Certificate Overview

Delta participant proudly receiving the Delta Certificate, surrounded by faculty and Delta staff. The Delta Certificate in Research, Teaching, and Learning confers recognition of a student’s achievement in the following areas:

  • Experience in teaching, broadly defined to include the college classroom and beyond (i.e. informal educational settings)
  • Awareness of how to promote successful learning with diverse participants
  • Knowledge of foundational research and scholarship on teaching and learning
  • Demonstrated application of research skills to the improvement of participant learning
  • Engaged membership in a learning community that is focused on teaching and learning
  • Development of a reflective teaching and learning capstone project

The Certificate is designed to be useful to recipients throughout the job search as a way to collect and communicate the achievements listed above. The Delta Certificate program serves both pre-dissertator and dissertator graduate students, as well as postdoctoral researchers.

The best way to get started on a Delta Certificate is to sign up for one of our upcoming courses!

Elizabeth, Delta Certificate Alum

Elizabeth
Delta Certificate Recipient

“I’m glad to have a completed portfolio as an outcome of the certificate, one that I can continue to refine and add to as I work towards my eventual academic applications. The defense was a lovely culmination of my Delta experience. I enjoyed sharing the work I had done with all my mentors throughout Delta as well as my research mentors.”

Read More About Elizabeth

Delta Certificate Process

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Prerequisites

Icon of 5 Δ’s (deltas)

Take course(s) to complete at least 5 Δ’s (deltas)

You must complete 5 total Δ’s (deltas) by taking Delta-approved courses. Most Delta-approved courses count as 1 or 2 Δ’s. All of our course listings indicate how they satisfy this requirement. See “what are delta’s” in the FAQ for more information.

 

Internship Icon

Complete the Delta Internship
(can start once you have completed 2 Δ’s  + Teaching Plan 4-Week Series)

To earn a Delta Certificate, you must also complete a Delta Internship, which includes completing a Teaching-as-Research Project. In preparation for the Delta Internship, you need to complete 2 Δ’s and the Teaching Plan 4-Week Series. The 4-week series explores key topics in evidence-based teaching as you build a sample aligned teaching plan: measurable learning outcomes, assessments that promote learning, and equitable and engaging activities. In order to enroll in Teaching Plan 4-Week Series, you must have taken, or be taking, a Delta-approved course.

 

Certificate Capstone

Drafting Capstone Icon

Reflect, develop materials, and integrate feedback

With the help of the Delta Program and feedback from your committee, you will develop materials (such as a teaching & learning portfolio or reflection statement) that reflect on your Delta experiences and demonstrate your commitment to teaching.

 

Present your work

Once your materials are finalized, you will present these materials to the Delta Program and your certificate defense committee. This is an opportunity to show off how you have grown as an effective and inclusive teacher and mentor.

 

Final Products

Final products of the Delta Certificate

You officially earn a Delta Certificate by completing the following:

    • Reflection Materials: A completed Teaching and Learning Portfolio, Teaching Philosophy, and/or a Reflective Statement on the Delta Pillars.
    • Successful Presentation and Defense of Materials to Your Committee

By completing the Delta Certificate, you will leave with the following materials:

    • Teaching philosophy: A concise statement outlining your pedagogical approach.
    • Materials for the job market: This could come in the form of a teaching & learning portfolio, a reflective statement, or some other artifact demonstrating your teaching skills and experience.
    • Delta Certificate demonstrating your commitment to teaching: An addition to your CV or resume that highlights the effort you have put into becoming a more effective and inclusive educator.

Infographic of Certificate Process, broken into 3 steps, which are detailed in the section above.

Example Pathways

Finn

Infographic showing Finn’s pathway through Certificate program, which is detailed text below.

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Finn's Path to the Delta Certificate

Finn is a graduate student in biology looking to prepare for a career in academia. Finn enjoys a research assistant position in a lab at UW, but is eager to get additional teaching and mentoring experience — so Finn decides to look into Delta’s programming for professional development in research, teaching and learning.

