Teaching and Mentoring
Teaching and mentoring undergraduate students is a key component of a graduate student's experience at Princeton. Academic departments and campus partners offer many avenues to becoming a master teacher and learning best practices in mentoring and advising students. Skills in teaching and mentoring will serve graduate students well in many diverse career paths.
The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning offers extensive programs and services geared toward developing graduate students as professional scholars and teachers. These programs can assist graduate students both in meeting degree requirements and in acquiring skills needed for careers in teaching.
Assistant in Instruction (AI) Orientation Training
The McGraw Center oversees training each semester for all graduate students serving as AIs in undergraduate courses for the first time. The Graduate School requires all first-time AIs to complete this training, which provides an introduction to teaching issues and an opportunity to practice teaching skills.
Pedagogy and Professional Development Workshops
Pedagogy workshops at the McGraw Center are focused on various aspects of teaching, learning, and navigating academic careers. Workshops explore a wide range of topics, including grading, leading discussions, teaching with film or other visual materials, and lecturing. They also focus on critical thinking in disciplinary courses as well as on writing a teaching statement. Popular offerings include the Master Class on Lecturing, which includes Princeton faculty members who are recognized as expert teachers.
McGraw Teaching Seminar: Scholarly Approaches to Teaching
The McGraw Center, in collaboration with the Graduate School, offers graduate students a semester-long course that focuses on the processes and goals of teaching and encourages critical discussions of current scholarship in the fields of learning and pedagogy.
PTI provides credit-bearing college courses to inmates at New Jersey correctional facilities near Princeton’s campus. Courses in several disciplines are taught by volunteer instructors, including Princeton faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, alumni, and advanced undergraduates. Graduate student volunteers have the opportunity to teach their own courses in a nontraditional, meaningful setting through this initiative.
The Princeton/Community College Teaching Partnership program enables Princeton University graduate students to teach courses at Mercer County Community College or Camden County College, which provides a valuable, mentored experience by a tenured community college faculty member. This program helps Princeton graduate students to develop as teachers, designing and delivering their own courses in their academic fields while learning about teaching in a community college setting.
The Program in Teacher Preparation, commonly referred to as Teacher Prep, prepares students to serve as teachers and educational leaders in our nation’s secondary schools. The program is open to Princeton undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni, who may return to Princeton at any time to complete the program. Students completing the program earn a University certificate and are eligible for a New Jersey State teaching license, which is transferable to other states.
Princeton graduate students who will be registered in Dissertation Completion Enrollment (DCE) status are invited to apply for one-year positions as Quin Morton Teaching Fellows throught the Princeton Writing Program. Quin Morton Teaching Fellows teach one topic-based writing seminar of their own design each semester and participate in an intensive faculty development program, which includes meetings and workshops on seminar design and writing pedagogy.
Collaborative Teaching Initiative in the Humanities
Graduate students in the humanities who have successfully completed their general examination and who have already demonstrated excellence in teaching as an AI in a previous semester may apply to participate in a pilot initiative that allows them to co-design and co-teach an undergraduate course at Princeton with a faculty mentor. The aim of this initiative is twofold: first, to facilitate graduate student intellectual development and pedagogical and professional experience under the guidance of a seasoned mentor, specifically through the design and full co-teaching of a course; and second, to provide innovative new team-taught classes for Princeton’s undergraduates.
Consistent with Princeton's policy on instructional responsibilities, faculty involved in the initiative must still assume primary responsibility for the course and must teach no less than half of lectures or precepts. Nonetheless, both faculty and graduate student collaborators are fully engaged in teaching through the duration of the course, and both meet with staff from the McGraw Center for consultations on their goals and methods for co-teaching. Graduate student participants are listed a co-instructors of record with the Registrar. The initiative supposes genuine and experimental team teaching, combined with intellectual and pedagogical development for the graduate student instructor.
Twice per year faculty in the humanities receive a call for proposals with relevant deadlines and application requirements. Graduate students are encouraged to express interest to and discuss possible proposals with their faculty adviser(s) and director of graduate studies. The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning supports proposal development, and graduate students who are interested in developing a proposal with a faculty member are encouraged to connect with the Center. Submitted proposals are evaluated first by a departmental committee consisting of the chair, director of graduate studies, and departmental representative. The chair then passes the most promising proposals along for consideration by representatives of the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, and the Office of the Dean of the College. This pilot program is currently restricted to the 14 humanities departments that offer Ph.D. programs, including architecture.
Graduate students participating in the program receive a three-hour AI appointment, regardless of the size of the course, and the appointment may include courses that would not otherwise qualify for an AI allotment. The three-hour AI appointment is the same for lecture and seminar courses.
Resident Graduate Student Program
Each of the undergraduate residential colleges at Princeton includes up to ten graduate students who live among the undergraduates within the college and offer academic, intellectual, social, and cultural programming and support to those undergraduates. Residents graduate students (RGSs) are appointed each spring through an interview process managed by the Office of the Dean of the College.
ReMatch is a research mentoring program designed to connect undergraduate students and graduate students, two historically unconnected populations at Princeton, through their shared interest in academic research. ReMatch offers fellowship funding for mentorship connections and joint research projects. The graduate student mentors come from the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering, representing research opportunities of interest to a wide spectrum of undergraduates.
In November, Meals for Mentoring dinners are held, where undergraduates are given an opportunity to meet potential mentors and explore their research interest further. In December and January, the program offers additional opportunities for undergradaute students to find a graduate student mentor through small group meetups, lab tours, and research shadowing experiences. In February, mentor-mentee pairs are then invited to co-write a proposal to receive funding for a summer research internship. Interested graduate students should complete the ReMatch Graduate Mentor Profile form (link is external).
The ReMatch program is a collaborative initiative of the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.
Scholars Institute Fellows Program (SIFP), Office of the Dean of the College
SIFP offers mentorship, academic enrichment, and a welcoming scholarly community to undergradaute students from backgrounds historically underrepresented at Princeton, including first-generation and low-income students as well as military veterans and transfer students. Graduate Fellows provide individualized mentorship to an undergraduate student leader, as well as co-facilitate monthly mentorship meetings with 10-12 undergraduate students.
Graduate Teaching Fellows
PUPP is a comprehensive academic and cultural enrichment program for high-achieving, low-income high school students from Ewing, Lawrence, Nottingham, Princeton and Trenton High Schools. PUPP works with high school scholars beginning the summer after their 9th-grade year and continuing through high school graduation. The program's goal is to prepare students for success at selective colleges and universities. Fellows serve as mentors and lead weekly academic enrichment sessions on critical reading, writing and thinking skills for 6 to 12 high school juniors and seniors.