Explore College Teaching Track

This track is solely for graduate students trying to earn the Explore College Teaching Certificate. It is designed as a shorter track, allowing graduate students to complete it in 6 months to a year, before they graduate from university. This certificate is awarded by earning 5 engage level badges (4 required badges and 1 badge of choice). Participants in Explore can expect to develop a foundation for understanding college teaching and identify resources available to instructors at USU.

Why participate in Explore?

Many graduate students use their time in their program to explore if they want to become college instructors and what skills are required to be an effective instructor. The Explore College Teaching track was designed to give graduate students their first steps into college teaching. All graduate students, not just graduate student instructors, are invited to participate in the Explore College Teaching track. This track focuses on skills such as student engagement, assessments, University resources, and foundational pedagogy. Beyond becoming a more capable and effective instructor, completing this track, and earning the Explore College Teaching Certificate provides recognition for your efforts and can be added to your Curriculum Vitae (CV) as an additional training/award.

Participating in ETE10 on the Explore College Teaching track will fulfill the following objectives: 


  What are graduate students saying about Explore?

My work with ETE10 has set me apart from other applicants when landing a job after earning my degree. They were impressed with the work I'd done with ETE and I've been able to bring a unique perspective due to what I'd learned.

Jocelyn Cuthbert, PhD - Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences Department

ETE is the core of my professional development as a graduate student instructor. The ETE10 program has exposed me to so many opportunities and resources I was not aware existed and normally would not have had.

Zack Gibson, Physics Department

Prior to engaging with ETE, the knowledge I had about being an instructor was limited to the experiences I had as a student. I lacked the knowledge, experience, and community necessary to be an effective teacher. Luckily, ETE provided me with the knowledge, tools and community necessary to become a successful instructor.

Mike Vakula, PhD Student, Department of Kinesiology and Health Science

Required badges for explore track 

Ready to get started? 


Step up a "Plan Your Pathway" meeting with ETE

In your Plan Your Pathway (PYP) meeting, an ETE staff member will introduce you to the Empower Teaching Canvas course, where you earn your digital badges. They will discuss your specific personal and professional goals with you and suggest the best strategy for completing the Explore College Teaching Certificate in a timely manner. To set up your PYP, please send an email to empowerteaching@usu.edu indicating that you want to have a PYP.

Enroll in Empower Teaching Canvas Course

Empower Teaching is the Canvas course where you submit to earn badges necessary for the Explore College Teaching Certificate. To access Empower Teaching, you need to join the course by clicking here.

Participate in the required badges

There are four required badges for the Explore College Teaching track:
  1. Explore Course (Engage):
    Description: The Explore course is a five-module Canvas course that presents you with the foundations of college teaching. During this course, you are required to watch 5 videos that range in length from 7-15 minutes each. After watching the video, you answer three short questions about what you learned. 
    Time to complete: <3 hours
    When to register: You can start the Explore course anytime without previous registration. 
  2. Plan Teaching Excellence Pathway (Engage)
    Description: In the Plan Your Pathway (PYP) meeting, you meet one-on-one with an ETE staff member to answer your questions about ETE and the Explore College Teaching Certificate. During this meeting, you'll learn about ETE and the Explore College Teaching track and discuss how ETE can best help you accomplish your personal and professional goals related to college teaching. 
    Time to complete: 1 hour
    When to register: You can set up a PYP meeting at any time, by emailing empowerteaching@usu.edu 
  3. ETE Conference - 1st (Engage)
    Description: Every year, ETE holds a conference where you can learn more about current scholarship and trends in teaching and learning. The ETE conference also provides a great opportunity for networking with other instructors. 
    Time to complete: 1 day 
    When to register: Registration usually opens in July for the conference, which is held every August. Check out the ETE Conference website for the most up-to-date information on when and how to register. 
  4. ETE Learning Circle - Explore College Teaching (Engage)
    Description: Every semester, ETE runs a number of learning circles, where 8-12 instructors get together to discuss a book related to pedagogy or college teaching.  Some learning circles are specifically designed for Explore track participants. You can expect to meet with your learning circle 4-5 times during the semester. 
    Time to complete: 1 semester (4-5 meetings)
    When to register: Registration usually opens 2-3 weeks before the start of each semester and the summer.  Check out the learning cirlce website to find out what circles are coming up and to sign up. 
To earn the Explore College Teaching Certificate, you must also earn one other engage badge of your choice. There are over 180 digital badges currently available through ETE. During your PYP meeting, you can talk about which additional badge might best fit your personal and professional goals. Feel free to email empowerteaching@usu.edu for guidance or advice about which badge might work best for you.

Submit badge assignment to Empower Teaching

After you have engaged in the content of a badge (for example, once you have completed the Explore course), you should submit the badge assignment in Empower Teaching. To submit a badge, navigate to the "Submit a Badge" page in Empower Teaching and click on "Start Assignment" at the top right of the screen. To earn the badge, you will have to fulfill all the "Criteria" outlined for that badge. Reflection prompts for the Digital-Age Teaching track can be found in each badge.

Track your progress in Pathways

After you submit a badge to Empower Teaching, an ETE staff member will read through your reflection and either award you the badge or ask for additional information. If additional information is needed, the ETE staff member will indicate what information to add in a submission comment and ask you to re-submit the assignment. Once you have been awarded the badge, you can track which badges you've earned and which badges you still need using the "Badges" tab in the Empower Teaching course.

Are you a Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC)?

One of the most important roles of the Center for ETE at the University is to provide instructor training, free of charge, to our graduate student instructors. We have found the best way to keep in contact with graduate students in each department is to keep each graduate program coordinator up-to-date. For more information on the Explore College Teaching track or on what services ETE provides for graduate students, please reach out to empowerteaching@usu.edu

Still have questions?

Email us at empowerteaching@usu.edu