Graduate Studies

Graduate Student Teaching

Most graduate students in the department serve as Teaching Assistants after their first full year of study (beginning of third semester). The department places great emphasis on preparing its graduate students to become excellent classroom teachers. Before assuming teaching responsibilities, graduate students take the Seminar in Instruction as part of the first-year curriculum. This course focuses on the processes of teaching and learning history at the undergraduate level, using survey courses in general and Global Histories at Carnegie Mellon in particular, as the principal windows on these processes. Students examine the design of survey courses, the construction of course syllabi, pedagogical approaches, design of lectures, discussion section leadership, writing exercises, examination preparation, and grading criteria.

In the Seminar in Instruction and throughout their tenure as Teaching Assistants, graduate students receive strong support from Carnegie Mellon's Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and from the Department of History's senior faculty.

The department recognizes excellence in teaching by selecting one graduate student each year to receive the Goldman Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching. The award, which is made possible by the parents of a former undergraduate whose educational experience was transformed by the mentoring of several Teaching Assistants in History, carries a $1,000 prize, and is presented at Commencement. The names of Goldman Award recipients are engraved on a plaque that hangs permanently in the main office of the department.