Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Program

ANOUNCEMENT: GSTEP will admit new Level 1 students in Fall, 2017. GSTEP Level 2 participants will continue their work during the Spring, 2017 semester.

The Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Program (GSTEP) is a two semester program for graduate students at the University of North Texas. The program, provided by the Center for Learning Enhancement, Assessment, and Redesign (CLEAR) with support from the Office of the Provost, is offered at no cost to the participants. 

The goal of the program is to prepare graduate students for teaching roles by equipping them with teaching skills, knowledge about teaching strategies, opportunities to gain self confidence with teaching, and peer support. Activities include classroom teaching experiences, online training modules, self-assessment, reflection, and peer mentoring.

Why should graduate students participate in GSTEP? 

  1. Contrary to the myth that we know how to teach because we have been taught, teaching is an entire discipline. The purpose of teaching is to facilitate student learning and most of us have not been taught with learning as a priority.

  2. Teaching roles are important in industry and the non-profit sector as well as in higher education. It is likely that you will be teaching as a part of your future in some capacity.

  3. If you are chosen to be a TA or TF, you will need 21st Century teaching skills to facilitate learning of students in classrooms in your discipline.  

More About GSTEP

As a graduate student at UNT you may voluntarily enter GSTEP at no cost and progress through the program stages over two semesters. The only requirement is you must be enrolled as a graduate student at UNT while you’re in the program. Upon successful completion of GSTEP 2, you will be honored as a graduate of GSTEP in a formal ceremony with colleagues, alumni, and faculty and receive a GSTEP completion certificate.

With the help of GSTEP program mentors, you will self-direct much of your work in the program based upon your unique needs and wishes. You will be able to make choices about classes and faculty to work with, focus of online seminars, plans for your teaching in your discipline, etc.  

Throughout the process of participating in GSTEP, you will be assisted in designing and maintaining an ePortfolio of your work suitable for showcasing in future job interviews, advising your further work in teaching, or sharing with colleagues. Your ePortfolio will advise your creation of a teaching philosophy which will be important to future teaching opportunities. 

We believe that you will leave the GSTEP experience much more comfortable with your ability to teach and support student learning. It is our goal that GSTEP participants emerge from the program confident and empowered with the knowledge and experience they gain from this program. We are looking for graduate students who are enthusiastic about learning more about teaching. We know that successful teachers are those who are passionate about working with their students and always curious about new ways to engage learners.

For more information, please contact: GSTEP mentors.

Testimonials from GSTEP Graduates

"While many graduate students aspire to work in academia, many of us also have a sense of trepidation or fear about the prospect of standing in front of a class of hundreds of students and being expected to teach, engage, and motivate our students for the course of an entire semester. We feel the weight of wanting to be respected by our students, while also trying to not embarrass ourselves because many of us have not had the opportunity to improve our teaching skills beforehand. Thus, GSTEP is an extremely valuable and beneficial program that is designed to help graduate students develop their own philosophy of teaching based on current research and strategies that are better suited to meet the demands of today's changing classrooms." - Mitch Barton, Kinesiology, Health Promotion, & Recreation


"My experience in GSTEP has changed the way I view teaching in front of the classroom. It has given me confidence in my teaching strategies and how I connect with my students. I look forward to many years of educating our next generation of Hospitality managers." - Kathryn J. Lentz, Hospitality and Tourism Management


"My time in GSTEP was very interesting and beneficial to my future career as a teacher. Many of my assumptions about teaching and learning within the STEM fields were challenged because of this program. I feel that I am going to be a better educator because of the things that I learned from the mentors and other participants, as well as from the workshops and other events in which I participated. I am looking forward to beginning my career as an educator and I feel like I am a lot more prepared." - Rebecca Weber, Chemistry


“I just want to say that GSTEP has helped me grow both professionally and personally. I started a full-time teaching job this semester and I know that part of the reason I got hired was because of the teaching philosophy I wrote for GSTEP. The interviewers brought it up to me in my interview and I was so happy to have included it in my application. I was easily able to answer their interview questions because I had already thought a lot about them throughout our GSTEP workshops and events. Although I was nervous to start teaching full-time, I felt well-prepared to enter the classroom because of the resources that GSTEP had given me. It proved to be a successful first semester.” - Lidia Aguirre, Spanish and Linguistics


"The GSTEP program provided me with an opportunity to holistically grow and develop as an instructor. I am excited to have gone through the program and encourage others interested in developing professionally to do so as well. Among other things, I learned a lot about curriculum delivery firsthand from experts on our campus, ways to enhance teaching and learning such as in large lecture courses, and tips on classroom management I had not encountered before. All this will help me as I move towards a position as a professor at a research institution." - Jenny Wakefield, Learning Technologies and Information Sciences

GSTEP Contact Information

Phone: (940) 369-7567