Mentored Teaching Fellows


Contact your chair, dean’s office, or faculty mentor if you wish to be nominated as a Mentored Teaching Fellow. The Mentored Teaching Fellows program is an intensive program that includes training from CET and mentoring from program faculty.  

If you just wish to participate only in the CET Future Faculty Teaching Institute, there is no need to be a Mentored Teaching Fellow and students can sign up on their own; the institute is open to current USC graduate students and postdocs with an interest in a career in teaching.

Mentored Teaching Fellows are Ph.D. students who complete the 14-session CET Future Faculty Teaching Institute and preparation meetings with their faculty mentor in the fall semester, and teach a course as an instructor of record in the spring semester with continued support from CET and weekly faculty mentor meetings.

They are officially appointed through two steps:

  1. Completion of the Mentored Teaching Fellow Appointment Form (to be completed only by dean or designee)
  2. Completion of an appointment of a “graduate assistant lecturer” (AL) through the Graduate School TA/RA/AL Appointment System

Training and Support Provided by CET for Mentored Teaching Fellows



  • Individual consultations with CET instructional designers.
    • Fellows must schedule at least one 1-hour consultation with a CET Instructional Designer during the spring semester for individualized support. Two consultations is the maximum.
  • Monthly CET-sponsored “community of practice” meetings of Fellows (four 1.5-hour meetings)
    • Fellows must attend at least 2 community of practice meetings.
  • Access to FAQs for Fellows to discuss with faculty mentors.

Mentoring Provided by Academic Program Faculty of Mentored Teaching Fellows


  • Meetings with faculty mentors in the fall to prepare Fellows for their teaching experience in the spring
    • Fellows must attend at least 1, but preferably 2-3 preparation meetings


  • Weekly meetings between faculty mentors and Fellows during spring semester to provide guidance on such topics as course content, discipline-specific best practices in instruction and course design, classroom management, workload management, understanding department and university resources and key contacts, professionalism, etc.
    • Fellows must attend at least 12 teaching mentoring meetings with their faculty mentor during the semester in which they teach.
    • Mentors should have a “Teaching Development Plan” that covers important information students should know about teaching in their discipline as they embark on their careers. Mentoring meetings ultimately may not strictly follow the plan, as more pressing issues may come up organically. Nevertheless, it is helpful to have a framework to ensure important information is covered before the semester ends. Teaching development plan structure and content are created by faculty mentors, and serve only as internal guiding documents for the fellow and the mentor. They are not submitted for review. CET has created a downloadable, editable Teaching Development Plan Template for Mentors that faculty may find useful as a framework or starting point, or faculty may create their own.
  • Classroom observation of the Fellow
    • Faculty mentors must observe their fellow teaching a class at least once, using the school’s or CET’s classroom observation tool (preferably in first 6 weeks). Formative feedback, based on the observation, should be provided to the Fellow.
    • For mentors who wish to use CET’s classroom observation tool, CET will offer a training session using video-taped teaching samples to help faculty feel more comfortable using the tool to provide feedback to their fellows.
    • Feedback from observations is meant to be a “no-stakes” formative learning experience. It is meant to help students develop their teaching skills, and is not intended to evaluate them in any official capacity.

Support Provided by Schools of Mentored Teaching Fellows

  • Appointment of students as graduate assistant lecturers (ALs) through the normal TA/RA appointment system, which includes ALs
  • Assignment of a faculty mentor for each Fellow selected
  • Continuation of the student’s established stipend paid by the school
  • Offer of an existing course in the department matching the student’s content knowledge and proficiency (Fellows should not develop new courses)
  • Ensure course enrollment at a minimum of 15 to provide a realistic teaching experience, and no more than 30 to prevent overload of teaching responsibilities
  • Ensure that no more than one course or course section section is taught by a Fellow, and that the duties of the assigned course or section can be accomplished in 20 hours a week averaged over the semester
  • The CET Future Faculty Institute requires up to 2 hours per week during the fall semester. If this results in an overage of hours because the student already has a 50% appointment, the Fellow should petition the Graduate School and the petition will be approved.

Criteria for Selection of Mentored Teaching Fellows

  • Doctoral student at USC
  • Experience as a TA at USC
  • Record of excellent performance in TA role and other teaching-related tasks that suggest readiness for independent teaching responsibilities
  • Student in good standing, making excellent progress toward the degree
  • Capable of managing the duties associated with an independent teaching role, the intensive training and mentoring involved in the fellowship – up to 20 hours per week averaged over the spring semester, in addition to regular graduate program requirements
  • Available to attend weekly meetings with a faculty mentor during the spring semester
  • Available to attend monthly Fellows community of practice meetings during the spring semester

Appointment Process of Mentored Teaching Fellows

  • Faculty interested in nominating students to become Fellows should contact their Chair or Dean’s office, as appropriate, and submit a recommendation that describes how the student and faculty member have met, or will meet, each of the fellowship requirements
  • The Chair or Dean’s office should validate the student and faculty member’s ability and commitment to fulfill the fellowship requirements.
  • The Chair or Dean’s office should ensure an appropriate existing course and funding are available for the Fellow for the following academic year
  • Once these steps are completed, official appointments are made in two steps:
    1. Completion of the Mentored Teaching Fellow Appointment Form
    2. Completion of appointment to “graduate assistant lecturer” (AL) through the Graduate School TA/RA/AL Appointment System
  • In the 2019-2020 pilot of this program, appointments of Fellows are due by July 1. The deadline in future years will be early spring. Faculty and chairs should consider their school’s timeline for assigning instructors to future courses, as this may require an earlier submission for course planning purposes.


    How will Fellows be selected?

    Fellows appointments happen at the department or school level. Fellows will be nominated by faculty who believe their students meet the criteria for the program. Nominations will be made to appropriate administrators (e.g., chairs, vice deans, etc.) for review. Administrators will ensure criteria are met, courses and funding are available, and that the Fellow and faculty mentor agree to the requirements of the fellowship before notifying the Graduate School and CET of the Fellow appointment.

    How Many Fellows can be selected?

    Fellow appointments should be reserved only for students who meet the criteria laid out on the program page. Appointments will be determined by students’ workload, performance, and progress, as well as course, funding, and faculty mentor availability. Appointments are made at the sole discretion of the department or school; they are not automatic or required. Schools or divisions within larger schools may appoint a maximum of 2 fellows.

    What are the dates of the required Fall institute training?

    These can be found on CET’s website. Fellows are free to sign up for the Future Faculty Teaching Institute cohort that best fits their schedule.

    Who selects Fellow faculty mentors?

    Schools and departments will develop their own Fellows selection process, including identifying faculty mentors. It is likely that faculty who nominate students will also be the faculty who serve as their mentors, but this may not always be the case.

    What do faculty mentors do?

    Mentors should meet with students during the fall semester to help them prepare for teaching a course in their department. They should map out a teaching development plan for the spring semester that contains topics they think their student should learn during their weekly mentoring meetings. Mentors should conduct at least one class observation of their Fellow, at about the six week point, using either their school’s or CET’s class observation tool. (CET will offer a training workshop for mentors, if they wish to use CET’s tool, to help them get more comfortable in observing and providing feedback on instruction.) Feedback from observations is meant to be a “no-stakes” formative learning experience. It is meant to help students develop their teaching skills, and is not intended to evaluate them in any official capacity.

    What courses will Fellows teach?

    Fellows should be assigned available courses for which they have subject matter knowledge and proficiency. They should not develop their own course, as they are do not yet have expertise in course design.

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