The Collegium of University Teaching Fellows (CUTF) is an innovative program that creates unique learning opportunities for both graduate students and undergraduate students on campus. Through the program, some of UCLA’s very best advanced graduate students have the opportunity to develop and teach a lower division seminar in their field of specialization on a one-time only basis. This experience serves as a “capstone” to the teaching apprenticeship, preparing them for the academic job market and their role as future faculty. At the same time, undergraduates enrolled in CUTF seminars have the chance to take courses that are at the cutting edge of a discipline and to experience the benefits of participating in a small-seminar environment.
The CUTF funds 19 undergraduate seminars each year, allowing graduate students the opportunity to teach undergraduate, general education seminars on topics related to their dissertation research. The popularity of the program has enhanced the competitiveness of the selection process and thus the prestige of having a seminar selected. Applications are welcome from students in all UCLA graduate programs. Students are required to be advanced to candidacy before the start of the Fall quarter in the year that they teach, and must have 6 quarters of teaching assistant experience or a comparable equivalent to qualify for the Teaching Fellow appointment. Appointments at the Associate Level will be considered by exception. Fellows teach their seminars in either the Winter or the Spring and are paid a stipend and receive fee remissions and insurance in the quarter in which they teach.
The CUTF offers unique opportunities to both graduate and undergraduate students. Graduate instructors may offer lower-division courses on topics close to their research interests and assume the class management responsibilities that are commensurate with those that they will face as new assistant professors. Moreover, the CUTF prepares them for their classes through a required training seminar taught by Dr. Michelle Gaston from the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Dr. Christopher Mott from the English department. This seminar, given in the Fall quarter preceding the undergraduate offerings, brings fellows together as teaching colleagues to discuss syllabus preparation and classroom strategies. The combination of the training and the undergraduate seminars provide an invaluable experience for the soon-to-be university instructor.
The CUTF offers undergraduates stimulating and interesting seminars that significantly broaden the range of topics students may explore in satisfying their general education requirements. Also, the students are exposed to young graduate researchers as teachers who can communicate the excitement and the challenges of intellectual exploration. Student evaluations of the seminars have been consistently high and the courses continue to be fully subscribed.
- CUTF participants are typically appointed as teaching fellows and must therefore satisfy the criteria for that appointment. A teaching fellow is formally advanced to doctoral candidacy, has demonstrated professional maturity and excellence as a scholar and teacher, and has at least two academic years (6 quarters) of UCLA TA experience, or approved teaching experience at a comparable institution. Appointments at the Associate Level will be considered by exception.
- In line with these requirements, all CUTF Fellows must have advanced to candidacy by the beginning of Fall quarter in the academic year in which they are planning to teach.
- Graduate students cannot have received their Ph.D. prior to the academic year in which they will teach.
- All CUTF fellows are required to attend a GE workshop during the upcoming Spring quarter.
- All CUTF fellows are required to attend a seminar during the Fall quarter prior to their seminar offering. There are no exceptions. Experienced academic administrators lead the seminar in Fall. This seminar helps the teaching fellows to refine their syllabi and the conduct of a lower division seminar will be discussed.
- All CUTF fellows must be enrolled in the quarter that they teach in order to qualify for fee remissions and health insurance.
Each Winter quarter, graduate students who will advance to candidacy by the following Fall may submit an application to their home department to develop and teach their own lower-division course. Departments are asked to endorse their graduate student applicants and to provide a faculty advisor who will mentor the fellow’s seminar development in the department. Graduate students cannot have received their Ph.D. prior to the academic year in which they will teach.
- a cover letter or brief statement of interest from the candidate
- a copy of the candidate’s curriculum vitae
- a sample syllabus and reading list
Departments will receive submitted candidate applications from the CUTF coordinator and are requested to conduct a departmental application review and ranking. Nominations from departments are due by March 5th, 2021. Departments may submit up to a maximum of three proposals to the CUTF selection committee. For the 2021-2022 academic year, departments will nominate their chosen proposal via an online nomination form, which will require a letter of nomination from the department chair or vice chair for Graduate Studies for each nominated candidate.
Information sessions will beheld for prospective candidates on the following dates:
All interested candidates are encouraged to attend to learn more about the program, hear recommendations for putting together a strong application, and have a chance to ask any questions they may have directly to CUTF program staff. Fellows are encouraged to read past successful syllabi, contact previous CUTF Fellows in their department (if any) and reach out to CUTF program staff for staff consultation on their course proposals.
