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Postdoc Teaching Certificate

In category: Teaching and Mentoring Programs

Program Overview

The Postdoc Teaching Certificate is offered through the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs to provide teaching preparation and practice to postdoctoral scholars. Teaching is integral to the professional development of many postdocs, especially those seeking academic careers. This certificate has been developed to provide a framework on which to build your skills, practice new techniques, and reflect on the experience. The certificate requires approximately 100 hours to complete, and can be completed in one year, or over the course of several years. The preparation, practice, assessment, and reflection will be complied to serve as the basis of your teaching portfolio, the capstone piece of the certificate.

Participation in the teaching certificate program is voluntary and must be approved by your faculty sponsor. We recommend discussing your plans in the context of your Individual Development Plan. Also note postdoc policy on teaching.

The teaching certificate is comprised of 3 parts. Approximately 2/3 of your effort should be dedicated to teaching preparation and training. The remaining 1/3 is devoted to teaching and developing your portfolio.



At least 70 hours of teaching training, including:
  • Core teaching training  (24 hours minimum)
  • Postdoc Pedagogy Journal Club (6 hours minimum)
  • Elective courses and workshops



Approximately 20 hours of teaching practice, including:
  • Minimum 5 hours of in-class teaching time (reporting required)
  • Teaching preparation time; you are automatically granted 15 hours of prep time (not reported)



Approximately 10 hours toward preparing a teaching portfolio:
  • Once you have completed the training hours, you will submit a teaching portfolio for review.
  • A Teaching Philosophy Statement is required. See below for details.

There is no required order to the components, although we recommend specific skills development before practice (e.g. take a course in curriculum design before designing your curriculum).

Postdoc Teaching Certificate Process

The form requests the following information: Name of Workshop, Institution/Organization, Name of Instructor(s), Date(s), Email contact, URL (if available), 3+ Learning Goals or Key Takeaways, and Reflection. Be sure to email yourself a copy of your responses, as this will be helpful as you create your Teaching Statement.

  • Begin collecting materials for your Teaching Portfolio. 


Postdoc Teaching Certificate Requirements: Teaching Training

You are required to complete a total of 70 hours of teaching training, combining the following 3 types of training activities. Only in-class hours for teaching training activities may be counted toward your total hours (do not count time for homework or other engagement/preparation). Please note, workshops solely on mentoring, like OPA's Mentoring in Research, are not eligible for the teaching certificate. 

Core Teaching Training: At least 24 hours

A comprehensive teaching training workshop that provides a holistic foundation for teaching improvement and/or pedagogical theory is required, this is one of two that fulfills this requirement:


Postdoc Pedagogy Journal Club: At least 6 hours

Elective Courses/Workshops

The number of courses required depends on the number of in-class hours total among all types of teaching training, totaling a minimum of 70 training hours. These may be workshops on aspects of teaching preparation; specific teaching techniques; diversity, equity, and inclusion, etc.

In addition to workshops hosted by OPA (many listed below), the following partners frequently offer teaching training opportunities open to postdocs:

Postdoc Teaching Certificate Requirements: Teaching Practice

Teaching Practice: approximately 20 hours including preparation time

You are required to teach at least 5 hours in a classroom. The 5 hours is in-class time and does not include preparation time.

This will likely include a combination of multiple opportunities.

Each Teaching opportunity must include:

  • Original course content
  • Teacher assessment: evaluation surveys, pre/post assessments, observer and feedback; video and feedback
  • Class activities, assignments, and/or assessments

Postdoc Teaching Certificate Requirements: Teaching Portfolio

Upon completion of your required hours, you must submit a teaching portfolio for review. Your portfolio must include a teaching philosophy statement. This UM CRLT site has compiled a lot of great resources on writing a teaching philosophy statement.

You may also submit  any combination of other portfolio pieces, including but not limited to: 

  • Original Course Syllabi
  • Teaching Evaluations, Annotated*
  • Course Assignments, Annotated*
  • Course Assessments, Annotated*
  • Teaching Video
  • Other Portfolio Content, as applicable


*Teaching Portfolio annotations assist a hiring committee in assessing your portfolio items. Information to provide may include:

  • What audience: who are the students, what level, what prior knowledge, etc.?
  • Curricular context (within overall curriculum, course, etc.)?
  • Specific (learning) goals?
  • Delivery method? Activities?
  • Class size? Adaptability to other class sizes?
  • Class length? Amount of out-of-class work intended?
  • What did you learn? What would you change?