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Graduate Institute for Teaching (GIFT)

Future professors must not only be trained as productive researchers, but also as effective classroom teachers. So the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers doctoral students the opportunity to participate in the Graduate Institute for Teaching (GIFT).

The program is unique because it focuses graduate students on an often overlooked but integral component in their professional lives—teaching and evaluating undergraduates.

Doctoral candidates from across Tufts schools participate in GIFT which results in an interdisciplinary focus as a basis for all discussions. Students come to understand issues around leadership, cognition, pedagogy, and methods of learning assessment.

The program is divided into two phases. During phase I, teaching fellows (TFs) attend a series of summer workshops on teaching pedagogy. These workshops focus on areas such as syllabus and course design, lesson planning, teacher-student relationships, and teaching with technology. Each student also delivers a practice lesson at the end of Phase I. The lesson—delivered before an audience of fellows and faculty members—is an opportunity to practice what was learned during the workshops and receive valuable feedback.

Phase II takes place during the fall or spring semesters when teaching fellows co-teach a course with a Tufts faculty member, who also serves as a mentor. In this role, the faculty mentor provides structured guidance when it comes to classroom teaching (fellows lead a minimum of two classroom sessions); developing exam and essay questions; and applying what was learned during the workshops to a classroom setting.

AS&E PhD candidates selected for a GIFT fellowship do not pay any tuition and receive a taxable stipend. In their academic records the student receives a one credit transcript notation of "S" (Satisfactory) under the "Special Topics" course, Graduate Institute for Teaching (CSS 145).

Non AS&E GIFT fellows are selected for participation by their respective schools, and tuition and payments are arranged by their schools.

Phase I: Summer Workshops on Pedagogy

Phase II: Classroom Experience

More Information

Questions about GIFT can be directed to the Institute Director, Dr. Sinaia Nathanson at GIFT@tufts.edu.

The Graduate Institute for Teaching works in collaboration with the University-wide Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CELT) and is generously supported by the Tufts Summer School.

100 percent of GIFT alumni surveyed believe that the co-teaching opportunity with a Tufts faculty mentor helped improve their skills as a teacher.
–Source: Graduate Institute for Teaching Survey, 2010