Many of our graduate students and postdocs serve the UMass community in the classroom and in the laboratory, as teaching assistants and solo instructors. In addition to supporting those teaching right now, OPD also helps prepare graduate students and postdocs for careers as teachers.

Our inaugural Teaching Academy launched in August! You can still check out nine pedagogical videos, view our resource page, and join our online Teaching Academy Community!

Manuela Borzone, PhD student in Comparative Literature

Whether geared toward classroom management, interpersonal communication with students, or streamlining class preparation and grading, the teaching workshops helped me further develop my teaching skills as a graduate instructor and discussion leader. As a result, I feel more confident in my ability to deliver quality instruction to our undergraduates.

Manuela Borzone (PhD student, Comparative Literature)

Upcoming Events


Rethinking Grades

Jan 7, 2021 | 4:00pm - 5:30pm | Online with OPD!

Grading can sometimes feel like we are policing our students: checking for compliance and punishing them for failure. What would it look like to have a grading policy that actually encouraged learning and growth? This workshop will be in two parts: In part 1 (4:00-4:45pm), we will consider how we might re-envision the role of grading in our classrooms, introducing theories from abolitionist thinking and disability justice. In part 2 (4:45-5:30pm), you can continue the conversation and workshop course ideas/materials in breakout rooms! Plan to come for part 1 and we hope you can stay for part 2! 


Teaching Online: What We Learned from Fall 2020

Jan 22, 2021 | 11:30am - 12:30pm | Online with OPD!

Many of us learned that teaching online during a pandemic is not the same as teaching online! In this workshop, we will discuss best practices that worked (and did not work) in the fall semester, based on a survey of UMass graduate instructors, so that we can have a successful spring! 


Five Things You Should Do on the First Day of Class

Jan 28, 2021 | 11:00am - 12:00pm | Online with OPD!

You never get a second chance to make a first impression! In fact, studies show that students’ ultimate opinions of a course are often formed on the first day. So how can you use that time to your advantage and set the right tone for the rest of the semester? (You weren't just going to read the syllabus to them, were you?) In this workshop, we will discuss five things that should be part of your first day lesson plans, whether you are getting ready for the first class or your first discussion section. 


Additional Resources

  • For a complete list of resources at UMass and beyond, visit our Teaching Academy Resources page
  • As part of the Teaching Academy, we created a series of short videos to support graduate students and postdocs dedicated to improving their teaching skills. Designed to support instructors at all levels, there is something for everyone!
  • The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) organizes a variety of events and often partners with OPD on programming to jointly serve faculty, postdoc, and graduate student instructors. Their website also offers additional teaching resources.
  • The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) helps STEM graduate students and postdocs across the country strategically position themselves for careers in college and university teaching through a series of comprehensive on-line workshops and optional evidence-based teaching projects. The UMass CIRTL chapter also leads in-person workshops for the UMass campus.
  • The Instructional Innovation office offers year-round workshops to help faculty, postdoc, and graduate student instructors better use technology, such as Moodle and Echo360, in the classroom.
  • There are many online pedagogical resources that will inspire instructors with best-practices for learning. For example, Faculty Focus regular publishes short articles on effective teaching strategies for the college classroom and The Chronicle of Higher Education has an advice section that also often publishes on pedagogy and teaching as a career.


Contact us for more information on OPD’s Teaching workshops and assistance.

OPD Workshop participants