CUTS Frequently Asked Questions
- What does CUTS stand for?
- What is the purpose of the CUTS program?
- What is the difference between the "Participation Certificate in University Teaching Skills" and the "Certificate in University Teaching Skills"?
- Which certificate program is right for me?
- What do I have to do to start either CUTS program?
- What should I start once I've signed up for the program?
- How long does it take to finish the CUTS program?
- Is the CUTS program voluntary?
- Is there a charge to enroll in the Certificate program?
- It looks like a bunch of the forms have changed. Do I have to meet the "new" requirements for the CUTS program?
- I can't come to Effective Teaching Seminars (ETS) on Tuesdays and Fridays. Can you offer them at different times, like in the evening or during the summer?
- I don't have a videotape of my teaching, but my faculty mentor has observed my teaching. Can we have a discussion about her observations and have that replace the videotape requirement?
- I am not teaching a class this semester. Do I still have to do a videotape?
- I am going to a conference on teaching in my discipline. Can I have ETS credit for that?
- I am taking a graduate seminar on teaching in my home department. Does it count for ETS credit?
- I have to miss an ETS; can you videotape it and make it available to me?
- I just need one more ETS to finish the Certificate, but I am graduating in a few weeks and can't fit it in before that. Can I finish the CUTS program after I leave SLU?
- How and when can I pick up my Certificate?
Certificate in University Teaching Skills. (Usually stands for the full Certificate program, but often stands in for both Certificates.)
2. What is the purpose of the CUTS program?
The purpose of the Certificate Program is to promote the development of graduate students and faculty in their journey toward teaching excellence. The CUTS program provides participants with information and opportunities to enhance their teaching practice, develop a philosophy of teaching, and document teaching competencies
3. What is the difference between the "Participation Certificate in University Teaching Skills" and the "Certificate in University Teaching Skills"?
The Participation Certificate can be earned by attending ten Effective Teaching Seminars. The Certificate in University Teaching Skills (otherwise known as the "Full Certificate") has more complex requirements and results in a professional Teaching Portfolio.
4. Which certificate program is right for me?
This is different for everyone. You will need to review the program requirements for both certificates. Think about the time, effort, and capabilities that go into both certificates. If you need help deciding, feel free to consult with a member of the CTTL staff.
5. What do I have to do to start either CUTS program?
Sign and turn in the CUTS Statement of Intent Form.
6. What should I start once I've signed up for the program?
Most people start by attending Effective Teaching Seminars. If you sign up for the Full Certificate, we encourage you to attend one of our CUTS Orientation sessions, which are held at the beginning of each term. (If you sign up mid-semester, you may attend the following semester's Orientation session.) In terms of the other requirements, we usually encourage people to start with the online seminar for "Developing a Philosophy of Teaching."
7. How long does it take to finish the CUTS program?
Both Certificates take a minimum of two semesters to complete, but many people spread out the requirements over two years. If you need more time than that, you should let the CTE know that you are continuing past two years and when you expect to finish. We do not allow participants to complete the Certificates in fewer than two semesters. Doing so would compromise the quality of the work produced and the reflection on teaching, which is essential to the Certificate programs.
8. Is the CUTS program voluntary?
It depends. Most participants enroll voluntarily. However, some departments require their students to complete the CUTS program as a component of their graduate work. Check with your department to see if you must complete one of the Certificates.
9. Is there a charge to enroll in the Certificate program?
No. Both Certificates are available to all SLU graduate students and faculty (full-time and part-time) at no charge. (Undergraduates may not pursue the Certificates. Staff who do not teach at the university should contact CTTL (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss eligibility for CUTS.) Those outside the University may not participate in the CUTS program.
10. It looks like a bunch of the forms have changed. Do I have to meet the "new" requirements for the CUTS program?
Participants are asked only to complete the requirements that were in place when they originally signed up for the Certificate program; however, it is important to consider closely which particular requirements are in question. We have updated most of the forms for the CUTS program, but most of these updates have been for formatting or clarification purposes only. This has resulted in some confusion about whether certain requirements are, in fact, "new," or whether they simply weren't as visible before. If you have questions about "changes" to program requirements, contact CTTL at email@example.com or 977-2231 to discuss them.
11. I can't come to Effective Teaching Seminars (ETS) on Tuesdays and Fridays. Can you offer them at different times, like in the evening or during the summer?
Unfortunately, this is not currently possible. We schedule ETS's for the most convenient times for the largest number of people, especially faculty members, who are our primary facilitators for these seminars. While we regret that the Tuesday/Friday afternoon schedule may not work for everyone, we do not currently have the resources to change or extend the schedule.
12. I don't have a videotape of my teaching, but my faculty mentor has observed my teaching. Can we have a discussion about her observations and have that replace the videotape requirement?
No. The main purpose of the videotaping requirement is for you to watch yourself teaching. This self-observation is crucial to gaining insight into your own habits and practices. Discussing the tape with your mentor, after he/she has watched the video, helps to facilitate self-reflection, and it also helps you to put what you see in the video into a broader perspective. You do not need to watch the video with your mentor; you can both watch it on your own time, then plan to meet to discuss it afterward.
13. I am not teaching a class this semester. Do I still have to do a videotape?
Yes. We recommend that you ask your faculty mentor, a colleague, or another member of your department if you can guest lecture in one of their classes. If this isn't possible, you can stage a teaching performance of your own, inviting friends, colleagues, even CTTL GAs and staff, to observe. The main thing is to have an opportunity to teach in some form - with a minimum of 30 minutes of teaching time - and to be able to watch it yourself and have your faculty mentor watch it. If you teach in a colleague's class, you could even ask that person to complete the CUTS Peer Observation form while the video is being recorded, which would take care of two requirements at once.
14. I am going to a conference on teaching in my discipline. Can I have ETS credit for that?
Maybe. You will need to provide program information to the CTTL, in advance, so that we have time to consider the content of the conference and to determine whether the session(s) you will be attending line up with the program objectives for ETS's. See the Policy on Substituting ETS Credits or consult with CTTL staff (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss this request further. After the event, you will be asked to write a short paper in which you reflect on the content of the session(s) attended and on how it applies to teaching at the university level.
15. I am taking a graduate seminar on teaching in my home department. Does it count for ETS credit?
Maybe. There are a small number of such seminars that have already been approved for this. Please contact CTTL (email@example.com) to find out whether your class is on the list of approved seminars.
16. I have to miss an ETS; can you videotape it and make it available to me?
No. ETS's are specifically designed to foster interaction between attendees and between attendees and facilitators. We cannot reproduce the interactive quality of ETS's in video form.
17. I just need one more ETS to finish the Certificate, but I am graduating in a few weeks and can't fit it in before that. Can I finish the CUTS program after I leave SLU?
No. The services of the CTTL are for current SLU graduate students, faculty, and staff; the program must be finished by the time you graduate.
18. How and when can I pick up my Certificate?
Certificates are awarded only twice yearly: at the Certificate Ceremonies in December and May. Certificates can be mailed after these ceremonies, for those who cannot attend. However, we do not award certificates prior to those ceremonies; therefore, if you complete all the requirements in, say, January, your Certificate will not be awarded until May. You may, however, list the Certificate on your CV, with an anticipated date of the next upcoming Certificate Ceremony.