have many of the application materials drafted, I also felt confident in identifying which universities would be a good fit for me, which helped me plan to spend more time on those applications.” - Andreia Figueiredo, Biology PhD Candidate  

“I found great value in the professional development sessions because I was planning to enter the job market the following fall semester and I felt vastly unprepared. The professional development unit was great because it provided information on types of positions, how to interpret job ads, and what the job process looked like. I particularly enjoyed the session on salary negotiation where I could ask faculty about the often taboo subject of money.” - Nikki Hurless, Counseling PhD Candidate

“I found the insight of current faculty members incredibly valuable and the open conversations in a panel format certainly need to happen more... This module helped me know where to find potential jobs and how to decipher what the requirements for these jobs were. I have been looking at job postings regularly since and working on developing my skillset and experience to match the requirements I anticipate upon completion of my PhD.” - Michael McKeever, Chemistry PhD Candidate

Teaching Practicum Capstone - $100

Fall or Spring 

This practicum is offered in Fall and Spring semesters and is arranged to fit your teaching schedule. Its purpose is to provide feedback on how you apply the teaching strategies learned in CUT, to help you meet the needs of all learners, and to provide the opportunity to reflect on your teaching. This option may be fulfilled by teaching a face-to-face or online course, guest lecturing in a face-to-face course, or teaching a lab section. The practicum should be taken after completion of Unit F.

One semester prior to beginning Unit C:

  • Arrange to teach a course
  • Contact Jennifer McKanry or Keeta Holmes in the CTL
    to arrange for your teaching to be observed by CTL staff or departmental faculty member 3 times during the semester (roughly once a month)

During Unit C:

  • Complete weekly teaching logs and email to CTL
  • Meet with your practicum observer after each observation

If you are teaching an online course, the Practicum Supervisor will request access to your course
modules to offer feedback on assignments and activities. Submit weekly (or by module) teaching
logs to the Practicum Supervisor who will conference with you at least three times

“The main objective of this module was to have a member from the Center for Teaching and Learning observe classes being taught throughout the semester and provide feedback so that adjustments could be made and the quality of teaching increased. In my feedback there were a number of great points to work on and improve, including increasing the frequency at which I asked questions of the students to encourage more discussion.” - Michael McKeever, Chemistry PhD Candidate

“Through my CUT observations... I learned that teaching is a constant process of evaluation, reflection, and change. I learned to experiment with different methods and course structures and solicit student feedback. Teaching became engaging and interesting to me, and I enjoyed discovering how my class responded to the assignments and activities. I was comforted in knowing that teachers at every level of experience are reworking their courses as needed- I felt less pressure to have the perfect class.” - Nikki Hurless, Counseling PhD Candidate

Teaching Portfolio - no fee

After completing all other units - Required

After all coursework or all units are completed, submit a teaching portfolio that includes the various materials developed during CUT which showcase your teaching experience and expertise. The portfolio may be organized in a Google folder, developed as a website, or discuss with the CTL if there is a format most useful to your job search. The portfolio should be submitted to the CTL no later than the mid-semester point of the semester in which you want to complete the CUT program. You will receive feedback in one to two weeks after your submission. Remember to keep a copy for your job search!

Contents include:

  • A two-page introduction and reflection on how CUT has informed your teaching
  • Your philosophy of teaching
  • Professional Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • All syllabi and handouts, active learning activities, writing or homework assignments, and rubrics
  • Relevant artifacts such as summaries or midterm feedback and final course evaluation, letters from
    students, or graded papers
  • Your Teaching Resources Portfolio
  • Other evidence of professional development, e.g., programs from CUT, CTL or Graduate Student
  • Professional Development Conferences; certificates of attendance; honors and awards