This Week for Graduate Students: Apply to be a 2023-24 Lead Teaching Fellow!

by | Mar 27, 2023

Now Accepting Applications for 2023-24 Lead Teaching Fellows 

The Lead Teaching Fellowship is a paid professional development opportunity for doctoral and MFA students who are committed to advancing pedagogical practices and conversations among their peers. LTFs participate in a series of meetings at the CTL, organize teaching-related workshops in their home departments, and act as liaisons between their peers and the CTL.

This fellowship is available to doctoral students in all schools at Columbia University in years 2–7 in their program as of Fall 2023, as well as to MFA students in years 2–3 of their program in the School of the Arts. CTL will accept applications for 2023-24 LTFs through April 3

Advanced Topics in Teaching

Teaching Through Discussion

Preparing to teach a discussion-heavy course this fall? Discussion can take many forms, whether it’s asking students to synthesize conceptual knowledge, providing them with an opportunity to practice making arguments, or probing them for where they are in their learning, discussions serve a variety of pedagogical needs.

This CTL workshop will explore how to teach through discussion and use students’ contributions to gauge their understanding, curiosities, and challenges in the classroom and will focus on the following questions: How can we prioritize goals for a discussion? How can we make our expectations transparent to students and prepare them for discussion? And how can we assess whether or not our goals for discussion were met?

Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2023
Time: 10:10–11:40 AM
Location: Butler Library, Room 212

Upcoming Lead Teaching Fellow Events

The 45 2022-23 Lead Teaching Fellows are running workshops and discussions in departments all around Columbia. These are generally advertised locally. Below are upcoming events that are open to participants beyond the LTFs home departments.

LTF events count towards track completion in the Teaching Development Program.

Metacognition and Inclusive Learning: How to Think Not, What to Think

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” Margaret Mead’s famous quote about children’s learning raises the question at all levels of education: How can we as teachers teach our students not only specific material, but how to become better learners? Metacognition is the act of thinking about one’s own thinking and learning. In this workshop, we will strive to more fully define metacognition, discuss the various kinds of metacognitive learning, and come up with metacognitive strategies that we can tangibly implement in our classrooms. Further, we will explore how the implementation of metacognitive strategies can lead to a more inclusive learning experience in the classroom. This workshop will not only allow participants to devise strategies to aid in improving students’ ability to learn, but also will allow instructors to reflect on their own course materials and structure, leading to a more effective and inclusive classroom experience.

This event is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Jilian Pizzi (Italian). It is open to all graduate students.

Date & Time: Tuesday, March 28, 11:30 AM–1:00 PM
Location: 208b Butler Library (the Butler Studio)
Registration: email

Pedagogies of the Archive: Teaching the Theory and Practice of Archives through Classroom Assessment

Archives are a central concern of many disciplines in the humanities and social sciences—both for the important role played by archival holdings in making scholarly research possible and for the rich theoretical frameworks that have developed around the concept of “the archive” in recent years. This event will discuss the pedagogical value of teaching about archives in the undergraduate classroom and how archives can help students develop both a practical and critical understanding of how knowledge is produced. We will explore the diverse approaches that we as instructors can take in designing our course assessments to help students develop a rigorous understanding of this key term. Our discussion will explore a range of course assessment options, ranging from conventional term papers to digital exhibit curation, which will enable students to understand both how archival collections are organized, and also to imagine ways of organizing archives differently. Pizza will be served at the event! 

This event is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Anirbaan Banerjee (English and Comparative Literature). It is open to all humanities graduate students. 

Date & Time: Thursday, March 30, 12:00–1:00 PM
Location: 302 Philosophy Hall
Registration: here

Teaching in the Age of ChatGPT: Friend or Foe?

Publicly-accessible AI language models such as ChatGPT are often seen as obstacles to overcome in the classroom. I want to explore an alternative perspective: just as search engines spurred a flurry of new advances in the way that we approach knowledge collection, I believe that AI language models are a new tool that we should probe as a resource for students. In this workshop-style event, attendees will be given a brief overview of ChatGPT and other similar language models, before delving into applied practice on how to use, critique, and teach ChatGPT as a research tool.

This event is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Abhi Shah (Neurobiology and Behavior). It is open to all graduate students. 

