Peer-Review Seminars on Writing a Teaching Philosophy

For Advanced PhD Students

Beginning in 2009, The Teaching Center began offering a summer seminar-series on writing a teaching philosophy statement (TPS). This series is open to Washington University PhD students who are preparing to apply for faculty positions. To date, 51 graduate students from 16 departments have participated. The series begins each summer in early-to-mid-June and concludes by the end of July.


  • To provide interested graduate students with the opportunity to devote sustained time and thought to the challenging process of writing a teaching philosophy statement, which is required to apply for many academic positions.
  • To create a multi-disciplinary community of graduate students who are dedicated to reflecting and writing about teaching.
  • To help graduate students develop a collegial approach to discussing and learning about teaching.

Major Components

  • Each participant attends 3 seminar meetings, led by Beth Fisher, providing instruction in how to write a teaching philosophy statement. These meetings include all seminar participants. During the second meeting, the participants join peer-review groups, composed of 3-4 graduate students from different disciplines.
  • Each participant writes 3 drafts of the TPS, posting each draft on a private online, social network. Fellow group-members comment on drafts online, then prepare a longer response for an in-person peer-review meeting.
  • Drafts are discussed at each of 3 peer-review group meetings, scheduled over a 6-week period.
  • The third seminar meeting provides an opportunity for a final peer-review session, conducted with pairs of participants who were not members of one another's peer-review group.

Research: Utilizing Composition Pedagogy to Help Graduate Students Write Effective Teaching Philosophy Statements

This study of the Summer Seminar Series Beth Fisher, Director of Academic Services, The Teaching Center, with Steve Pijut, Associate Director of the Washington University Writing Center. The study was supported in its first year (2009-2010) by a POD Network Grant from the Professional and Organizational Development in Higher Education Network.

For information about the program or the study, please contact Michelle Repice.​​