Mentored Teaching Experience Requirement

Every student will be required to complete four Mentored Teaching Experiences (MTEs) as part of their graduation requirements. An MTE includes all teaching experiences at the University of Chicago, such as acting as a TA or as an instructor of record. Students are not allowed to teach additional classes outside of these Mentored Teaching experiences. Most students will complete their MTE requirements by TAing for four different classes. If a student wishes to TA for a class outside the Department of Political Science (e.g. in the Core), or if a student wants to TA a second time for the same class, they must obtain permission from the DGS before committing to that TA position.

If given the opportunity prior to completing three MTEs, and if the student wishes, co-teaching a course, serving as a BA preceptor, or acting as an instructor of record can be counted as two MTEs. Otherwise, all teaching experiences will be counted as one MTE.

Students who have completed their MTE requirements, and are ABD in good standing in the program, are eligible to apply for teaching a course as instructor of record, such as via a prize lectureship (i.e. Grodzins). This will count as two additional MTEs, for a total of 6 MTEs. This is an option available to students who wish to expand their teaching portfolio, and is not a requirement.

Teaching Assistantships and Internships

Teaching assistants and interns work with an instructor to gain experience in leading discussion sections, grading papers and exams, and in some courses, training in pedagogical methods. Students serve as teaching assistants in political science undergraduate lecture courses and in the department's methodology sequence, where they are given responsibility for leading discussion sections and grading written assignments. Students serve as interns in the college Core or Civilization courses; the primary purpose of internships, unlike teaching assistantships, is to prepare students to serve as Lecturers in a given Core or Civilization course. 

Department Courses

The department announces its teaching assistant needs in the spring quarter for the following academic year. Students apply and a faculty committee makes the appointments. Unexpected needs frequently arise at the beginning of each quarter and the department announces and makes appointments at the last minute. 

Grodzins Prize Lectureships

Advanced graduate students in political science, selected as Grodzins Prize Lecturers, offer their own undergraduate courses. Course proposals should be aimed at the educational objectives of the undergraduate majors—not as specialized as a dissertation, but rather designed to introduce students to some of the conceptual problems and empirical underpinnings of the field. Some recent Grodzins Prize course offerings include "Violence and Development in Africa," "Political Economy of Inequality," "Interpreting Contemporary Unrest," and "Experiments in American Politics and Policy." 

Chicago Center for Teaching

The Chicago Center for Teaching provides support to graduate students, postdocs, and faculty through workshops, seminars, and conferences. These include the Workshop on Teaching in the College, a two-day orientation for new teaching assistants and instructors at the start of autumn quarter; the Fundamentals of Teaching Workshop, and Preparing Future Faculty Series. The Center's College Teaching Certificate documents graduate students' professional development through the process of critically reflecting on university teaching in general and their own practices in particular.