Date & Time: Thursday, March 30, 6:30 PM
Location: Jerome L. Greene Science Center, Education Lab (1st floor, South entrance)
Registration: here

Practice Teaching

As an educator, have you ever craved feedback? Are you curious about aspects of your pedagogical approach that could be improved or altered, but lack a means of objectively analyzing your own teaching style? If you answered yes to these questions, Practice Teaching might be the perfect resource for you.

Practice Teaching is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring teachers to, well, PRACTICE their craft in front of an audience of their peers. Developed directly from the CTL’s Microteaching format, PT differs slightly in application, but follows the same basic principles: It will take place in a safe and respectful space where four to five volunteers are given an opportunity to teach a topic of their choice for five minutes each, and then are evaluated by their peers.

This event is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Selden Cummings (School of the Arts). It is open to all graduate students. 

Date & Time: Thursday, March 30, 7:00 PM
Location: Dodge 413
Registration: email

Take Five! Strategies for the First & Last Five Minutes of Class: A Virtual Teaching Workshop for Graduate Students in the Humanities and Social Sciences 

In this virtual workshop, instructors and teaching assistants from the Humanities and Social Sciences will discuss the value of tailoring the beginning and end of class sessions, including large lectures, small seminars, and discussion sections. Though teachers are often limited in the degree to which they can adjust the main portion of any class session or deviate from the planned curriculum, the first and last five minutes of class offer an opportunity to enhance student engagement with the course material and generate useful feedback and assessment opportunities throughout the semester. Participants will share their own experiences as both instructors and students, discuss the pros and cons of various strategies and classroom activities, and exchange thoughts on best practices within a given discipline or course context. Material presented will draw from, among other resources, James Lang’s book, Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning, available as an EBook through Clio. Participants should expect to leave with a number of ideas for enriching their classroom experience through small adjustments and activities that productively “book-end” the primary course material, engage students, and improve teaching and learning outcomes. 

This event is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Isabel Biascoechea (Art History & Archaeology). It is open to graduate students within Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Date & Time: Friday, March 31, 10:30 AM–11:30 AM
Location: via Zoom
Registration: here

Leading Class Discussion(s)

We’ve all had the experience of leaving a classroom thinking, “Wow, that was a great class discussion!” But what makes a class discussion good? As graduate student instructors, how can we create the best environment for fruitful discussion? In this workshop, participants will share their experiences with and discuss strategies for guiding and developing class discussion. We will brainstorm together to come up with techniques for different situations, such as building confidence as an instructor leading discussion, leading large-group discussions vs. small-group discussions, how to encourage engagement and participation, handling discussions that don’t go the way you expect, and more. We will also discuss what it means to “lead discussion” in various course contexts, such as the language classroom.

This event is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Ellie Grabowski (French). It is open to all graduate students.

Date & Time: Friday, March 31, 12:00 PM–1:30 PM (*new time)
Location: Maison Française east gallery
Registration: here

Grading for Growth in STEM

Have you ever received a grade that you felt didn’t reflect your performance in the course, how much you learned, or how much you’d grown in the class?  As an instructor, have you ever felt frustrated while grading with a rubric or grade breakdown that doesn’t objectively account for the improvements you see in your own students? Valuing growth not only helps us as instructors to acknowledge that our students come from different backgrounds and to reward improvement, but also encourages mastery of the material in our students. In Grading for Growth in STEM, we will discuss established ways for evaluating growth in our students, and workshop some of these strategies into our own syllabi and rubrics.

This event is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Jennifer Mead (Astronomy). It is open to all graduate students. 

Date & Time: Wednesday, April 5, 1:00–2:00 PM
Location: Pupin 1402
Registration: here

Consultations & Office Hours

The CTL provides graduate students and postdocs with consultations at all points in their teaching career. These include consultations on teaching statements, professional development, preparing for the job market, teaching online, and general teaching-related support. Request a consultation.

Office Hours
Live office hours for graduate students are being held each Friday from 2:00 PM–4:00 PM ET. Current Columbia graduate students seeking guidance on teaching approaches and tactics, preparing materials for teaching portfolios, or completing tracks in the Teaching Development Program are invited to drop in, no appointment necessary – in-person in 212 Butler or online via Zoom. Please contact for the Zoom link.