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?

  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 introduce graduate students to the scholarship and practice of effective teaching.
  2. Graduate teaching assistants and fellows need effective teaching skills to facilitate learning in the classes that they teach.
  3. 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 in a blended/hybrid format, meaning content is delivered partially online via Canvas and through 3 face-to-face 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 each of the 3 face-to-face seminars (each seminar is scheduled multiple times during the week for students' convenience).
  • 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 will include content, readings, interactive activities, project instructions, and supplemental resources. The face-to-face seminars will be held on UNT’s main campus and will provide students with an opportunity to interact and practice new skills with peers and mentors in the course. The teaching practicum will include in-class 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 Spring 2020. Deadline to enroll is January 14, 2020 at 11:59 pm CST. 

All UNT graduate students are welcome to enroll in the course regardless of teaching experience. 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 face-to-face seminars on the UNT Denton Campus. Online options are available for distance education only students. If you are an distance education student, please notify the instructor of record upon enrollment.

Spring 2020 Seminar Dates:

  • Seminar 1:  

    • 1/22: Wed 5pm-7pm, Gateway 142

    • 1/23: Thurs 2pm-4pm, Gateway 131

    • 1/24: Fri 1pm-3pm, Gateway 142

  • Seminar 2

    • 2/19: Wed 5pm-7pm, Gateway 142

    • 2/20: Thurs 2pm-4pm, Gateway 131

    • 2/21: Fri 1pm-3pm, Gateway 142

  • Seminar 3

    • 3/18: Wed 5pm-7pm, Gateway 142

    • 3/19: Thurs 2pm-4pm, Gateway 131

    • 3/20: Fri 1pm-3pm, Gateway 142

To enroll, students must:

  • be enrolled in at least one graduate-level course during the spring,
  • 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. 

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. 

Please contact Jenna Ledford, Course Instructor and Faculty Development Manager, with questions at

GSTEP For Scientific Teaching

We also offer a concurrent section of GSTEP for the College of Science (for biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics graduate students). If you would like to enroll in this section, please email Claudia Gonzalez Villarreal at