Teaching across CUNY’s classrooms has been a transformative and invigorating experience for thousands of Graduate Center (GC) students over the past generation, and our goal at the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) is to help current and future GC students successfully navigate this work. Teaching is challenging for even the most seasoned, committed instructors. Every class presents a new mix of personalities, levels of preparedness, and needs. Every semester renews the challenge of translating our scholarship for undergraduates and making our work and classes accessible to all of our students. And in every year evolving political and social realities create contexts that impact the lives of both faculty and students, particularly those from the diverse and minoritized communities that make up the majority of the undergraduate population at CUNY.
It is these students that make CUNY’s classrooms unique and vibrant spaces, and whose time, labor, and attention should be met by their instructors with a profound sense of duty and responsibility. To GC students: teaching at CUNY can enrich and propel both your scholarship and your career prospects, while giving you a powerful way to have a lasting impact on the people of the city. You will also learn a lot.
Know that you are not alone in meeting this challenge. The TLC is always available to support you, but there are also dozens of other spaces throughout CUNY that value and create opportunities for the exploration of pedagogy. CUNY’s campuses have generous and available teaching centers, vibrant writing programs, resourceful and helpful librarians, engaged department-based organizations, and committed faculty and staff who share the TLC’s belief that pedagogy is best conceived of as a collaborative, communal pursuit.
In the pages that follow, we offer practical guidance for students across the disciplines who are just beginning to conceive of themselves as college teachers. These resources will walk you through course and syllabus preparation, assignment design and assessment, and offer suggestions for navigating CUNY informed by the TLC staff’s collective experiences in the system. We will also address how you can proactively deal with challenges that will inevitably arise as a college teacher and prompt you to consider common issues new teachers face.
This handbook is not intended to be exhaustive or conclusive, but rather to provide a snapshot of some of our thinking and work at TLC. It is designed to evolve in dialogue with the CUNY community, and the TLC will continue to update and refine this handbook, now it in its third edition. In this edition, we have made more explicit the principles that undergird our pedagogy throughout the handbook in Section I. Section II features a significantly expanded chapter on Educational Technology. Likewise, Section III provides many additional ideas for activities and assignments that are ready to use and adapt. Please share your thoughts and feedback on the annotatable version of this text at http://cuny.is/tcuny-handbook.
The Staff of the Graduate Center Teaching and Learning Center