Center for Learning, Experimentation, Application, and Research

GSTEP: Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Program

The Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Program (GSTEP) is a zero-credit offering course designed for all UNT graduate students regardless of teaching experience. This course will focus on a variety of topics related to university teaching and student learning including: identifying assumptions about teaching and learning, writing clear learning goals and outcomes, designing effective assessment techniques and active learning environments, evaluating teaching effectiveness, and working with a diverse population of learners.

The goals of the course are to:

  1. develop a 45-minute interactive teaching plan to implement in an undergraduate course and
  2. foster a greater sense of self-efficacy in teaching.

Why should graduate students participate in GSTEP?

  • 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 introduce graduate students to the scholarship and practice of effective teaching.
  • Graduate teaching assistants and fellows need effective teaching skills to facilitate learning in the classes that they teach.
  • 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 participants prepare for those demands.

Course Delivery & Organization

This course is delivered entirely online and requires: reading content and completing assignments in Canvas and attending 3 virtual seminars. Students can expect to complete the course requirements in approximately 45 hours over one semester.

During GSTEP, you will:

  • Complete 8 online modules in Canvas.
  • Attend 3 virtual seminars (each seminar is scheduled multiple times during the week for students' convenience, scroll down to the current term’s dates).
  • Conduct a teaching practicum (i.e., observation, teaching plan development and implementation, and evaluation) in an undergraduate course.
  • Write a teaching philosophy.
  • Write a critical reflection essay.

Each of the above components are required to pass the course.

Online modules include content, readings, assignments, assignment instructions, and supplemental resources. The virtual seminars will be conducted via Zoom and will provide students with an opportunity to interact and practice new skills with peers and mentors in the course. The teaching practicum includes observations of an experienced teacher, teaching plan development and implementation in an undergraduate course, and an evaluation of teaching effectiveness.

Through these components of the course, students will develop and refine their teaching skills and improve their understanding of how students learn.


Enrollment is now OPEN for the Summer 2020: 10 Week Session (June 1-August 7). The deadline to enroll is May 28, 2020 at 11:59 pm CST. 

GSTEP is offered as a zero-credit-option course, meaning that students can register for the class at no cost to them. Students who complete the course will receive official documentation of completion on their transcripts. The duration of the course is approximately 45 hours and includes 3 virtual seminars. All UNT graduate students are welcome to enroll in the course regardless of teaching experience and must:

  • be enrolled in at least one graduate-level course during the term,
  • understand GSTEP does not count towards financial aid or full-time enrollment, and
  • understand the grading scale for this course is pass/no pass and will show on student transcripts. 

Note: If you are College of Science student (biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics graduate students), we offer a concurrent section of GSTEP. If you are a College of Science student interested in GSTEP, please email Claudia Gonzalez Villarreal at to enroll or for further details about GSTEP for Scientific Teaching.

If you are interested in enrolling in the course, please complete this brief survey: GSTEP Enrollment Survey. The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete. The information collected in this survey will enable us to better understand the students we serve and to enroll students in the course. 

If you have any questions, please contact Jenna Ledford, Course Instructor and Faculty Development Specialist, at

Summer 2020 Seminar Dates & Times

Seminar 1: Orientation & Assumptions

6/2: Tues 5pm-7pm, online via Zoom

6/4: Thurs 2pm-4pm, online via Zoom

6/5: Fri 1pm-3pm, online via Zoom

Seminar 2: Active Learning Lab

6/23: Tues 5pm-7pm, online via Zoom

6/25: Thurs 2pm-4pm, online via Zoom

6/26: Fri 1pm-3pm, online via Zoom

Seminar 3: Practicing Your Teaching

7/7: Tues 5pm-7pm, online via Zoom

7/9: Thurs 2pm-4pm, online via Zoom

7/10: Fri 1pm-3pm, online via Zoom