University Teaching and Learning Program (UTLP)
The TLTC, in collaboration with the Graduate School, provides professional development for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the area of teaching and learning in higher education. Many graduate students and postdocs will pursue teaching positions as part of their future careers, yet many do not receive formal training in teaching and some do not have direct teaching opportunities.
The UTLP provides formal training in teaching in higher education to suit the needs of participants at three levels: Associate, Practitioner, and Scholar. As a member of the CIRTL Network, UTLP training is coordinated with the CIRTL learning outcomes. For more information about how the Graduate School supports CIRTL, explore their new CIRTL at UMD website.
The Philosophy of UTLP
At the heart of the UTLP is the philosophy that teaching, like research, is a scholarly activity, one that requires intellectual engagement and public conversation. The scholarly activities of UTLP center around three core ideas:
Teaching as Research. The improvement of teaching and learning is a dynamic and ongoing process that includes the need to accurately determine what students have learned as a result of teaching practices. This includes understanding evidence-based research on teaching and learning and applying it in the classroom. Teaching-as-research also involves teachers engaging in the deliberate, systematic, and reflective use of research methods to develop and implement teaching practices that advance the learning experiences and outcomes of students and teachers.
Learning Communities. Learning communities bring people together for shared learning, discovery, and the generation of knowledge. Within a learning community, all participants take responsibility for achieving the learning goals. Learning communities incorporate shared discovery and learning, establish meaningful connections among learners, situate learning in the broader context of disciplines and life experiences, and are inclusive of diverse backgrounds and life experiences.
Learning through Diversity. Existing social and educational practices do not always promote equal success for all learners. Thus, creating equitable learning experiences and environments requires intentional and deliberate efforts on the part of present and future faculty. Teachers should endeavor to know the diverse backgrounds of their students, draw upon the diversity to enhance learning, apply methods of teaching and assessment that support students from diverse backgrounds, and promote an equitable, respectful climate for learning.
The University Teaching and Learning Program recognizes and celebrates that development as a teacher is a lifelong process. Whether preparing to teach in the future or teaching for the first, second, or tenth time, UTLP is designed to meet graduate students and postdocs at their current level and take them to the next step in their development. Participants can enroll in any one of three levels:
- Level 1: Associate
Associates have the knowledge to be effective teachers and value the importance of quality teaching and learning. They understand and are able to implement evidence-based practices in different learning environments to achieve defined learning goals to meet the needs of diverse learners. Associates may or may not have teaching experience. Associates will receive a certificate of completion and the program may be listed as professional development on resumes/CVs.
- Level 2: Practitioner
Practitioners have a level of knowledge and skills that allows them to be scholarly teachers who use Teaching-as-Research to improve their practice. They build on what others have learned in an ongoing way, seek evidence of learning, and use evidence to improve practice. Practitioners are often currently teaching in some capacity, though this is not a requirement of the program. Practitioners will receive a certificate of completion, a transcript notation, and the program may be listed as professional development on resumes/CVs.
- Level 3: Scholar
Scholars go beyond scholarly teaching and are driven by a desire to understand how students learn effectively and how teaching influences this process. At the Scholar level, graduate students are expected to advance and disseminate evidence-based research on teaching and learning through the completion of a teaching as research project that informs broader questions related to teaching and learning. Becoming a Scholar requires in-depth understanding of the literature, critical reflection, and sharing findings with a local, regional, or national group of peers. Scholars will receive a certificate of completion, a transcript notation, and the program may be listed as professional development on resumes/CVs.
For an overview, see UTLP program requirements listed by level; for more information and details about completing program requirements visit the UTLP ELMS site after enrolling. To view courses that meet program requirements, see UTLP Approved Courses. UTLP is a self-paced program. However, a suggested timeline for completing UTLP requirements is available to assist with planning.
Once enrolled, participants receive access to an UTLP ELMS site with detailed information for each program level. UTLP participants also receive TLTC's weekly digest with a information about TLTC events and programs.
Teaching as Research (TAR) Learning Community
The TLTC hosts meetings on a monthly basis during the Fall and Spring semesters to share ideas and receive support with TAR projects. Participation in a TAR learning community is a requirement at the Scholar Level and optional for Practitioners. Associates who are interested in transferring to another program level and the larger campus community interested in TAR are also welcome. Visit TLTC events page to register for upcoming meetings.