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Graduate Teaching Scholar Program

Those holding academic faculty positions within a college or university are expected to be active in teaching, discovery, and outreach.  Doctoral education programs have historically emphasized preparation for research and scholarly publications, and for outreach.  However, to some extent many candidates who complete a doctoral program in agricultural and life sciences have minimal preparation and experience in formal teaching.

The primary goal of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Graduate Teaching Scholar (GTS) Program is to prepare interested doctoral students for a rewarding academic career.

Now, with the creation of the Graduate Teaching Scholar Program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, graduate students can hone their teaching skills and build their confidence to become inspiring and well- rounded educators, mentors, and leaders.

“Preparation in research has long been the focus of graduate education,” said Susan Sumner, associate dean and director of academic programs. “This initiative raises the bar for future professors. We want our students to be as bold and creative in the classroom as they are in their research.”  

Upon completion of the GTS Program doctoral students will have earned the future professoriate certificate in addition to the CALS program. These students will have an advantage over their peers, with clear evidence of teaching capabilities and experience at the university level.

Over the course of three years we provide a variety of activities and experiences to help you reach your goals.

  • One-on-one mentoring
  • Participate in the CIDER Conference
  • Conduct class observations to learn teaching practices
  • Team teaching experience
  • Develop strategies to improve teaching
  • Read and discuss current scholarship in teaching and learning

Doctoral students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Students are eligible to apply in their first or second year of their doctoral program.

Successful candidates must be recommended by their department and complete the application available from the CALS Office of Academic Programs.

Students are expected to attend weekly meetings, complete required coursework, meet weekly with their mentor, and continue their doctorate program.

Not only will students have their Future Professoriate certification, they will also have the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to teach at the university level.

News and Updates

GTS Susan Duncan Mentor Award

This year the GTS recognitions will be a part of the ALCE Spring Celebration on April 20th at The Inn at Virginia Tech.

Book Release

Announcing the release of Teaching in the University: Learning from Graduate Students and Early-Career Faculty.  Free availability by the following methods:

Also listed at:
Open Textbook Library
OER Commons

Citation: Westfall-Rudd, D., Veringrin, C., and Elliott-Engle, J. (eds.) (2022). Teaching in the University:
Learning from Graduate Students and Early-Career Faculty
. Blacksburg:Virginia Tech Publishing. 
License: CC BY-NC 4.0.

Interested? For more information, contact:

Donna Westfall-Rudd
214-C Litton Reaves Hall
Blacksburg VA 24060

Applications are due to the CALS Academic Program Office by March 1st.

Susan Sumner
Associate Dean and Director of Academic Programs
1060 Litton-Reaves Hall (0334)
Blacksburg, VA 24061