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Cornell University

Cornell Teaching Partnership Program

The Partnership Program fosters conversations about teaching and learning by pairing a new faculty member with a tenured faculty member who is widely respected for both teaching and scholarship. Partners meet periodically throughout the year to engage in conversations about teaching, participate in classroom observations, and foster a more stimulating and satisfying teaching experience.

Since its inception in 2010, the Partnership Program has nutured mentoring relationships between senior and junior faculty. Participants report enjoying the opportunity to talk about teaching with someone outside their department, but with shared teaching challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the Partnership Program for?

The program is designed for assistant professors in their first 2 years of teaching, but is open to any junior faculty member. This program will match you with an experienced, outstanding professor who will serve as your own personal advisor about teaching issues. If you are like most professors, you had little training in how to be a great teacher before arriving at Cornell, yet you are now expected to do a wonderful job. This is a big challenge, and everyone could use a little help in getting started. The Partnership Program is designed to help you meet this challenge.

How am I paired with someone?

All pairings are tailored to provide a fruitful match of interests and pedagogical challenges. Your partner will not be located in your department, but in an adjacent department with shared interests and teaching styles. As such, your mentor can assist you in a completely confidential manner. She or he will focus on giving you advice and encouragement, and not on providing teaching evaluations to your department for promotion decisions. Your teaching partner will supplement, not supplant, your own departmental mentor.

How much time will I need to commit to this?

This is up to you and your partner. Partners typically meet for a few hours over the course of the year to discuss teaching and to sit-in on each other’s classes. You and your partner determine the length, frequency, and topics of the meetings. The typical time commitment is less than ten hours for the year.

What do partners typically do?

This program will match you with an experienced, outstanding professor who will serve as your own personal advisor about teaching issues. You can meet with him or her as informally as you wish, with the primary goal of learning the tips and tricks of the trade of excellent teaching. You can discuss any issues that come up with regard to teaching styles, enhancing active learning in the classroom, developing new courses, proper assessment tools, and the balance between teaching, research, and life. Your teaching partner will visit your classroom (and you may visit hers or his as well), and discuss ways to make the classroom an exciting place with active and engaged students.

How long is the Partnership Program?

The Partnership Program lasts approximately one year. However, partners can continue to meet if they choose.

How do I arrange for a partnership as a junior member? As a senior member?

Click here to request a mentor

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