Teaching at MIT

Teaching is central to MIT’s educational mission. Serving as a teaching assistant (TA) provides graduate students a wealth of opportunities to develop their skills. A printable brochure on TA Rights, Responsibilities and Rewards is available.

School and/or departmental TA training and evaluation

At the beginning of the academic year and (for some) during IAP, schools and departments organize orientation workshops for new graduate teaching assistants. Students are informed of required sessions by their departments.

The Office of Faculty Support is currently implementing an online evaluation system for courses, instructors, and TAs across the Institute. There are standard evaluation items included on the form for which students will be asked to rate the quality of teaching on a 7-point scale. On occasion, individual departments may add or substitute evaluation items, but this document may be used to inform your approach to teaching both inside and out of the classroom.

Teaching and Learning Laboratory (TLL)

The Teaching and Learning Laboratory (TLL) collaborates with faculty, teaching assistants, and students to promote excellence in teaching and learning throughout the Institute. TLL offers courses, programs, and reference materials related to teaching and learning that graduate students may find useful.

Graduate students may also borrow from TLL’s collection of books, journals, and pamphlets on teaching and learning, and may view DVDs on teaching. See a list of these materials. Online and hard copies are also available for the following MIT publications:

The Goodwin Medal

Each year, MIT awards the Goodwin Medal to a graduate TA or Instructor (G) who has performed above and beyond the norm, and whose teaching efforts can truly be characterized as “conspicuously effective.” This award was established in memory of Harry Manley Goodwin, the first dean of the graduate school at MIT, through a gift from his widow, Mary B. Goodwin, and son, Richard H. Goodwin.

Eligibility

The award will be presented to a graduate student teacher who has established a place of distinction in teaching in the opinion of his or her colleagues, students, and faculty. The nominee should be a current graduate student who is primarily at MIT (if involved in a joint program with another university). Co-teachers may be nominated jointly, but the specific contributions of each individual must be detailed (please see below).

Description

The award consists of an engraved bronze medal, designed by Katharine Lane Weems, and a cash gift of $2,500.

Nominations/deadlines

Any member of the faculty or any organized student group (through one of its responsible officers) may submit a nomination. These nominations should be sent to the candidate’s department head. Department heads must submit their final nominations (one allowed per department) to the Scott Tirrell, Manager of Graduate Fellowships, Office of the Dean for Graduate Education, during the MIT Awards Convocation nomination period: February 4, 2014 through March 14, 2014. All department nominations must be received by 5pm on Friday, March 14, 2014.

Nominations must include:

  • Nomination letter from the department head
  • Candidate’s curriculum vitae
  • A summary of the candidate’s specific teaching responsibilities
  • Most important, letters from colleagues, students, and faculty to justify the characterization of the candidate’s teaching as “conspicuously effective.” Letters may be addressed to the Dean for Graduate Education. A strong nomination includes at least one letter from students; one from colleagues; and one from faculty, although there is no limit on the number of letters.

Please send nomination packets as single, consolidated DF files to Scott Tirrell, stirrell@mit.edu.

Selection

Selection of the winner will be made by a committee consisting of former Goodwin Medalists and other outstanding teachers who are currently on the MIT faculty. The selection committee is chaired by the Dean for Graduate Education.

The announcement of the winner will be made at the Awards Convocation on May 8, 2014.