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Mentored Teaching Experience (MTE)


Role of Teaching in the Discipline of Biology and Biomedical Sciences

Effective communication of information and concepts is a critical skill for biomedical research scientists. While much of the teaching that scientists engage in is through one-on-one interactions with individuals in the laboratory, all scientists must be able to deliver lectures to a wide audience (from peers in the field to neophytes with a limited understanding of the nuances of the topic), and scientists in faculty positions will often teach courses to undergraduate and graduate students. Therefore, DBBS students must demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate complex ideas and concepts to groups of individuals at various levels of understanding.

Pedagogical Preparation

Prior to beginning their Mentored Teaching Experience, DBBS students will be required to complete the Graduate Student Teaching Orientation and a minimum of three 90-minute teaching workshops, each covering a different topic, offered by the Teaching Center. Individualized instruction and mentoring will be provided by the course master of the class they have been assigned to. The course master will provide feedback throughout the semester, and will complete an evaluation upon the completion of the Mentored Teaching Experience. If the course master determines that the student’s facility with essential teaching skills is unsatisfactory, the student will be counseled by the course master and the Associate Dean of Graduate Education, and will complete another Mentored Teaching Experience to attain mastery of these skills.

Sequence of Teaching Opportunities for PhD Students
Teaching experience will consist of two components: basic and advanced. In the basic component, the DBBS student will serve as a mentored Assistant in Instruction (AI) in a course designated by the Associate Dean. The mentored teaching training must incorporate at least one of the following activities: delivering lectures, leading lab demonstrations, or conducting review sessions for groups of students. (Grading exams or papers, holding office hours, one-on-one tutoring, etc., may also be components of the teaching experience, but they are not sufficient to meet the DBBS teaching training requirement.) Mentored teaching opportunities will be reviewed annually to ensure that the experience meets the requirements established in this policy. 

To complete the basic MTE, students are required to:

  • Register for LGS 600 Mentored Teaching Experience in WebSTAC.
  • Attend the University’s Orientation for the Mentored Teaching Experience.
  • Read the Graduate School's Mentored Teaching Experience Handbook (received at orientation).
  • Complete three 90-minute workshops on different topics, offered by the WUSTL Teaching Center -- The Teaching Center's Foundations in Teac​hing Workshops​​ have been designed with the MTE training requirement in mind.  
  • Meet the expectations of the course director for the MTE.
  • Complete a written self-evaluation of the MTE. 

Students who receive an unsatisfactory grade for any reason will be required to repeat MTE teaching.

One semester of basic MTE is required, but students may participate in up to a maximum of three semesters if they request additional learning experiences as an AI in an effort to enhance their professional portfolio and teaching skills. Students can earn a Teaching Citation for completing three semesters of teaching. Students should enroll in LGS 600 each semester when they are fulfilling the basic MTE requirement (amended, September 2020).

The advanced component consists of presenting ideas and concepts to groups of individuals who are not necessarily expert in the student’s particular research niche. DBBS students will satisfy this component by presenting papers at journal clubs and delivering talks at scientific meetings, conferences and retreats. The trainee’s thesis mentor will provide guidance and feedback to trainees engaged in the advanced component. (This requirement will not be satisfied by presenting one’s work at lab meetings, thesis update meetings, or at the thesis examination.)


DGSP Degree Requirements



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Created at 7/27/2011 11:05 AM by John Richards
Last modified at 9/23/2020 11:16 AM by Leslie Skaggs