Certificate in the Foundations of College Instruction

Woman teaching class

The Graduate College at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) offers a three-course post-baccalaureate campus certificate titled Foundations of College Instruction (FOCI).

Develop Your College Teaching Knowledge and Skills

  • Gain foundational knowledge in education research that supports effective, equity-minded college teaching, and gain practice applying this theory to your disciplinary teaching contexts.
  • Develop artifacts, skills, and competencies you can use in your teaching roles at UIC and leverage on the job market
  • Explore important topics in college teaching, including methods for facilitating learning, inclusive teaching approaches, and how to employ a reflective, inquiry-based approach to your teaching practice.
  • Earn a tangible credential that will appear on your official transcript and you can add to your curriculum vita.

What to Expect

Learn more about the three courses and what you will learn, develop, and accomplish through the certificate:

Certificate Courses

The campus certificate in the Foundations of College Instruction consists of three 3-credit hours courses:

GC 592: Foundations of College Instruction – Introduction to foundational knowledge and education research that supports effective, equity-minded college teaching, with a focus on applying this theory to disciplinary teaching contexts. During this course, students will develop a teaching statement and a lesson or session plan for a course in their discipline

GC 593: Developing Scholarly Approaches to College Teaching – Provides aspiring college instructors with inquiry-based skills to contribute to the body of pedagogical and educational knowledge, and advance their professional preparation by developing a scholarly teaching project.

GC 594: Principles and Practices in College Course Design – Explore important topics in college teaching including methods for facilitating learning and inclusive teaching while developing a syllabus for a college-level course and a teaching portfolio to document and demonstrate your teaching experience.

Certificate Learning Objectives

Students who complete the campus certificate in the Foundations of College Instruction will be able to:

  • Apply current research on learning and cognition and relevant disciplinary education research to their teaching practice.
  • Design an evidence-based course that aligns measurable learning objectives, assessments, learning activities, and course evaluation.
  • Apply equitable and inclusive teaching approaches to promote learning for all students to their course design.
  • Employ inquiry-based skills and reflective practice when justifying their own choices for teaching.
  • Develop an identity as a reflective practitioner in the college classroom.
  • Contribute to a community of peers in service of enhancing student learning and related teaching.

Certificate Products

Students who complete the campus certificate in the Foundations of College Instruction will develop materials that can be leveraged on the job market including:

  • a teaching statement
  • a scholarly teaching project that will allow them to assess the effectiveness of their teaching practice
  • an inclusive syllabus for a course in their discipline.
  • a teaching portfolio that documents their teaching experience, artifacts, and achievements.
CIRTL at UIC logo

Earn a CIRTL Certification

In addition to earning a post-baccalaureate campus certificate that will appear on your official transcript, students who complete the three courses that comprise the certificate will concomitantly earn their certification as a CIRTL Associate, which is recognized by the over 40 member institutions of the CIRTL Network.

There are also alternate pathways to obtain CIRTL Associate certification for those who begin but do not complete the campus certificate in the Foundations of College Instruction.

Lauren Woods

Lauren Woods, PhD

Associate Director for Teaching Development Pathways & CIRTL@UIC.

Dr. Lauren Woods is the Associate Director for Teaching Development Pathways & CIRTL@UIC and an Adjunct Instructor in the Graduate College. She is an experienced facilitator and teacher committed to promoting graduate student and postdoc professional development and building community for new and experienced college instructors. Dr. Woods works with campus partners to support the teaching development of UIC graduate students and postdoctoral scholars through UIC’s Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL@UIC) program. She is also the Certificate Director for the Foundations of College Instruction (FOCI) and is the primary instructor for GC 592: Foundations of College Instruction.

Michelle B. Parker-Katz

Michelle B. Parker-Katz, PhD

Clinical Professor of Special Education.

Michelle Parker-Katz is Clinical Professor in Special Education where she also coordinates the master’s programs and clinical fieldwork. She teaches masters and doctoral level courses that include supervising teacher candidates’ fieldwork in Chicago Public Schools. She is a fellow with the UIC Honors College and teaches in the UIC Foundations of College Teaching Certificate program. She is the primary instructor for GC 594: Principles and Practices in College Course Design. Before joining higher education, Dr. Parker-Katz was a general educator in three major US cities.

How to Apply

There are different application processes for the campus certificate in the Foundations of College Instruction (FOCI) for current UIC graduate students and those who are not currently UIC graduates students, which are outlined below.

Applicants who are currently students at UIC as graduate degree-seeking, or graduate non-degree, should complete a Request to Change or Add a Graduate Program Form.

  • Applicants in a degree program will add this certificate as a second, concurrent, program to their current program.
  • Applicants who are currently an unassigned non-degree student will change to this certificate.

The program code for the Campus Certificate in the Foundations of College Instruction is 20FS5531NDEG.

This form will also need to be signed by a DGS or department head and international students will also need approval by the Office of International Studies.

Once the form is completed, email it to gc_coll_instruc@listserv.uic.edu, or your current program may submit it to the Graduate College.

UIC dot in summer landscaping

Applicants who are not currently students at UIC as graduate degree-seeking, or graduate non-degree, need to complete the UIC Graduate Application to apply to the Campus Certificate in the Foundations of College Instruction (program code 20FS5531NDEG).

In addition to the application, the following need to be submitted by the deadline:

  • $70 non-refundable application fee
  • Transcripts from the baccalaureate granting institution showing the earned baccalaureate
  • International students only:
    • iBT (internet-based TOEFL): 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21,
      Or
    • IELTS 6.5, with subscores of 6.0 for all subscores,
      Or
    • PTE Academic 54, with subscores of Listening 47, Writing 56, Reading 51, and Speaking 53,
      Or
    • TOEFL PBT: 550

Current UIC Graduate Students

Current UIC graduate students may apply to the certificate any term. A completed Request to Change/Add a Graduate Program must be submitted at least two weeks before the start of the term of requested admission.

Applicants Who are NOT Currently UIC Graduate Students

New UIC students are only admitted to this campus certificate in the Fall and Spring semesters:

  • Fall Semester – July 15
  • Spring Semester – November 15

Frequently Asked Questions