Graduate students in the Department of Germanic Studies enter the job market with a solid basis in current pedagogical theory and practice as well as a range of teaching experiences in a variety of classroom settings. Teaching in the undergraduate language program is an integral part of the graduate program.

Brigitte Riesebrodt, “Landschaft” (2018), oil and wax on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
Brigitte Riesebrodt, “Landschaft” (2018), oil and wax on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.


Before they begin teaching, graduate students participate in a graduate seminar on pedagogy, titled “Language Pedagogy for the Contemporary Classroom” (CCTE 50100). This course is an introduction to foreign language acquisition and to the theoretical models underlying current methods, approaches and classroom practices. Syllabus and test design and lesson planning are also treated. All participants complete two days of observation and two days of supervised teaching in a first-year class.

 Graduate students receive additional training and support at the Department’s annual teaching orientation, which all graduate students teaching in a given academic year must attend. This orientation addresses specific course objectives and practices, as well as general procedural and pedagogical issues. First-time instructors are also required to attend the Chicago Center for Teaching orientation for the College, Teaching@Chicago.

 Throughout their time in the program, graduate students continue to develop their pedagogical expertise and approach by attending the workshops and seminars offered by the Chicago Center for Teaching and the Chicago Language Center.

Department Teaching Opportunities

Graduate students have the opportunity to teach at all levels of the German language program. Supported by the Director of the Language Program, graduate students have full responsibility for the courses they teach, including syllabus design, day-to-day instruction, test design, grading and all other record keeping. In addition to teaching in the language program, students can apply to be Course Assistants in faculty-led undergraduate seminars in the Department. Through the Languages Across the Curriculum program, graduate students may also lead German-language discussion sections for courses in other departments. For more information on graduate student teaching requirements and opportunities, please see our departmental Pedagogical Training Plan

Each year, one graduate student is selected to work as an on-site instructor in our study-abroad program in Vienna. The preparation of students for study-abroad and their reintegration into the curriculum is an ongoing process in which graduate students, in their roles as instructors, are deeply involved.

Input from the graduate students is critical to the ongoing implementation and revision of the curriculum. Internal grant monies have been made available to support graduate student involvement in the development of the intensive German sequence, a new cultural curriculum for the first-year German sequence, and other curricular innovations.

University Teaching Opportunities and Resources

Chicago Center for Teaching:
Many of our students work closely with the Chicago Center for Teaching (CCT), as Teaching Consultants and/or Teaching Fellows. These programs are designed for students with a demonstrated commitment to teaching and interest in how people learn. Consultants and Fellows help advance teaching and learning across the University while continuing their own professional and pedagogical development.

 The CCT also facilitates a wide variety of events, seminars, and workshops throughout the academic year, on topics such as course design, inclusive pedagogy, and teaching portfolios.

 Chicago Language Center:

The University of Chicago Language Center (CLC) is a hub of professional development and services for the hundreds of instructors and graduate students that teach the 60+ languages spread across various departments within the university. Each quarter, the CLC offers a diverse array of workshops and other programs designed to support these instructors.

 Languages Across the Curriculum:

The Languages Across the Curriculum (LxC) Program is a College initiative coupling additional language-focused sessions with courses at the undergraduate level across the disciplines. As Teaching Assistants in this program, graduate students gain valuable teaching experience in fields beyond Germanic Studies. Most recently, graduate students in our department have taught LxC sections in philosophy and history.

 Online Pedagogy Assistants:

In Autumn 2020, the Humanities Division began hiring Online Pedagogy Assistants (OPAs). OPAs are graduate students in the Humanities Division, exclusively supporting HD/HCD faculty and instructors in their online and hybrid instruction through hour-long one-on-one consultations.

 Teaching Awards:

Several graduate students in Germanic Studies have received the Wayne C. Booth Graduate Student Prize for Excellence in Teaching. This award is based on student nominations, and honors graduate students who have taught in a formal capacity in the College for at least two quarters. The award parallels the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, which recognize distinguished teachers on the faculty.