GSTEP: Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Program

Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Program

The Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Program (GSTEP) is a two-semester professional development program designed to prepare UNT graduate students for teaching roles. GSTEP is provided by the Center for Learning Enhancement, Assessment, and Redesign (CLEAR) with support from the Office of the Provost and is offered at no cost to participants. 

GSTEP opportunities to learn about teaching skills and pedagogy in an environment of peer support. Activities include classroom teaching experiences, online training modules, self-directed training with faculty, self-assessment and peer mentoring. It is our goal that when GSTEP participants become confident in their teaching skills and graduate ready to apply their knowledge in real-world work environments.

Why should graduate students participate in GSTEP?

  1. The idea that we know how to teach because we have been taught is a myth. Teaching is an entire discipline and the purpose of GSTEP is to teach graduate students to teach others effectively.
  2. Teaching skills are important in the non-profit sector and industry jobs as well as in higher education. Learning the skills taught in GSTEP will help you prepare for those demands.
  3. If you are chosen to be a TA or TF, you will need effective teaching skills to facilitate learning of the classes that you teach.

Click Here to Apply for Fall 2017!

The GSTEP Program

UNT graduate students may enter GSTEP at no cost and progress through the levels over two semesters. Level 1 is offered during the fall and Level 2 is offered during the spring. Participants must complete Level 1 of the program before moving onto Level 2. Upon successful completion of Level 2, you will be honored as a graduate of GSTEP in a ceremony with colleagues, alumni, and faculty and receive a GSTEP completion certificate.

With the support of GSTEP program mentors, your work will be self-directed, and you can choose activities and content that meet your unique teaching needs.

The GSTEP program addresses different skills in each level:

GSTEP Level 1: Teaching in the 21st Century

GSTEP Level 1 will require approximately 20 hours of work during the Fall semester. You will receive an introduction to teaching through an interactive Engaged Learning online module that contains many strategies for teaching and working with students.

Throughout Level 1, the following questions will be explored:

  • Who are the students I will teach?
  • How do I engage students?
  • How do we transition from passive to active learning?
  • How can I be sure my students are learning what I want them to know?
  • How do I create an effective lesson plan?
  • How can I establish my credibility and authority in the classroom?

GSTEP Level 2 will require approximately 30 hours during the Spring semester. You will begin to apply your teaching skills in small peer groups and in a real class.GSTEP Level 2: Developing and Refining Your Teaching Skills

Throughout Level 2, the follow questions will be explored:

  • What teaching style is most appropriate for me?
  • How do I present an engaging lecture?
  • How do I facilitate an engaging discussion?
  • What is the best way to implement small groups?
  • How can I manage my class effectively?
  • What are the best practices for online teaching?
  • How do I design effective, engaging assignments?

The application for GSTEP Level 1 is now open for the Fall 2017 GSTEP Program. The deadline to apply is September 1st.
Click here to apply for GSTEP Level 1!

For more information, please contact:

Phone: (940) 369-8744

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