Teaching obligations are integral to preparing students for the world of professional academia, enabling students to begin teaching before starting professional careers and getting feedback on their own pedagogical development. Teaching in a department assigned position – whether as a course assistant (CA) or as a lecturer in a free-standing course – count towards fulfillment of a student’s Pedagogical Training Plan. In certain cases, the department might request a student serve as a BA Undergraduate Preceptor. 


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The Pedagogical Training Plan (PTP)

Students should be prepared to hold the following teaching appointments – 

  • Year 3 – one CA position; Year 4 – two CA positions; 
  • Year 5 – one lectureship; Year 6 – one lectureship

The remainder of the Cinema and Media Studies PTP can be fulfilled through completing programs run through the ‘Chicago Center for Teaching’. Students should look towards beginning to tackling these requirements during year 3, beginning with attending the Teaching@Chicago Orientation – a one-day workshop held during orientation week each Autumn Quarter. The full outline of requirements – which fulfill both the department’s PTP and the Chicago Teaching Certificate – are:

  • Pedagogical Training
    • Teaching@Chicago Orientation; CMST 69900 – Pedagogies: The Way We Teach Film (taken either during year 2 or year 3); 1 stand-alone workshop on Inclusive Pedagogy from CCT; completion of CCTE 50000 – Course Design and College Training
  • Practice and Feedback
    • Fulfil department assigned / approved teaching appointments; participation in an Individual Teaching Consultation (ITC)
  • Documenting Your Teaching
    • Attend the Seminar and Workshop on Teaching Portfolios; completion a reflective essay on Inclusive Pedagogy; submission of Teaching Portfolio components via Canvas to CCT

Teaching outside of the department - in a different department (ARTH or EALC for example) in the writing program, in the College Core, or as a MAPH preceptor – can be counted towards a student’s PTP but must first be approved by the DGS. Typically the department will only approve outside teaching fulfilling the PTP if the position is related to a joint-degree program. Unless otherwise informed, the department will anticipate a student fulfilling all of their PTP teaching commitments in CMS.  


Course Assistants

Course assistants are expected to aid faculty members in courses in which the undergraduate enrollment is too large for faculty to effectively perform all aspects of instruction. Course assistants may be expected to attend class, read all assigned materials, hold office hours with students, lead a discussion section, review and comment on student assignments, and recommend grades. Cinema and Media Studies appoints CAs to our undergraduate-only classes, such as Introduction to Film (CMST 10100), Film and the Moving Image (CMST 14400), and to other College courses with a more specialized focus such as Afrofuturism (CMST 21004), Agnes Varda (CMST 26810) and The Detective Film (CMST 25505).

Students may also appointed to mixed-level courses in the History of International Cinema sequence (CMST 28500/48500, 28600/48600, and 28700/38700) and the graduate-only course Methods & Issues in Cinema Studies (CMST 40000). 


Graduate Student Lecturers

Graduate students who keep on-track with the program timeline will be asked during year 5 of the PhD program to serve as a stand-alone lecturer for an undergraduate CMS course. While exact appointments vary from year-to-year, typically the courses which students teach are Introduction to Film (CMST 10100) and Film and the Moving Image (CMST 14400). 

Students entering year 6 of the program have two options for teaching in Cinema and Media Studies: they can either opt for a department assigned section of Introduction to Film or Film and the Moving Image or they can request to teach a self-designed course with another student entering year 6. A complete syllabus and film list must be submitted for consideration. 

Graduate students can also apply for a Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowship, which provides funding to teach a stand-alone undergraduate course of the students own design. An example of a recent class taught through this fellowship is Popular Science and New Media: Methods, Theory, and Practice (CMST 27811 - Mikki Kressbach, Spring 2017).

Students who hold a Dissertation Completion Fellowship (DCF) in year 6 are exempt from teaching obligations, though they can request to hold a teaching assignment during Spring Quarter of their DCF year with permission from the Dean of Students. 


BA Preceptors

Preceptors are typically students who have advanced to candidacy, but all students are eligible to apply. This position is for one full academic year, and involves a mixture of serving as a course assistant, running student discussion groups, and holding one-on-one / small group sessions with graduating CMS majors.  

BA Peceptors will work alongside the Director of Undergraduate Studies and participate in the year-long workshop series Intensive Track - Written Thesis Workshop (CMST 27299) and Intensive Track - Production Thesis Workshop (CMST 28999). Both workshops will meet roughly 10 times over the course of the academic year. 


Lecturing in the College Core

Advanced graduate students can apply to teach in the Humanities Collegiate Division General Education (Core) sequences. Graduate student applicants for these positions must have attained ABD status no later than the end of the Spring quarter prior to the academic year in which they will teach.


The Writing Program

The University of Chicago Writing Program, also known as the Little Red Schoolhouse, employs graduate students in a variety of capacities, including opportunities which fulfill teaching units. Students who wish to work for the writing program must complete the training course (Pedagogies of Writing, HUMA 50000), offered twice annually - 

  • in Spring quarter, the course meets once-weekly across the whole quarter; 
  • in Summer quarter, the course meets twice-weekly for a 6-week period.