Whether or not you plan for a career in academia, graduate students are often well-trained for various careers in education. For example, some graduate students will go on to become Instructional Designers or highschool teachers at private institutions. The following resources are particularly helpful for students who intend to pursue an academic career. For more guidance on career preparation both within and outside of the academy, see the Career Exploration and Preparation competency of this guide. 

Steps You Can Take

Develop a Course Syllabus

Developing a course syllabus can help improve your understanding of a particular subfield of knowledge in your discipline. Your finished syllabus may also help you secure an academic job where you will have the opportunity to teach similar courses. Designing a course also gives you practice in formulating desired outcomes and ways to assess whether they have been met, which is an essential skill in any career. Each semester the GSI Teaching & Resource Center offers a workshop specifically geared toward graduate students who are interested in designing a course and corresponding syllabus.

Some other resources that may help you in developing a course syllabus include:


Write a Teaching Statement

Applications for academic positions often ask candidates to submit a teaching statement or philosophy that reflects their pedagogical experience and philosophy within their particular discipline. To get started with writing a statement of teaching philosophy, consider attending the GSI Teaching & Resource Center’s recurring workshop on Developing a Statement of Teaching Philosophy and Teaching Portfolio. See slides and resources from these workshops in the Center’s Online Library.

Also see “Part IV: Job Documents that Work” in the book The Professor Is In by Karen Kelsky, available as an ebook from the Library.

Other resources from The Chronicle of Higher Education that may be helpful to you in writing a teaching statement include the articles “How to Write a Statement of Teaching Philosophy” and “4 Steps to a Memorable Teaching Philosophy.”


Write a Diversity Statement for Job Applications

Today it has become increasingly common for academic job applications to ask candidates to submit a so-called diversity statement. This may be requested as a part of the cover letter, incorporated in the teaching statement, or as a separate document. For this statement, scholars are typically asked how their teaching, research, service, and advising does or would contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the institution, department, and discipline in question. Make sure this statement is not a perfunctory exercise but an opportunity to reflect on your teaching and research practices. To learn more about what to include and not to include in a diversity statement by reading “What Is a Diversity Statement, Anyway?” in the book The Professor Is In by Karen Kelsky.

Some other resources that may be helpful in writing a diversity statement include: