The Certificate in College Teaching (CCT) and Why I Chose Duke

 March 4, 2014

As a second year in the Ph.D. program in the Duke Department of Statistical Science, meeting prospective Ph.D. students is one of the enjoyable events of the Spring semester. Each week, faced with the quintessential question “why did you choose Duke?”, I emphasize the ability to personalize the program to individual research interests and career goals. Because I entered Duke with the intent to become a faculty member upon graduation, part of this career training is available in the form of the Certificate in College Teaching (CCT). The CCT allows me to incorporate training and coursework into my Ph.D. program specifically preparing me for that goal. It also provides a way to document and organize these steps as I prepare myself for the teaching aspects of a career in academia.

Students only need to take two CCT classes to complete the program, and here, too, there is a chance to personalize. During my first year at Duke, I took a CCT class specifically designed to train students in methods in statistics education. I met with other students interested in my field to discuss practical tips for teaching statistics classes which I then implemented into my work as a TA. In my current CCT course, I am exploring the practice of online education and the steps necessary to create and facilitate an online course. Our small but diverse class meets with current faculty members involved in the practice to discuss their experiences and expertise as each student develops his or her own online course. Part of the appeal in these courses is the ability to work with students and faculty outside of my discipline who are excited about teaching. While researching, it’s easy to live strictly within in the bubble of your work and your very specific field. It’s incredibly refreshing to talk to students in music, engineering, or languages, each of whom has a different perspective on education that they are excited to share. Now, as I prepare to teach my own course this summer, I have the diversity of these approaches and experiences to incorporate into my own style. The CCT has strengthened my network of people and resources, and I am tremendously excited to put it all to use in the classroom.

Nicole Dalzell is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Statistical Science.