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Programs that emphasize teaching?


TieWebb

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Hello,

I was curious if anyone had information on Phd. programs that prepare graduate students for teaching? I am currently finishing my last semester of an MA and have decided I would like to continue on (Fall 2012). I obviously want to go to the best place I can possibly get in to, but is anyone aware of programs that pay particular attention to developing prof. skills? Looking at the various forums, I get the sense that most are intending to be more focused on research in their career then I believe I am interested in. I attended a small liberal arts college (where profs. did not publish much) for undergrad and a larger state university (where I think publishing may be contingent on their job) for my MA, and the difference in teaching and atmosphere is striking. Any info would be helpful. Thanks.

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The PhD is, simply put, a research degree. If you look at the CVs of people who teach at top LACs, you'll notice that they mostly went to the same schools as people who teach at top research universities. Looking at, for example, Swarthmore's faculty (see here), the faculty come from: Princeton, Yale (x2), Harvard (x2), UCSD, UChicago, Oxford, and OSU. For another top teaching school, this time Middlebury, I find people from Harvard (x3), Chicago, Cornell (x2), American, Stanford, Colorado, Emory, Berkeley (x2), and Princeton. In other words, a very similar mix of schools to what you would find at a research-focused school.

What I've been told is that for a teaching career, you should just go to the program that fits you best in terms of quality and research interests, then try to take whatever opportunities are available there to do as much teaching as possible.

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"What I've been told is that for a teaching career, you should just go to the program that fits you best in terms of quality and research interests, then try to take whatever opportunities are available there to do as much teaching as possible."

-I think this is probably good advice. Its just interesting that I can not find programs that focus on teaching and pedagogy. From my experience, I have had some great teachers and some terrible teachers, who frankly, should not be teaching. I guess my intention is that students (most) are not going to go on to graduate school in political science, so it seems strange that there is such an emphasis on training researchers at the expense of training teachers, when most will spend the majority of their time in the class/mentoring and not presenting/publishing original research. Obviously I want to improve my research skills, and feel as though I am making a unique contribution, but there seems to be a disconect between research on the one hand and that translating in to effective teaching skills on the other.

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Here's the dirty secret: there is no focus on pedagogy in any PhD program. Some departments allow for (and some require) more teaching than others. Some require that all graduate students take one semester of 'teaching methods', some have mentoring programs where professors oversee and advise on graduate teaching. But the PhD is 100% about research. Don't enroll in one if you want to learn how to teach - there is nothing more than on-the-job training. It is a real disconnect, but that's the way it works...

-I think this is probably good advice. Its just interesting that I can not find programs that focus on teaching and pedagogy. From my experience, I have had some great teachers and some terrible teachers, who frankly, should not be teaching. I guess my intention is that students (most) are not going to go on to graduate school in political science, so it seems strange that there is such an emphasis on training researchers at the expense of training teachers, when most will spend the majority of their time in the class/mentoring and not presenting/publishing original research. Obviously I want to improve my research skills, and feel as though I am making a unique contribution, but there seems to be a disconect between research on the one hand and that translating in to effective teaching skills on the other.

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Here's the dirty secret: there is no focus on pedagogy in any PhD program. Some departments allow for (and some require) more teaching than others. Some require that all graduate students take one semester of 'teaching methods', some have mentoring programs where professors oversee and advise on graduate teaching. But the PhD is 100% about research. Don't enroll in one if you want to learn how to teach - there is nothing more than on-the-job training. It is a real disconnect, but that's the way it works...

That said, there are plenty of universities that offer certificates in college teaching (or something similar) that graduate students in any department can pursue. The OP may want to identify universities by research interests and fit and then search the Graduate School websites of each of those universities to see if there is any broader pedagogical training available to PhD students.

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Here's the dirty secret: there is no focus on pedagogy in any PhD program. Some departments allow for (and some require) more teaching than others. Some require that all graduate students take one semester of 'teaching methods', some have mentoring programs where professors oversee and advise on graduate teaching. But the PhD is 100% about research. Don't enroll in one if you want to learn how to teach - there is nothing more than on-the-job training. It is a real disconnect, but that's the way it works...

Thank you- Its not as if I have no interest in research. I understand this is the primary focus, the reason I am doing my MA first is because I really could not articulate a statement of purpose/research topic a year and half ago- a lot different today. My concern was really just the lack of balance. I see some schools who have 50/60 people listed on their graduate student lists and it seems hard to believe they are even getting the "on the job training" that would seem necessary to run a full slate of classes the first few years after finishing graduate school. Its not a deal breaker for me, just getting an early start for Fall 2012 and trying to narrow the field of choices..

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PhD students at CUNY have to teach a lot. I know its not a very well ranked department, but for sure students finish their degrees with a great teaching experience. One may also have to teach in the Harlen or Queens campus which I think should count a lot on learning some teaching skills!

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This has nothing to do with schools, but there is also a journal, PS: Political Science and Politics, which, in addition to substantive papers, focuses on pedagogical and discipline-specific issues.

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Johns Hopkins; in addition to the department's stellar ranking, Jane Bennett places a particular focus on the development of pedagogical skills . Other than that, I have no idea - it's not a skill set that PhD programs focus on, as others have said.

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Indiana puts a solid emphasis on teaching, and they also have an extremely enviable placement rate.

More generically, one tip would be to look for programs that offer competitive teaching awards to TAs (awards as in trophies, not as in funding). It not only telegraphs that the dept is interested in teaching, but it looks good on your CV when you're on the market.

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Dr. John Ishiyama wrote an article, Training the Next Generation of Teaching Professors: A Comparative Study of Ph.D Programs in Political Science, ranking poli sci programs in terms of how they prepare political scientists to be teachers. It can be accessed here:

http://www.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/3/6/3/3/5/pages363358/p363358-1.php

Ironically, the article itself does not list the schools in ranked order because it doesn't want to throw anyone under the bus. In my opinion, this renders the article pointless (i.e., why write an article only to fear publishing your results), but you might get some use out of it.

According to his paper there are 41 universities out of the 122 programs they looked at that require some sort of teaching requirement/training... but of course those 41 aren't listed.

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