Teagle Foundation grant will prepare graduate students to become better teachers

Barbara Knuth
Laura Brown

Cornell has been awarded a $125,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation to help prepare its graduate students to become better teachers.

The grant will fund the 21st Century Graduate Teaching and Research Scholars Program, through which graduate students will learn about and use high-impact teaching practices. The program will build on the groundwork laid by Cornell's Graduate Teaching Certificate Initiative, which the Teagle Foundation funded in 2010-11.

The Teagle Foundation was established in 1944 by Walter C. Teagle, Class of 1900, who donated funds to build Teagle Hall.

"Cornell University is in a strong position to work toward the goal of educating future teaching scholars given the partnerships and expertise that we have through several offices on campus, the active enagement of our graduate faculty in preparing future faculty, and through our membership in the national network for the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning," said Barbara Knuth, vice provost and Graduate School dean, who will serve as principal investigator with Laura Brown, vice provost for undergraduate education.

Graduate students in the program will spend three days in the summer at a new Teaching as Research Institute, where they will develop graduate teaching projects that foster high-impact educational practices such as engaged learning, diversity, technology and assessment, and evaluate how well and in what ways those practices impact undergraduate learning. Participants will have the chance to submit a paper summarizing their research to a new graduate student paper series. They'll also take two courses: Teaching in Higher Education and Teaching as Research. And a new Certificate in High Impact Teaching and Learning will be open to all graduate student teaching assistants at Cornell.

To increase faculty participation and departmental support, directors of graduate studies will be recruited to attend an institute at which they'll design seminars, courses or programs that support graduate teaching assistants and professional development in their fields.

"A clear strength and distinctive institutional contribution of this program is its collaborative format," Brown said. The program is designed to integrate the efforts of Cornell's Graduate School, Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research, Center for Teaching Excellence, Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives, and Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning.

The Teagle Foundation provides leadership for liberal education, mobilizing the intellectual and financial resources that are necessary if today's students are to have access to a challenging and transformative liberal education. The foundation's commitment to such education includes its grant making to institutions of higher education across the country, its long-established scholarship program for the children of employees of ExxonMobil, and its work helping economically disadvantaged young people in New York City -- where the foundation is based -- gain admission to college and succeed once there.


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