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Principles of Effective Teaching Certificate Program

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 the center's staff, faculty members, and instructional experts from across the university. The program is a two semester committment for participating faculty members.

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.


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 must attend 80% of program sessions.
  • 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.



The Principles of Effective Teaching Certificate program will consist of one cohort. During the fall semester, most of the instructional content of the program will occur on Fridays (see schedule) from 10:00 - Noon.  During the spring semester, three meetings will be held and participants will engage in observations. Please note that for the 2021-22 academic year, participants will have their choice in whether they'd like to attend meetings in-person or online (via Zoom).

The 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. As part of the program, we will using the text A Concise Guide to Improving Student Learning: Six Evidence-Based Principles and How to Apply Them by Diane Cummings Persellin and Mary Blythe Daniels. Participants will be given a copy of the book at the first program meeting (or sent via mail to those participating remotely).

Applying for the Program

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

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


Application Due Date:  September 1, 2021 (noon)

Participants Notified:  September 2, 2021  

First Program Meeting:  September 10, 2021

Access the online application for the 2021-22 program.


Please email Danielle Lusk,  Director for Professional Development.