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Higher Education and Teaching

The Higher Education and Teaching Pathway will provide opportunities for PhD Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Affiliates to enhance and develop their skills to more effectively teach science in the classroom, whether that classroom is at a research-intensive institute (R1) or a primarily undergraduate institute (PUI). At R1s, cutting-edge research is the name of the game, and investigators work to obtain funding to conduct research, with teaching considered a secondary duty of the faculty. PUIs may still conduct research with undergraduate students and obtain funding to support those research efforts, but a greater emphasis is placed on teaching. PUIs that you might be familiar with would be small liberal arts colleges, small regional universities, and community colleges. Although all these careers are considered academia, expectations regarding responsibilities – teaching, research and service – at each academic organization will be quite different, and the faculty hiring process will reflect those differences. Ideally, during your graduate and postdoctoral training, you should develop a teaching trajectory that would best align with the institution(s) at which you are most interested in establishing a position (ref 1).

The URBEST Pathway will help to provide resources, skills and partnerships for each trainee to become proficient at sharing their research and knowledge of science in an educational setting in whatever arena they choose. Pathways within higher education do not only include opportunities for tenure-track professor positions, but also non-tenure track teaching-focused positions. Other teaching venues besides R1s and PUIs include K-12 education, museums and zoos. The Teaching Pathway will provide foundational skills and experiences for trainees interested in more effectively teaching their science and/or exploring careers in education. The pathway is directed by Dr. Kyle Trenshaw, Educational Development Specialist for Natural Sciences & Engineering.

Explore the Teaching Pathway

Teaching Science at the UR

If you are a new to teaching or would like to fine-tune your teaching skills, you may be interested in workshops led by the CETL. You are also welcome to make use of CETL’s individualized consultation services and online teaching resources. Places to start are CETL’s primers for classroom TAslaboratory TAs, and instructors.

Intern at the Life Sciences Learning Center (LSLC)

LSLC interns teach in Outreach Programs: either LSLC On The Road (at local middle/high schools) or LSLC Field Trips (at the LSLC teaching labs). The goals for interns are to develop teaching skills though in-class teaching opportunities with diverse student groups, to communicate science concepts in a way that middle school students will understand, and to hone classroom management skills. To learn more about internship opportunities at the LSLC, contact Dina Markowitz.

Teaching Opportunities Outside the UR

For opportunities outside UR, educate yourself on the number of higher education institutions within the Rochester Area Colleges consortium, including Alfred State College, Alfred University, Corning Community College, Empire State College, Finger Lakes Community College, Genesee Community College, Hobart and William Smith College, Houghton College, Keuka College, Monroe Community College, Nazareth College, Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College. St. Bonaventure University, SUNY College at Brockport, SUNY College at Geneseo and Wells College. 

Contact local colleges or your alma mater and offer to present a seminar of your research, and then make the time to do it. 

There is never a good time in your schedule to do this, but the practice is invaluable and most colleges would be happy to have a free seminar speaker. While there, show them your CV, teaching philosophy, and research interests. Ask for constructive criticism and suggestions for your job search (ref 2).

Complete the Foundations in Teaching Program or the Advanced Teaching Program offered by UR’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).

Graduate students and postdoctoral affiliates who complete the requirements for either (or both) will receive a notation on their transcript recognizing completion of the particular teaching program. All participants will receive a certificate of completion upon meeting the requirements for the different programs. Program details can be found at the University of Rochester Graduate Education Career Development website. There are no deadlines; you can apply throughout the year.

Volunteer at the Rochester Museum & Science Center.

Volunteers are essential to the success of the Rochester Museum & Science Center. The involvement of hundreds of talented, committed individuals greatly extends the range, quality, and variety of our visitor’s experiences. RMSC volunteers are guided by the principles of engagement, innovation, passion, and excellence. Volunteers place a focus on the visitor, create a welcoming environment, and help make the connection between exhibit content and the world around us.

Attend a Future Faculty Enrichment Workshop sponsored by the Provost and Office of Faculty Development and Diversity.

The series of workshops is designed to provide doctoral students and post-docs interested in a faculty career with valuable information and insights about aspects of a faculty role that are not part of the traditional curriculum, including such issues as teaching, mentoring students, and diversity. For more information contact


(1)   Careers in Virology: Teaching at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution, David B Kushner, J. Virol. 2014 Oct; 88(19): 11004- 11006

(2)   How to Get a Teaching Job at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution, Malcolm Campbell, Omar Quintero, and Jennifer Frederick, American Society for Cell Biology.