Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research

Principles of Effective Teaching Certificate


The Principles of Effective Teaching Certificate represents an opportunity for faculty to engage in and develop substantive knowledge and skills. The program provides a learning community and support structure within which faculty can become better teachers. Participants will work with CIDER staff, faculty members, and instructional experts from across the university. The program is a two semester committment for participating faculty members.

The Principles of Effective Teaching Certificate program is designed to increase faculty members' instructional effectiveness, instructional efficiency, and learner-centered pedagogy. Participants will develop the knowlege and skills necessary to design and implement effective learner-centered instruction - purposefully. Participants are welcome from all departments and colleges. Ultimately, this certificate is designed to be immediately useful and to provide faculty with the tools necessary to teach well.

Program Goals

The Principles of Effective Teaching Certificate program is designed to provide Virginia Tech faculty members with the opportunity to develop their pedagogical knowledge and skills.
Faculty will purposefully and proactively:

  • design effective learner-centered instruction that emphasizes core curricular ideas and focuses on student learning. (PLANNING)
  • apply fundamental learning principles toward the creation of learner-centered instructional environments. (LEARNING)
  • integrate assessment into instruction, viewing assessment as both a component of student learning and a component of what students have learned. (ASSESSMENT)
  • respect the institutional and cultural contexts within which college teaching occurs. (CONTEXT)
  • implement instruction that is focused on and fosters student learning. (TEACHING)

Participation Benefits

Participants in the Principles of Effective Teaching Certificate program can expect several benefits, including:

  • Development of integrated knowledge related to teaching, learning, motivation, assessment, instructional strategies, instructional technologies, instructional design, and classroom management.
  • Development of teaching skills, including using instructional strategies (e.g., discussion, group work, lecturing, problem-based learning, case-based learning, writing), teaching large and small classes, and applying classroom management.
  • Development of instructional design skills, including conducting a needs assessment, and engaging in course design, lesson design, and assignment design.
  • Development of assessment strategies, including formative and summative assessments, and authentic and traditional assessments.
  • Development of skills in reaching all students, including universal design and inclusive pedagogy.
  • Development of confidence in creating and implementing effective instruction.

In addition, participants will receive a certificate of successful completion, indicating their growth in knowledge and skills related to learner-centered pedagogy.

Participation Requirements

Participants in the Principles of Effective Teaching Certificate program must meet each of the following requirements:

  • Participants may be from any department, unit, or college at Virginia Tech.
  • Participants must be teaching fall and/or spring during the program participation.
  • Participants can miss no more than one program session per semester.
  • Participants must engage in required class peer and formative observations.
  • Participants must be interested in refining their teaching, reflecting on teaching and learning processes, and actively supporting other teachers at Virginia Tech.

Certificate Schedule

The Principles of Effective Teaching Certificate program will consist of one cohort. Meetings will be held on select Fridays (see schedule below) from 10 am - noon.

The following schedule provides a general overview of the topics that will be covered during the program, but it is subject to change based on cohort needs.

Fall Semester Meeting Dates

Date Topic

September 29


Introductions and Program Overview


October 6


General Learning Principles


October 13



Course Design
-Learning Outcomes


October 20



Course Design
-Aligning Assessment and Outcomes
-Grading and Feedback


November 3



Course Design
-Aligning Topics and Outcomes


November 17



Strategies and Methods
-Planning Individual Lessons


December 1



Strategies and Methods
-Learning Pauses
-Active Learning

*Peer observations due

Spring Semester Meeting Dates



January 26

Welcome Back
Open Discussion of Spring Semester Concerns


February 9

Strategies and Methods
-Overview of High Impact Practices


February 23

Classroom Environment and Student Development
-Classroom Management Techniques
-Handling Sensitive Topics in the Classroom


March 16

Classroom Environment and Student Development
-Classroom Presence


March 30

Classroom Environment and Student Development


April 13

Classroom Environment and Student Development
-Building Problem-Solving and Teamwork Skills


April 20

Program Wrap-up
Review Course Designs/Redesigns

*Peer observations due

*Course Design/Redesign due


April 26

Cohort Graduation Ceremony
4:00-6:00 pm


Application Procedure

Applicants for the Principles of Effective Teaching Certificate program must complete the online application process, which includes the following:

  1. Applicant's name, department, phone, email
  2. A description of your (a) teaching experience, (b) teaching approach, and (c) personal goals.
    1. Brief description of your teaching experience (e.g., courses taught) and teacher training experience (e.g., workshops, courses, Preparing Future Faculty participation).
    2. Brief description of your teaching approach (e.g., if someone came to watch you teach, what would they see?)
    3. Brief explanation of your personal goals for participating in the program.


    Application Due Date: September 18, 2017
    Participants Notified: September 20, 2017

The online application for the 2017-18 program is now closed.


If you have questions, please contact Danielle Lusk, CIDER Associate Director for Professional Development.