GS 699 Practicum in College Teaching

The Practicum in College Teaching and Learning is designed to provide qualified graduate students with an opportunity to develop as university teachers, to gain teaching experience, and to document their teaching and professional growth through a mentored program which fosters reflection, self-evaluation, assessment and revision. The practicum experience is offered as a 3-credit hour course (GS 699 Practicum in College Teaching) which includes the mentored teaching experience and development of a professional teaching portfolio. The Practicum is offered through collaboration between the University of Kentucky and collaborating institutions. A practicum may be carried out as a TA or PTI assignment, provided that the participant has full responsibility for the course.


To help graduate students/postdoctoral scholars/faculty to:

  • develop their teaching skills through full responsibility for an entire college course,
  • reflect, with input from a faculty mentor, on appropriate strategies to help students learn effectively,
  • evaluate their own teaching effectiveness and creatively revise their approaches for improvement, and
  • document their development as teacher-scholars through preparation of a well-designed teaching portfolio.

Practicum participants are expected to apply the knowledge and skills gained in their discipline and in their Graduate Certificate in College Teaching and Learning courses. These include:

  • using instructional strategies, materials, and experiences that foster high-level student learning at a level appropriate to course goals and students.
  • using formative and summative feedback from students, peers, and mentors to continually assess and refine their practice.
  • using appropriate assessment tools to monitor and document student learning .
  • applying knowledge of student learning, development, and diversity to instruction.

Practicum participants are expected to meet all instructional, professional, and ethical standards and faculty expectations for their collaborating institution.

As a result of the practicum, participants are expected to enhance their teaching knowledge and skills, refine their philosophy of teaching, enhance their skills as a reflective practitioner, enhance their understandings of the structure and functioning of institutions of higher education, and participate, as appropriate, in the broader life of the institution.


The graduate student/postdoctoral scholar/faculty member must:

  • have full responsibility for the course (course design, instructional activities, assessment, evaluation, assignment of grades) for a complete course term (semester, quarter, or other session) .
  • engage in formative and summative assessment activities including:
    • structured mid-term and end-of-term student feedback
    • structured observations by and debriefings with mentor faculty member .
  • develop and submit an acceptable professional teaching portfolio.

Grades for GS 699 will be developed in consultation with the mentor faculty and with the practicum student. Final responsibility for grade assignment resides in the practicum's university supervisor. No credit will be awarded for GS 699 until an acceptable teaching portfolio covering the teaching experience has been submitted. (Note: Because of differing schedules across academic institutions, this may mean that grades of incomplete will be temporarily assigned until participants have completed all teaching assignments at their collaborating institution.)

When permission to enroll in GS 699 is granted (see Prerequisites below) , participating graduate students will be asked to work with their university supervisor to identify an appropriate mentor at the host institution. The mentor and practicum participant will develop and sign a mentoring contract documenting expectations. The university supervisor and appropriate academic office at the collaborating institution will sign off on the final contracts.

Financial Arrangements


Participants are responsible for ensuring that their tuition for GS 699 is covered. If you are not sure if your tuition for GS 699 will be covered by your TA or RA position, scholarship, fellowship, university employee benefits, or other source, check with your advisor and/or the Graduate School for options.

Support from Collaborating Institutions

In general, practicum participants are paid as adjunct instructors at the normal adjunct rate for the institution where they are completing their practicum. Many other arrangements are possible, however. It is the participant's responsibility to ensure that financial arrangements are clear and agreed upon by the institution before the practicum begins.

Financial arrangements for the practicum are the responsibility of the practicum participant and the collaborating institution. It is the student's/postdoctoral scholar's responsibility to ensure that support from the practicum does not conflict with any financial support from the University of Kentucky or other concerned agency.


