The Graduate Fellow Teaching (GTF) Program offers English Department graduate students the opportunity to learn how to teach composition at the college level by working closely with faculty mentors and with each other. Mentors serve as models for GTFs by demonstrating strategies for designing courses, introducing freshmen to the process of writing, responding to student work, and making the classroom a place of active learning.
GTFs share ideas and experiences with each other and with faculty members in workshops, meetings, and classes. (GTFs are required to take ENGL 651, Teaching Expository Writing, during their first semester in the program.) They teach their own classes while working with their mentors to develop their own style of teaching.
The GTF program is designed to be a two-year sequence, in which students teach one section of freshman composition each semester the first year and two sections each semester the second year. The stipend is $8000 for the first year and $8700 for the second year, in addition to a waiver of the out-of-state portion of tuition for students from outside Virginia.
Applying for a Graduate Teaching Fellowship
In addition to materials required for admission to the graduate program, the committee that selects Graduate Teaching Fellows requires two additional documents:
- A letter of reference from someone who can recommend you specifically for a Graduate Teaching Fellowship.
- An essay of 3-4 pages reflecting on the teaching of writing to first-year college students and responding to the following questions:
Becoming an effective teacher draws on the skills involved in being a successful student, but it also requires the ability to communicate those skills to others. Using the following questions as a starting point, discuss why you feel that you could be an effective teacher of writing at the college level:
- How would you describe the ways that you learned to write?
- What courses in writing did you take at the high school and college level?
- How would you describe your writing methods and habits?
- If you have been in situations in which you took a leadership or teaching role with people your age or younger, describe those situations and reflect on your responses to them.
- If you have been in situations in which you engaged in public speaking or other kinds of public performance, describe those situations and reflect on their possible relevance to your teaching.
- What personal strengths do you think you would bring to teaching?
- What weaknesses might you need to overcome in order to be an effective teacher?
GTFs are awarded each spring for the following academic year, and are normally renewable for a second year. The deadline for GTF applications (including all application and supporting material) is March 1 each year.
The employment record of the Graduate Teaching Fellows who have graduated from our program is excellent. Questions regarding the responsibilities and objectives of Graduate Teaching Fellows can be addressed directly to Dr. Frank Napolitano, the Coordinator of the GTF Program.
In addition to Graduate Teaching Fellowships, the English Department has a limited number of non-teaching Graduate Assistantships available for work in the department and in the Learning Assistance and Resource Center (LARC) on campus. The stipend for GAs is $8,000 a year.