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 doctoral 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. Beth Goodhue 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.
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.
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 3rd, 2023. Departments may submit up to a maximum of three proposals to the CUTF selection committee. 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. Candidates can register on our website: https://teaching.ucla.edu/events/. Fellows are also encouraged to read past successful syllabi, contact previous CUTF Fellows in their department (if any) and reach out to CUTF program staff for consultation on their course proposals.
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.
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.
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 guidance for the desired GE foundation area to assist with developing a syllabus. Candidates are encouraged to review the inclusive syllabus templates and participation rubric examples on this page, as well as the GE Frequently Asked Questions page. 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.
If you have any questions regarding the development of your syllabus, please reach out to CUTF Program Coordinator, Kelly Strathmore, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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