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Penn Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Innovation

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The Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Innovation promotes teaching excellence and innovation at the University of Pennsylvania.

Postdocs at Penn are encouraged to take advantage of the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning & Innovation’s workshops, mini-courses and observation programs as ways to prepare themselves to be future faculty and to communicate their work more effectively in their field.

Postdocs are encouraged to work with CETLI staff on various aspects of the job market. CETLI is will assist to draft and revise job materials at any stage and to consult on interviews and preparation for presentations.

Related FAQs

Are postdocs allowed to teach?

Postdoc positions are designed to provide them with time to focus on research and scholarly activities. Teaching may or may not be an explicit component of a postdoctoral appointment. Postdocs interested in teaching experience should discuss with their mentor but it is at the discretion of the faculty mentor as to whether the postdoc position can include teaching responsibilities. Teaching outside the commitment of a full-time appointment as a postdoc is allowed. The determination of whether the teaching responsibilities fall within the boundaries of the scholar’s appointment is made by faculty mentor based on the terms and conditions of the postdoctoral appointment described in the offer letter.

If teaching is a part of the postdoc appointment, then it should be clearly outlined in the appointment letter with a description of associated training goals. This applies regardless of whether or not the teaching occurs within or outside of the postdoc lab and/or research group, department or school, even if provided within the context of a teaching program. Teaching as part of the postdoctoral appointment does not constitute grounds for payment of additional compensation.

If teaching is not part of the postdoc appointment, approval to teach in addition to the postdoc position should still be approved by the faculty mentor, as teaching responsibilities will often lead to change in the postdoc research commitments and may require prior approval by funding agencies. Depending on the length and scope of teaching effort, a reduction in the postdoctoral commitment may be required. Teaching will be approved only if the teaching opportunity appears to serve the postdoc’s career development.

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