The Bok Teaching Certificate gives GSAS PhD students a tangible marker of their ongoing commitment to developing as teachers in higher education. Guided by three principles—Learn, Practice, Reflect—those who pursue the Certificate explore different topics in teaching and learning through departmental pedagogy courses and Bok Seminars, reflect on their own teaching practice, and compile a portfolio of written materials documenting their experience. We offer a tailored approach for students; no two students follow the same path through the certificate, and they can make choices based on their own background, discipline, and interests.
We are proud to share that so far this year, 28 students have received the Bok Center Teaching Certificate, and 4 have received the Bok Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture.
The following excerpts from candidates’ reflective statements speak to the highly personal nature of the program, the positive experiences that participants have, and what they learn:
“My experience in completing the requirements for the Bok Teaching Certificate over the past three years has taught me that teaching is both an art and a science. At the very least, I know that teaching requires as much preparation and reflection as a book-length project, and I am grateful to all my teachers at the Bok Center for this realization. The lessons I have learnt from the Bok Seminars will remain with me throughout my professional life and will encourage me to strive for being a better teacher.
Aniket De, History
“I found the experience of pursuing the Teaching Certificate to be an extremely valuable one, and I am very glad that I decided to work on it during the pandemic. Pursuing the Certificate offered me a concrete goal and a feeling of support during a difficult and discouraging time. I also learned about many tools and techniques that I likely would not have otherwise been exposed to so early in my teaching career. I believe that taking the Bok Seminars made me feel much more confident in the classroom.”
Sophia Gatzionis, English
“The pursuit of the Bok Teaching Certificate has allowed me to critically reflect on my own teaching and how I can more effectively connect with not only students, but also the general public who are interested in learning more about science. I was able to directly practice various skills related to teaching, such as writing homework questions. The feedback received from others was also extremely helpful, as each seminar had different participants, coming from diverse academic backgrounds, which allowed everyone to benefit from the new insights generated from those working outside of each person’s own individual field. Moreover, the emphasis on “backward design” in course structure with self-consistent learning objectives, problem sets, and exam questions challenged my previous assumptions about course design and have led me to approach my own teaching in new ways.”
Charles Law, Astronomy
We are impressed by our Bok Teaching Certificate recipients’ commitment to developing as teachers, and we are grateful to be a place where graduate student teachers and scholars of all stages can learn, practice, reflect, and connect with a supportive community.