Postdoctoral Short Course on College Teaching in STEM

Resource Title:
Postdoctoral Seminar on College Teaching in STEM
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 2024 Postdoctoral Short Course on College Teaching

January 22 - April 8, 2024

To be notified when the 2025 applications open, please provide your contact information here.

The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) and the Rackham Graduate School are excited to offer the Winter 2024 Postdoctoral Short Course on College Teaching in STEM (PSC) for University of Michigan STEM postdocs. The 10-week course will be offered in a blended format, combining in-person and online synchronous and asynchronous interactions. (See PSC Format & Time Commitment below).  

PSC Overview

The purpose of this 10-week professional development course is to prepare postdoctoral scholars from a variety of STEM disciplines to teach effectively as future faculty members. You will learn a research-based framework that describes how students learn best in STEM courses. The framework will address three major questions:

  • What do cognitive-science and neurobiology tell us about how students learn best?
  • How can we deliberately cultivate a learning environment where all students are treated equitably, have equal access to learning, and feel valued and supported in their learning?
  • How do we incorporate principles for effective course and lesson design into our teaching?

Throughout this course, you'll discuss and apply learning theory and strategies, develop instructional skills, create classroom and job search materials, and interact with U-M postdoctoral colleagues across the STEM disciplines. You will demonstrate your acquired skills through three capstone experiences:

  • A practice teaching session;
  • A syllabus for a course you may teach;
  • A statement of teaching philosophy.


  • This course is open to current University of Michigan postdocs in STEM disciplines (e.g., biological/biomedical sciences, computer & information sciences, engineering, environmental & geosciences, health sciences, mathematics & statistics, physical sciences, psychology & neurosciences).
  • The course requires no tuition or payment from participants or their advisors. 
  • To be eligible, an applicant's faculty supervisor MUST verify their support for the applicant's full participation in the program by responding to the email sent by [email protected] after submission of the application. 
  • For questions, please e-mail [email protected]

PSC Format & Time Commitment

The course will be offered in a blended format, combining in-person and online synchronous and asynchronous interactions. Learning and engagement activities are expected to take about 5-7 hours per week, on average. We will progress through the content and learning activities as a cohort.

The PSC is organized into 10 weekly learning modules plus a course orientation module (see Schedule at a Glance). Seven of the weekly learning modules will also have a synchronous meeting (online or in person). We ask that you commit to attending all 7 synchronous meetings and completing all weekly learning modules*. 

* We understand that COVID-19 remains endemic and has implications on managing the demands of work-life especially challenging. We want to reassure you that we understand and this should not be a barrier to your participation in the Postdoctoral Short Course. However, if you expect that you will miss more than one weekly learning module, we may ask you to consider applying during a subsequent year.

CRLT has an institutional commitment to ensuring that all of our programs and events are accessible to all individuals. Please reach out to [email protected] if you believe you may need an accommodation or have questions about accessibility. 

Schedule at a Glance

Week 0: Orientation (1/22/24 - 1/29/24)

  • Course Overview
  • Synchronous Meeting (In-Person) 1/22/24 @ 9-10:30am

Week 1: Principles of Teaching & Learning (1/29/24 - 2/5/24)

  • How People Learn, Trends in STEM Education
  • Online Synchronous Meeting (Zoom) 2/5/24 @ 9-10:30am

Week 2: Course Design, Part 1 (2/5/24 - 2/12/24)

  • Learner-centered Course Design, Backward Design, Writing Learning Objectives
  • Optional Synchronous Meeting (Zoom) 2/12/24 @ 9-10:30am

Week 3: Course Design, Part 2 (2/12/24 - 2/19/24)

  • Assessing Student Learning, Equitable Grading & Assessment
  • Online Synchronous Meeting (Zoom) 2/19/24 @ 9-10:30am

Week 4: Course Design, Part 3 (2/19/24 - 2/26/24)

  • Instructional Methods & Learning Activities, Active Learning, Course Alignment, 5-minute Microteaching
  • Synchronous Meeting (In-Person) 2/26/24 @ 9-10:30am

Week 5: Equity-focused Teaching, Part 1 (2/26/24 - 3/4/24)

  • Principles of Equity-focused Teaching, CRLT Players Performance
  • Online Synchronous Meeting (Zoom) 3/4/24 @ 9-10:30am

Week 6: Equity-focused Teaching, Part 2 (3/4/24 - 3/11/24)

  • Classroom Climate, Social Identities, Inclusive STEM Classrooms
  • Optional Synchronous Meeting (Zoom) 3/11/24 @ 9-10:30am

Week 7: Instructional Strategies, Part 1 (3/11/24 - 3/18/24)

  • Group Work & Teamwork
  • Online Synchronous Meeting (Zoom) 3/18/24 @ 9-10:30am

Week 8: Instructional Strategies, Part 2 (3/18/24 - 3/25/24)

  • Engaging Students
  • Optional Synchronous Meeting (Zoom) 3/25/24 @ 9-10:30am

Week 9: Planning For Instruction (3/25/24 - 4/1/24)

  • Lesson Planning, Implementing Active Learning, 15-minute Practice Teaching
  • Online Synchronous Meeting (Zoom) 4/1/24 @ 9-11am

Week 10: Closing Activities (4/1/24 - 4/8/24)

  • Document Fair, Ceremony, and Certification
  • Synchronous Meeting (In-Person) 4/8/24 @ 9-11am
Certificate Requirements

The overarching goal of the PSC is to develop you as a scholar of teaching and learning. As such it is not about points, grades, or GPA. All assignments will be evaluated on a complete/incomplete scale, rather than a point system. This is a no-credit professional development experience. 

To receive a PSC certificate, you must meet the following requirements:

  • On-time completion of the three capstone assignments
  • Achieve a cumulative completion of 80%

Application Procedure

  • All applications are handled electronically and must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 7, 2023
  • Online Application Overview:
    • General Information (e.g., name, department, etc)
    • Postdoctoral Research mentor contact information 
    • 1-paragraph professional bio & career goals
    • 1-paragraph overview of your teaching experience
    • 1-paragraph overview of previous teacher training/teaching professional development
    • 1-paragraph discussion of your interest in PSC
    • Submit a current CV