SGPS 9500: The Theory and Practice of University Teaching


SGPS 9500 is a graduate level credit course on teaching and learning in higher education. The goals of the course are to deepen your understanding of foundational theory and research relevant to university teaching, and to provide an opportunity for engaging in course design and facilitating student engagement. The course begins by exploring how to devise and align learning outcomes, assessments, and active learning activities. Then, over the semester, students have the chance to develop and revise a teaching philosophy statement, receive feedback on short teaching presentations, and create a comprehensive course syllabus. In small groups, students will also develop a webpage and seminar presentation on a pedagogical topic of their choice. SGPS 9500 is an interdisciplinary course, meaning that students will engage deeply with educational theory and practice alongside instructors and peers from across academic disciplines.   


  • course and lesson design
  • writing learning outcomes
  • engaging students in active learning
  • formative and summative assessments
  • teaching philosophy statements
  • globalization of learning
  • teaching in diverse classrooms
  • ethics in teaching
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
  • research on a topic of the student’s choice


Upon completion of this course, each student will be able to:

  • find, cite and critically reflect upon research literature on contemporary issues in university teaching and learning, such as: principles of effective teaching, the globalization of education, curriculum theory, course design considerations and the forms and functions of assessment
  • develop and facilitate active learning experiencess
  • give and receive constructive peer feedback about instruction, in both written and oral formats
  • clearly communicate your teaching philosophy, a written statement guided by your beliefs, values and the disciplinary context in which you teach
  • articulate an evidence-based rationale for lesson and course-design choices.

What to expect

The course will appear on the transcripts of enrolled students with a Pass/Fail notation but will not affect the student’s academic average.

The course may count towards degree program course requirements (0.5 credits) with permission from the student’s department.

SGPS 9500 is a blended course with both in-class and online components. Each week, students can expect to spend three hours of in-class time and one hour of online learning. Additional time to complete readings and prepare assignments will also be required.

Research on the impact of SGPS 9500

Course Information

Upcoming Course

Not offered in 2021

[Previous course]: Winter 2020: Tuesdays, 1:00pm to 4:00pm (January 7th to April 7th, excluding February 18th).


Typically once per year.


Graduate students currently enrolled in the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies


Application Instructions

To apply for the course:

  1. Login to Western Connect using your Western username and password.
  2. Go to the Centre for Teaching and Learning section and select Event Calendar.
  3. Search for and select the course. Details and a description of the course will appear, including the online application form.
  4. Select the Register on Waiting List button. You will receive an automated confirmation email to your Western email account.
  5. Fill out and submit the online application form.
  6. After we receive and review your application, you will receive a registration confirmation email if you are approved for the course. 
ALL online applications are placed on a waitlist for the course until the Application Form is received and reviewed. Each year, it is common that we have more interest in the course than spaces available. Enrolment in the course is not simply determined on a first-come-first-serve basis. While it is a factor, course instructors also consider contextual factors. Decisions will be made on a rolling basis and will be finalized before the end of December.

If you have any questions about applying, please contact


Prerequisites / Recommended Preparation

This course is best suited to those with some university teaching experience and is recommended for upper-year doctoral students. The course is particularly useful to those preparing for a career in academia.

Completion Requirements

To complete the course, students must 1) commit to ongoing preparation, 2) attend and be on time for all class sessions, 3) be  thoughtful and active participants in class and online, 4) complete all three microteaching sessions and incorporate feedback, 5) complete the course design project, including a clear evidence-based rationale for course design, 6) lead classmates in an interactive learning activity, in person and online, that builds upon course themes, and 7) develop, revise and submit a teaching philosophy statement and provide peer feedback on others’ teaching philosophy statements.

Course Syllabus

Applies to following certificates

Western Certificate in University Teaching and Learning

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Testimonials from SGPS 9500 students:

“This course was fantastic – well organized, challenging, and engaging. I have learned so much that will be useful in both my teaching and academic careers.”
The course provided a very new experience … I never thought I could engage in a classroom and express my opinions like this …Also, I had lots of opportunities to apply what I learned in the course into my own teaching. Overall, it was an excellent course and I learned a lot from it.”
“The instructors did a great job adapting to our needs as grad students, without losing sight of the outcomes they had in mind at the beginning of the course. They planned each lesson and assessment carefully, and put a lot of thought into it. I appreciate their enthusiasm and leadership in guiding us to be better teachers.”
"This is one of the best designed/organized courses I have ever taken. It has motivated me to develop my teaching skills to be a better instructor.”