CRITERIA FOR CUTF SELECTION
Proposals are reviewed by the CUTF Faculty Advisory Committee and approximately 19 fellows are selected in the Spring quarter. Proposals are selected based on, amongst other factors, intellectual content, originality, and likely student interest. They should be suitable for a seminar format and not duplicate the standard curriculum and eligible for General Education credit. Proposed courses should not be survey courses or introductory courses of the topic, regardless of whether such a course is offered in the department.
The Committee also attempts to ensure balance in its selection across departments and across topics. For departments with multiple submissions, department chairs are asked to suggest a ranking.
The opportunity to participate in the CUTF program is available to advanced graduate students in all divisions of the College and across the professional schools, with special consideration being given to programs whose graduate students do not normally have the opportunity to teach their own courses. The Committee’s criteria for reviewing course proposals also suggest that the seminar be relevant to the graduate student’s career plans and provide a link to the subject area of their dissertation research. Departments without doctoral programs may submit proposals and MFA students may apply in the last year of their programs.
Guidelines for Preparing a Seminar
The following guidelines are to assist qualified graduate students in the preparation and delivery of a successful seminar. The possibility of receiving General Education credit should make the Collegium of University Teaching Fellows seminars more attractive to a wide range of students, who will, in turn, bring a diversity of interests and backgrounds to each seminar. Please note that GE credit is not guaranteed, and is subject to the review and approval from the GE Governance Committee and the Undergraduate Council.
It is highly recommended that prospective fellows consult the General Education Submission Guidelines and Foundation Area GE Credit Guidelines for the desired foundation area to assist with developing a syllabus. In addition, all CUTF teaching fellows must participate in a workshop during Fall quarter that helps them refine their syllabi to apply for GE credit.
- Content of the course should be broad. This should be reflected in the breadth of the reading list.
- Seminar content should be related to the graduate student’s dissertation research or advanced graduate work.
- Seminars are intended for undergraduate students only and are specifically targeted to freshmen and sophomores.
- The seminar is worth five units. Undergraduate students who enroll are expected to have 12 out-of-class hours per week in addition to the three class hours of student contact, i.e., the seminar.
- Do not include any prior requirements for the seminar, e.g., “knowledge of a second language.”
- Keep in mind this seminar may be their first introduction to your topic and that typical course workload for undergraduate students is less than that of graduate students.
- Limit the seminar enrollment to about 16 students so as to insure active participation by all members.
- The seminar should provide an active learning format in which students can develop the ability to read critically and conceptually, and therefore to speak and write with discrimination.
- Attendance may not be used as a class requirement. The CUTF Program recommends using class participation instead. Please note the difference between the attendance and participation and explain on the syllabus how a student would earn points for participation.
- Limit lectures, guest lectures, field trips, and films so as to ensure that weekly discussions are at the heart of the seminar experience.
- The seminar should require a substantial writing component, i.e., 12-15 pages for a final paper. In writing assignments it is usually best to provide for a “draft and rewrite” experience so that students can learn how to respond to supportive criticisms and can also experience the distance that usually has to be traveled between a draft and a polished paper.
- Assign weekly core readings so that the seminar can focus on topics or documents that all students are prepared to discuss. Pose prompt questions from the readings in order to improve the quality of discussion. Assignment of formal presentations and critical comment may also be a useful strategy for stimulating discussion.
- The seminar should provide insights into research methodology in the field, as well as an introduction to the meaning and excitement of research. The best results are usually obtained when students are obliged to define a topic for research early in the quarter and report on preliminary results by the fifth or sixth week.
Seminar syllabi must include the following elements:
- Course objectives
- A week-by-week breakdown for the 10 weeks
- A substantial writing component, including scaffolded writing assignments laying the foundation to the final paper throughout the quarter
- Weekly readings that address the core topic of the course
- Clearly outlined assignments, which may include papers, projects, research, presentations, etc.
- Clear grading rubrics related to assignments, participation, and papers
If you have any questions regarding the development of your syllabus, please reach out to CUTF Program Coordinator Alison Fedyna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional Resources for Prospective Applicants
EPIC Newsletter CUTF Feature
For additional information about the program please see this recent newsletter issue from the Excellence in Pedagogy and Innovative Classrooms (EPIC) program featuring interviews with the CUTF coordinator and former CUTF fellows.
Examples of Past Successful Syllabi
- Mobile Technologies: Participation and Surveillance 2010
- Psychology 98Tb: Why We Remember and Why We Forget: Educational Applications of Memory Research
- WAC 98T: Site Specific Performance and the Politics of Place
- Women’s Studies 98T: Ethical Consumerism in the United States
- Comparative Responses to AIDS in Africa