Texas Tech University

TEACH Program Frequently Asked Questions

Is an official teaching appointment really a deal-breaker? And what "counts" as a teaching appointment for the purposes of TEACH?

  • The short answer to this question is yes, an official teaching appointment is absolutely required for participating in TEACH. This is because major components of the program rely on Fellows' work in the classroom – teaching observations, midterm student feedback, peer observations, etc.
  • Fellows can be GPTI's, of course, in charge of their own classes, but they can also teach labs or discussion sections. Participating Fellows do not have to be officially classified as GPTI's or even "instructor of record," as long as they have continuous and extended contact with students in the classroom as their instructor.
    • Participating Fellows cannot be TA's or RA's who merely assist a professor with grading or other behind-the-scenes course logistics, or who offer an occasional guest lecture.
    • Participating Fellows teaching assignments must also be "official," i.e. "on the record" with the university. They cannot simply take over another instructor's class without compensation just to participate in the program.

I'm not certain whether or not I will have an official teaching appointment next year, and my department won't decide that until the summer. Can I still apply?

  • Yes, you can certainly still apply! This is common practice for several departments on campus. Just be forewarned that if you should get accepted into the TEACH Program, you will need to work with your department to set up an appropriate teaching appointment (see FAQ1) for both fall and spring semesters of the forthcoming academic year. If that cannot be arranged, your spot will be given to an alternate.

I'm an international student, but I did not attend the ITA workshop. Am I still eligible to apply? What else can I submit for proof of language proficiency? And why does this matter?

  • Yes, you are absolutely still encouraged to apply! Passing the ITA workshop is just one example of proof of language proficiency. Other options include things like copies of TOEFL scores (even if "expired"). If you have none of these other documents available, please be sure to take part in the group interview process (if your application is otherwise complete).
  • This is a requirement primarily because the focus of the TEACH Program and the expertise of its staff address teaching rather than communication or language skills. We acknowledge that communication or English-speaking skills are understandably components of teaching that many international students want to improve, but we are simply not equipped to offer assistance in those areas.

Are distance students eligible to apply and participate?

  • Unfortunately, the TEACH Program is currently limited to on-campus students due to program logistics.

I have a full-time job with regular 8:00 – 5:00 business hours. Can I apply?

  • Because most TEACH Program components such as workshops and classroom observations take place during regular work hours (Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm), it would honestly be incredibly difficult for someone with a full-time off-campus job to participate.

What does a "terminal degree in your discipline" mean?

  • Essentially, a "terminal degree in your discipline" means the highest degree offered in your discipline at Texas Tech University. For instance, some departments offer both Master's degrees and Doctoral degrees, so a Ph.D. would be the terminal degree in that discipline (such as Biological Sciences). However, some departments only offer Master's degrees, so that would be a terminal degree for that discipline at Texas Tech (such as Philosophy). One exception are departments (such as Theatre) that offer both an M.F.A. path and a Ph.D. path, both of which are considered terminal degrees in several fields.

I know that most of the TEACH materials say the program is primarily for doctoral students, but I'm a Master's student and I'm interested in learning about teaching. Can I still apply?

  • The answer to this is yes, but... Yes, you are still welcome to apply! However, you should bear in mind that the program is extremely competitive, and as such, the selection committee usually gives preference to doctoral students/terminal degree students because they are further along in their graduate career.
  • As a Master's student interested in learning about teaching, you should also consider applying for our Groundwork Program! This program does not require a teaching appointment, takes place twice a year, does not give preference to doctoral students, and offers many more opportunities for participation.

How much time does it really take to be a TEACH Fellow?

  • Being a TEACH Fellow is indeed a sizeable time and work commitment! When you add up the various required components of the program that take place outside of your regular teaching and research obligations – meeting with consultants, observing peers' classes, attending workshops and group meetings, creating detailed teaching portfolios and course designs – the time adds up. We usually estimate that Fellows will spend approximately 30 – 40 hours per semester on TEACH Program work.
  • For more detailed information about TEACH Program requirements, please visit the TEACH website and/or review the TEACH Fellow Handbook.

What point in graduate school work is most "ideal" for participating in TEACH? Does it matter how much teaching experience I have?

  • There is not really a "perfect" time to participate in the TEACH Program. Indeed, we have had several TEACH Fellows who have participated early in their graduate careers, and others who have participated in their final year. Some may have lots of teaching experience, and others may not! There are, however, some things you might want to consider:
    • Do you think you will have enough time (and energy!) to participate in all of the various TEACH components in the coming year? Will there be enough space in your Monday-Friday weekly schedule to do things like attend workshops and meetings? (Or will your weekly schedule offer at least some flexibility to do so when needed?)
    • Will you have the commitment and work ethic to devote to the significant requirements of the program? This is not a program you can "phone in!"

Why is admission to the TEACH Program so limited?

  • Each year the TEACH Program typically receives upwards of 70 applications for approximately 15 available spots. "Why not just add more spots?" you might ask. Well, the answer to that is simple: while we would LOVE to be able to work with more TEACH Fellows, we just don't have the funding or staffing at this moment in time. We also find that the program is at its best when working with a more intimate cohort.

Who makes the acceptance decisions?

  • Final acceptance decisions are made by an experienced selection committee which includes faculty members from a variety of disciplines who are known for their support of teaching and who are well-acquainted with the TEACH Program.

I applied to the TEACH Program last year but didn't get accepted. Can I reapply? And as a second-time applicant, do I have a better chance of getting accepted?

  • Yes, you are definitely welcome to reapply! Each year we have many repeat applicants.
  • Unfortunately, being a repeat applicant does not necessarily garner special consideration or guarantee you a spot in the program. There is no sliding scale for first-time applicants vs. repeat applicants, and each applicant pool is considered on its own merits.

 May I apply to TEACH and the Groundwork Program at the same time?

  • Yes, you may absolutely apply to both programs simultaneously in the spring! Decisions are made separately from one another, so being accepted into the May cohort of Groundwork does not mean you will automatically be excluded from TEACH, nor does it mean you will automatically be accepted into TEACH.