Are there avenues or fellowships for teaching courses?

Date: November 2019


Hello Deans,

I was wondering if there are opportunities for Ph.D. students in agricultural sciences, and also in general, to lead courses or start a new course, be it a first year seminar or the like. These kinds of experiences are extremely valuable in a job application. I saw one fellowship like that which was offered along with the Knight Writing Institute for a first year writing seminar. Are there other avenues or fellowships where we can apply to teach a first year seminar or any other course for that matter?


Aspiring Teacher


Dear Aspiring Teacher,

Thanks for your question. It’s never too early to be thinking about preparing for the next stages of your career path, so I hope these resources will be helpful to you.

The Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines offers a variety of supports for graduate instructors. These include courses on preparing to teach in Cornell’s First-Year Writing Seminars, peer collaboration opportunities, and the Buttrick-Crippen Fellowship which is probably the opportunity you’ve seen advertised before to prepare and teach a new First-Year Writing Seminar.  

There may be opportunities to serve as a graduate student lecturer through Cornell’s School of Continuing Education during summer session, depending on student interest and demand in the areas in which you have expertise. Contact the School of Continuing Education for information about the possibilities. 

Located within the Graduate School, the CIRTL at Cornell future faculty program is a member of the national network Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), offering on-campus and online professional development opportunities on building mentoring skills, inclusive excellence in teaching, scholarship of teaching and learning, navigating the academic job search, and more. These CIRTL at Cornell resources may be helpful to you whether you are teaching your own course, serving as a teaching assistant for a faculty member’s course, or not currently involved in teaching but interested in honing your mentoring and teaching skills. Nationally-recognized certificates are available to distinguish emerging leaders in evidence-based teaching practices. 

The Center for Teaching Innovation offers a variety of programs for graduate students including the GET SET Program, teaching portfolios, and the teaching fellows program.

I hope you find these resources useful to further develop your teaching experiences and expertise. 

Warm regards,


Barbara A. Knuth
Dean of the Graduate School