Teaching obligations are integral to preparing students for the world of professional academia, enabling students to begin teaching before starting professional careers and getting feedback on their own pedagogical development. Teaching in a department assigned position – whether as a course assistant (CA) or as a lecturer in a free-standing course – count towards fulfillment of a student’s Pedagogical Training Plan. In certain cases, the department might request a student serve as a BA Undergraduate Preceptor. 

The Pedagogical Training Plan (PTP)

Cinema and Media Studies PhD students hold the following teaching appointments – 

  • Year 3: one CA position
  • Year 4: two CA positions
  • Year 5: one lectureship
  • Year 6: one lectureship

The remainder of the Cinema and Media Studies PTP can be fulfilled through completing programs run through the Chicago Center for TeachingStudents should begin these requirements during year 3, beginning with attending the Teaching@Chicago Orientation – a one-day workshop held during orientation week each Autumn Quarter. 

Teaching Outside of the Department

Teaching outside of the department - in a different department, in the writing program, in the College Core, or as a MAPH preceptor – can be counted toward a student’s PTP requirements but must first be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Typically, the department will only approve outside teaching fulfilling the PTP if the position is related to a joint-degree program. Unless otherwise informed, the department will anticipate a student fulfilling all of their PTP teaching commitments in CMS.  

Course Assistants

Course assistants are expected to aid faculty members in courses in which the undergraduate enrollment is too large for faculty to effectively perform all aspects of instruction. Course assistants may be expected to attend class, read all assigned materials, hold office hours with students, lead a discussion section, review and comment on student assignments, and recommend grades. Cinema and Media Studies appoints CAs to our undergraduate-only classes, such as CMST 10100: Introduction to Film, CMST 14400: Film and the Moving Image, and to other College courses with a more specialized focus such as CMST 21004: Afrofuturism, CMST 26810: Agnes Varda, and CMST 25505: The Detective Film.

Students may also be appointed to mixed-level courses in the History of International Cinema sequence and the graduate-only course CMST 40000: Methods & Issues in Cinema Studies.

Graduate Student Lecturers

Graduate students who are on-track with the program timeline will be asked during year 5 of the program to serve as a stand-alone lecturer for an undergraduate CMS course. While exact appointments vary from year-to-year, typically the courses which students teach are CMST 10100: Introduction to Film and CMST 14400: Film and the Moving Image.

Students entering year 6 of the program have two options for teaching in Cinema and Media Studies: they can either opt for a department assigned section of Introduction to Film or Film and the Moving Image or they can request to teach a self-designed course with another student entering year 6.

Graduate students can also apply for a Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowship, which allows students to teach a stand-alone undergraduate course of their own design. 

Students who hold a Dissertation Completion Fellowship (DCF) in year 6 are exempt from teaching obligations, though they can request to hold a teaching assignment during Spring Quarter of their DCF year with permission from the Dean of Students. 

BA Preceptors

Preceptors are typically students who have advanced to candidacy, but all students are eligible to apply. This position is for one full academic year and involves a mixture of serving as a course assistant, running student discussion groups, and holding one-on-one/small group sessions with graduating CMS majors.  

BA Preceptors work alongside the Director of Undergraduate Studies and participate in the year-long workshop series CMST 27299: Intensive Track - Written Thesis Workshop and CMST 28999: Intensive Track - Production Thesis Workshop.

Lecturing in the College Core

Advanced graduate students can apply to teach in the Humanities Collegiate Division General Education (Core) sequences. Graduate student applicants for these positions must have attained ABD status no later than the end of the Spring quarter prior to the academic year in which they will teach.

The Writing Program

The University of Chicago Writing Program, also known as the Little Red Schoolhouse, employs graduate students in a variety of capacities, including opportunities which fulfill teaching units. Students who wish to work for the writing program must complete the training course HUMA 50000: Pedagogies of Writing.