University Teaching Certificate

Binghamton University was one of the first schools in the U.S. to offer a university-wide Certificate of Completion in College/University Teaching, preparing graduate students for higher education teaching. The certificate, approved by the Graduate Council in May 1996, may be integrated into academic studies at any point in a current degree-seeking graduate student's academic career at Binghamton University.

The program helps students organize their teaching credentials and portfolios, articulate teaching philosophies, and demonstrate teaching experiences and abilities when pursuing teaching opportunities. Please note that this certificate of completion is not affiliated with the Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Leadership (TLEL) and does not lead to New York State teaching certification.


The certificate of completion recognizes work performed by teaching graduate students over the course of their graduate careers as they prepare for class, develop assignments, evaluate student work and reflect on their teaching experiences. In addition, students complete 4 types of activities:

  1. University-wide workshops. This includes teaching assistant events and modules, as well as workshops organized by the Writing Center, the Graduate Community of Scholars (GCOS) and the Center for Learning and Teaching. Completion of and documentation of 12 hours of participation in teaching workshops, conferences and teaching alliance discussions is required.
  2. Discipline-specific activities, including teaching coursework. This includes teaching coursework, teaching practicum activities, colloquium-style gatherings of teaching staff in large courses and professional development meetings for teaching graduate students organized by graduate programs.
  3. Guided teaching experiences. The experience of teaching, together with the varieties of evaluation (observation and guidance by a faculty supervisor and student evaluations) that make teachers into reflective practitioners. Candidates for the certificate will have demonstrated teaching and presentation skills. They may have taught in any capacity, including as teachings assistants, graduate assistants, research project assistants, or adjuncts.
  4. Teaching portfolio. The preparation of a teaching portfolio allows advanced graduate teachers to draw together their experiences and to reflect on their philosophies of teaching. The portfolio communicates a teacher's goals and accomplishments. It may include student evaluations, syllabi, individual lesson plans and assignments, evaluated student work, handouts and a statement of teaching goals and philosophy. The assembly of a teaching portfolio serves as a capstone activity.Note: Departments may offer some courses in college teaching and need to supervise their teaching assistants or instructor of records to facilitate their graduate student teachers' ability to complete the certificate. Departments should provide some guidance for the development of a teaching portfolio by graduate students. The national initiative on Preparing Future Faculty encourages this kind of training and recommends the following courses, sequence and portfolio description.

Teaching Coursework

Complete a 500-level Issues in Teaching College and a 500-level Practicum in Teaching or GRD 676: The Community College. 

500-level: Issues in Teaching College - 1-2 credits
Philosophical issues in teaching in college settings. Practical issues involving curriculum and course design, methods and materials for presenting in the classroom. Evaluation and improvement of one's own teaching may also be arranged with a faculty mentor. A maximum of 2 credits is allowed toward the degree and/or applied to tuition scholarship.

500-level: Practicum in Teaching - 1-4 credits
Individual supervision of beginning teachers. It includes regular observation and evaluation of student's teaching by a faculty mentor. Student must arrange for this with a faculty mentor. Satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading only. A maximum of 2 credits is allowed toward the degree and/or applied to tuition scholarship.

GRD 676: The Community College - 4 credits
This course covers the mission of community college, type of governance, financial structure, challenges for community college, student needs, learning styles, developing a learning environment, supplementary support for students, the role of advising, and related topics.

Guided Teaching Experiences

Stage I: Assist faculty instructor in a 100-level course, either in a large lecture class with discussion sections or a medium-sized course. In either case, the instructor should provide the graduate student with some opportunity for teaching experience, either in the form of leading discussion sections or giving guest lectures.

Stage II: After the completion of at least one semester's experience at Stage I, students may register for the 500-level courses on college teaching. Occasionally, and with the permission of the faculty instructor, students who have not had Stage I experience may be allowed to enroll. Students who have not completed Stage II may not proceed to Stage III.

Stage III: Students who have completed the two courses are eligible to teach as Instructor of Record in one of the department's courses, with the permission and assignment by the department chair. Please note that a department cannot guarantee an instructor-of-record opportunity and that there are not any entitlements to these positions.

Note: It is expected that instructors of records within the department's regular curriculum will have assisted in those courses prior to teaching them. Graduate instructors of record work with a faculty mentor to develop syllabi and design courses. Faculty mentors agree to assist in this process and to be available for consultations as appropriate. Faculty mentors will also review the student's teaching portfolio, if appropriate, and will verify completion of the requirements to the Graduate School. 


To declare your intent to pursue the certificate, develop and submit your learning contract. Your learning contract will be a proposal (no longer than 2 pages in length) documenting how and when you intend to fulfill the requirements for the teaching certificate of completion. You will work closely with your graduate director to create this document. There are various ways to fulfill the requirements, and your plan should be individualized for your own course of study. The creation of the learning contract facilitates the development of a plan that is meaningful and appropriate for you. Once you have written your learning contract, submit copies to your graduate director and to the Graduate School at 


As you progress, be sure to document all activities related to your progress. We recommend that you make copies of all documents. 

When you have completed the requirements, submit all documentation to your department. Once your department has confirmed your successful completion of the requirements, please submit written notification of your completion signed by your graduate director and a copy of your portfolio to the Graduate School with the Certificate of Completion Portfolio Form. You can download the form from the Forms section of the Graduate School website.


If you have questions, please contact Associate Dean of the Graduate School Andreas Pape at