In STEM fields, postdoctoral positions are frequently the launching point into the professoriate. However, given the demands of their research commitments, many postdocs have very limited teaching experience when they begin applying for academic jobs. To enable postdocs to build their skills in teaching in the sciences, CRLT and Rackham Graduate School collaborated to create a unique opportunity for U-M postdoctoral scholars: the Postdoctoral Short-Course on College Teaching in Science and Engineering (PSC). The PSC has been offered seven times in a face-to-face format since its debut in 2012, and an online version of the course has been offered twice with Rackham and the U-M Office of Academic Innovation.
CRLT is currently accepting applications for the face-to-face version of the course during the Winter 2017 term. The course will meet on Wednesdays from 9:00am-12:00pm from Jaunary 4th through February 22nd, 2017. Applications are due by 8:00am EST on November 11th, 2016.
More information about the face-to-face and online versions of the course can be found on the PSC webpage
Feedback from previous participants attests that the PSC can be a transformative experience for postdocs:
“I wasn’t planning on teaching as part of my career. PSC showed me that not only do I enjoy teaching, but that I am capable of doing it well. It’s changed the type of job I’m applying for.” (from a postdoc in engineering)
“During a campus interview, the search committee chair asked me how I would actively engage students in their introductory courses with over 100 students. After PSC, I was totally prepared to answer this question and could provide examples from my course design project and practice teaching session.” (from a postdoc in the biomedical sciences)
In order to flexibly accommodate the demanding research obligations of U-M’s postdocs, the PSC uses a “flipped class” model. Before each of the sessions, participants watch short video podcasts and complete preparatory online assignments to establish basic mastery of teaching and learning concepts. During face-to-face meetings, the postdocs engage exclusively in hands-on, experiential learning, practice applying the concepts, and participate in reflective discussions. Both online and during class, the instructors model research-based teaching strategies, so that participants can experience these approaches from the perspectives of their future students.