College Teaching Certificate

Program and Application Information
Program Director:Dr. Paul Kelter
Department Location:FLC 314, Office of Teaching and Learning
Department Phone:(701) 231-6336
Degrees Offered:Certificate (Students enrolled in the CTC program must be concurrently enrolled in a graduate program leading to a degree.)

Program Description

The Graduate Certificate Programs in College Teaching (CTC) provide a structured program in pedagogy for NDSU graduate students from across campus who plan to teach in a college or university. Students study contemporary education research focused on higher education issues, as well as gain experience in the teaching and learning process through microteaching modules, field experience, peer observations, and a structured practicum.

Admissions Requirements

To be admitted to the program, the applicant must:

  1. Submit the College Teaching Certificate Application.
  2. Hold a baccalaureate degree from an educational institution of recognized standing.
  3. At the baccalaureate level, have earned a cumulative grade point average (GPA) in all courses of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Applications should be submitted directly to the graduate school.
  4. Be a current degree-seeking student in a enrolled graduate program.
Foundation Courses (choose one)
COMM 702Introduction to College Teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Fall, annually)3
HDFS 802Teaching Developmental Science (Spring every odd year, 2017, 2019, 2021)3
STEM 810Teaching College Science (Fall, annually)3
Electives (Choose one)
AHSS 796Special Topics (Emerging Trends in Teaching and Learning Online-Fall, annually)3
EDUC 728Instructional Technology for Teaching and Learning (Fall 2017 (Normal rotation less than once per year))3
EDUC 753Managing/ and Monitoring Learning (Spring, annually)3
EDUC 852Foundations of Occupational & Adult Education (TBD)3
STEM 820STEM Curriculum and Instruction (Spring, every even year (2018, 2020, 2022))3
Required Teaching Practicum
EDUC 792Graduate Teaching Experience (*)3
or EDUC 892 Graduate Teaching Experience

*Refers to courses cross-listed to be taken under a prefix in the student's major field. For example,  HDFS major would take HDFS 892. This experience requires a minimum of 15 face-to-face teaching hours, with the remaining credit hours to be dedicated to preparing lesson plans, evaluating student data, and developing assessments. The field experience will be designed in consultation with a faculty teaching mentor. Students will prepare a 2-page field experience proposal for approval from the CTC director during the semester prior to the experience.


  1. This schedule is subject to change.
  2. Every course has an enrollment cap. Please check with the course instructor about this.

Teaching Portfolio

The Teaching Portfolio is a living document, and should change as you practice and grow professionally. The portfolio is for your current and future use. We will make sure that it adheres to the guidelines and outcomes listed below, but it is, more than anything else, your record of who you are and what you are about as a teacher.

Required Elements

  1. Teaching philosophy.1
  2. Sample teaching materials. These may include course syllabi, assignments, lesson plans, presentation slides, extension publications, etc.
  3. Sample of diagnostic, formative, and/or summative assessments that align with and measure learning outcomes.
  4. Annotated bibliography of research that informs your approach to teaching.  The scholarship included should provide answers to the following questions.
    1. What do we know about how people learn?
    2. How do we assess student learning?
    3. How do we increase student engagement?
  5. Application of scholarship. Here you will take something from the literature, apply it to your field experience, and assess how it went. Your portfolio should include a copy of the article selected, a lesson plan demonstrating how you implemented the idea, and a written assessment of the implementation.
  6. Evaluations of teaching by supervisors, peers, and/or students.
  7. Reflective essay on how you have changed as a teacher since the start of the program. It should include what you have learned from your CTC coursework, the scholarship of teaching and learning, observations of your mentor, and your field experience. The essay should also address how your current teaching reflects evidence-based strategies of teaching and learning.

Your Teaching Portfolio should demonstrate the following outcomes of the CTC program.

  1. Describe, evaluate, and apply current scholarship in teaching and learning.
  2. Teach in a way that is consistent with this scholarship.
  3. Adapt best teaching practices to diverse learning and institutional contexts.
  4. Design assessments that provide evidence of student learning.
  5. Evaluate teaching through reflection and observation.

1 There are many universities that have guidance for developing a teaching philosophy. Here is an excellent starting point, from the University of Michigan’s Center for Research and Teaching and Learning.

Teaching Observation Guidelines

The capstone teaching experience and associated teaching observations are critical components of the College Teaching Certificate program. Supervising faculty must meet regularly with the candidate to focus on and discuss key dimensions of teaching college courses:

  • Planning: Detailed syllabus and lesson plans including a reflective statement about the goals and objectives of the course and lessons in that context.
  • Learner and Learning: Reflective statements about how instructional practices are intended to promote student engagement and learning, and the assessment practices that are used to monitor learning.
  • Content: Describe the core ideas of the course and lesson, why they are important, and some distinction between critical ideas that all students should gain and enrichment or extension ideas that may not be fully learned by all.
  • Instructional Practices: Describe and demonstrate instructional practices that promote student engagement and learning along with rationale for the selection of these strategies that goes beyond anecdotes and folk wisdom.
  • Professionalism: Demonstrate the responsibility and independence that is necessary for an instructor to be a critical reflective practitioner.
  • Reflection: Demonstrate the ability to honestly reflect on the accomplishments and shortcomings of the candidate’s teaching in relation to evidence of student learning.

Early formative observations provide opportunities to identify strengths and weaknesses of the candidate while there is still plenty of time to make and evaluate changed practices. Final summative visits and evaluations document the quality of teaching and learning that has taken place during the semester.

A student and a mentor should discuss course design, assignments, and/or learning activities prior to their implementation.  As a vital part of this discussion, the student should prepare a list of evidence-based teaching strategies to guide observations.

Each class observation should include:

  1. a preliminary meeting to discuss instructional plans for the lesson in the context of the course and to identify things to observe;
  2. attendance of a full lesson and systematic collection of observational data;
  3. a written summary of the observation including instances of successful instruction and suggestions for changes; and
  4. a follow up meeting to discuss the observation report and to make plans for the next observation. After the final observation of the semester (at least three observations should take place during the semester) the faculty mentor should provide a letter summarizing the observations and development that has taken place.