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Understanding the University Context

Understanding the University Context

Workshop Attended: Certification in College Teaching: Understanding the University Context
Date: 11 May 2017

Description of Competency

There are many different schools in the US, and these schools are not all alike. While ostensibly each of them is there to teach their students, they each have other objectives, such as research, as well. Depending on their mission and culture, each of them may weight these objectives differently and have different means of carrying out these objectives. Teaching at different schools (and in different contexts) may require different approaches.


Below are notes taken at the workshop.

What skills and techniques did I learn that will help me become a better educator?

We discussed different types of schools and how they have different missions and goals. We discussed some of the qualities that go into a teaching philosophy. The same philosophical beliefs can be expressed in different ways for different institutions.

What things am I still uncertain about regarding this topic that I need to investigate further in the future?

How much does a teaching philosophy change based on the university that you are at? How does the learning environment affect me and my students?

How can I apply materials from this session to my own class to enhance the effectiveness of teaching and learning?

Some self-reflection is required to produce a good teaching philosophy. Consider the types of schools I might work at. How do their missions affect me? Does my teaching style fit them?


Being currently in the job market, this is something that I probably should have considered more for my applications. The mission statment of a school says a lot about what they value. While I do mention my teaching experience before my research as I'm applying for teaching-centric jobs, some of the jobs probably should have something about my character or teaching style and not just what classes I've taught. I'm also certain that I've handled the religious institutions poorly. The statement of faith needs to be tailored more towards each school to mesh better with their own faith background and culture. This is absolutely not a document that I can just make once and use for each school that requires it.