Prequisites for admission to the Practicum include:

  • submission of the Practicum in College Teaching (GS699) Application for Admission [PDF]
  • successful completion of at least 18 hours of graduate credit in the appropriate discipline (i.e., meets SACS guidelines)
  • acceptance into Graduate Certificate in College Teaching and Learning
  • successful completion of EPE 672
  • successful completion of GS 610 or departmental equivalent
  • successful completion of GS 650
  • international students/postdoctoral scholars/faculty must have achieved Level I proficiency on UK 's ITA Language Screening. Graduate Students must be certified as eligible for Curriculum Practical Training.
  • permission of instructor. Permission will be considered following receipt of completed Practicum Application form and all ancillary materials, including appropriate letters of recommendation.
  • availability of appropriate practicum position.
  • agreement of faculty mentor and submission of Practicum in College Teaching (GS 699) Mentoring Contract [PDF]

International students who wish to do an off-campus practicum must receive approval from Immigration before applying for their mentored teaching experience. This approval is documented through the Practicum in College Teaching (GS699) Approval for International Graduate Students [PDF]

Graduate Student Responsibilities

The Practicum is a mentored teaching experience that not only immerses the graduate student in teaching but also fosters reflection on the experience, provides structured feedback and plans for improvement, and guides students in developing a teaching portfolio. The practicum requires that the graduate student assume full responsibility for a course, under the guidance of a mentor teacher. Supervision for the practicum experience is a joint responsibility of the Graduate Certificate in College Teaching and Learning, Certificate faculty, and the student's mentor. The practicum is distinct from many mentored Teaching Assistant experiences because the student must have full responsibility for the course, including syllabus and materials development, assessment, instructional responsibilities, and grade assignments. Credit will not be assigned until the graduate student has submitted an acceptable teaching portfolio that includes the practicum experience.

It is the responsibility of practicum students to ensure that they complete all professional responsibilities at their collaborating institution, including:

  • adhering to institutional policies and procedures
  • fulfilling all instructional responsibilities with a high degree of professionalism
  • following accepted guidelines and professional standards in their communications and relationships with students, faculty, administrators, and others
  • becoming familiar with institutional goals and culture
  • meeting deadlines
  • taking initiative to seek feedback and support from mentors, other faculty, and the university supervisor
  • keeping mentors and their university supervisor aware of any issues that arise as part of their assignment
  • communicating with mentor and with university supervisor and ensuring that observations and other feedback mechanisms take place
  • reflecting on data, student, and mentor feedback and making adjustments as appropriate
  • completing and submitting a professional teaching portfolio which includes the practicum experience
  • conducting one or more service activities as appropriate to fulfilling professional responsibilities. These might include: guest lecture(s) in another faculty member's course; a workshop on graduate school for undergraduate students; presenting a seminar on research or on an instructional strategy/approach/technology, or other activities appropriate to the institution and to the practicum.

Mentor Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the mentor faculty member to:

  • if the practicum student is new to the host institution, provide the practicum student with an appropriate orientation to the institution, course, and students
  • conduct observations and provide feedback as delineated in the mentoring contract
  • provide a written evaluation (in the form of a concise narrative) of the practicum student's performance 
  • ensure that course evaluation takes place, if eligible and appropriate 
  • consult with the university supervisor (GCCTL administrative director or faculty director) in assigning a grade for the practicum student

In addition, we hope that the mentor will serve as a potential professional reference for the practicum student.

University Supervisor Responsibilities

The GCCTL Administrative Director of the Faculty Director will serve as the university supervisor. It is the responsibility of the university supervisor to:

  • assist participants in locating appropriate practicum experience
  • work with mentors and participants in ensuring that practicum expectations are spelled out and agreed upon by all parties
  • work with practicum participants and mentors to ensure that the practicum experience goes as smoothly as possible
  • work with practicum students to ensure a strong professional teaching portfolio on the practicum experience
  • in consultation with the mentor and practicum student, assign a final grade upon completion of all course requirements

For more information, contact Dr. Morris Grubbs at or (859) 257-9725.