  1. In order to learn how to use technology effectively as an instructor, Finn signs up for Delta’s course Leveraging Tech to Teach. After completing this semester-long course, Finn earns 2 Δ’s. (Δ’s — or deltas — are units that are earned by taking Delta courses.)  Having had a good experience in this course, Finn decides to actively pursue the Delta Certificate.
  2. Having taken a delta-earning course with Delta, Finn is eligible to sign up for Teaching Plan 4-Week Series, which is a prerequisite to enter the Internship Program — a key component of the Delta Certificate. Finn completes the Teaching Plan 4-Week Series and joins the Internship Program the following semester. 
  3. Throughout the Internship Seminar, Finn completes a Teaching-as-Research Project on developing an inquiry-based online lab.
  4. Finn decides to take Informal Science Education and earns 2 Δ’s.
  5. Having earned 4 Δ’s so far, Finn takes the course Improv to Improve Science Communication and Teaching for 1 Δ.  Having completed the Internship Program and 5 Δ’s of coursework, Finn is now eligible to work on the Delta Certificate.
  6. Through reflecting on previous Delta experiences, Finn develops a teaching and learning portfolio that demonstrates a commitment to evidenced-based instruction. Finn receives and incorporates feedback on the portfolio from a defense committee, a Delta facilitator, and fellow Delta Certificate candidates.
  7. Once the teaching and learning portfolio and other supplementary materials are complete, Finn shares these reflections at a Certificate Defense. 

By completing this program, Finn now has a teaching philosophy statement, materials for the job market, and a Delta Certificate demonstrating a commitment to teaching.

Jamie

Infographic showing Jamie's pathway through Certificate program, which is detailed text below.

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Jamie's Path to the Delta Certificate

Jamie is a postdoc in mechanical engineering looking to gain more experience mentoring. Jamie hears about Delta’s various courses and opportunities and decides to get involved.

  1. After taking part in a few helpful Delta workshops, Jamie takes the course Research Mentor Training to learn some skills and strategies for more effective mentoring. After completing this semester-long course, Jamie earns 1 Δ. (Δ’s — or deltas — are units that are earned by taking Delta courses.) Having enjoyed the experience, Jamie signs up for more Delta courses.
  2. To prepare for a teaching assignment next semester, Jamie decides to take Effective Teaching in an Internationally Diverse Classroom for 2 Δ’s.
  3. Because the course Jamie is assigned to teach next semester is remote, Jamie also takes Basics of Online Learning and Teaching for 2 Δ’s — meaning Jamie has now earned 5 Δ’s total. With 5 Δ’s already, Jamie just needs to complete the Internship Program in order to be eligible to earn the Delta Certificate.
  4. Jamie completes the Teaching Plan 4-Week Serieswhich is a prerequisite to enter the Internship Program — and joins the Internship Program the following semester. 
  5. Throughout the Internship Seminar, Jamie completes a Teaching-as-Research Project on adding a well-structured group project to a unit in an introductory mechanical engineering course. Having completed the Internship Program and 5 Δ’s of coursework, Jamie is now eligible to work on the Delta Certificate.
  6. Through reflecting on previous Delta experiences, Jamie develops a teaching and learning portfolio that demonstrates a commitment to evidenced-based instruction. Jamie receives and incorporates feedback on the portfolio from a defense committee, a Delta facilitator, and fellow Delta Certificate candidates.
  7. Once the teaching and learning portfolio and other supplementary materials are complete, Jamie shares these reflections at a Certificate Defense. 

By completing this program, Jamie now has a teaching philosophy statement, materials for the job market, and a Delta Certificate demonstrating a commitment to teaching.

Frequently Asked Questions

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I've already participated in Delta (or CIRTL) courses. How will the recent update affect my progress toward the certificate prerequisites?

The recent prerequisite update is designed to provide more freedom within the Delta Certificate program so participants can shape their Delta experiences to better align with their personal objectives and career goals.

If you have already completed the prerequisites for the Certificate, your status will remain unchanged: you are all set! If you are on your way to completing the prerequisites for the Certificate, the prerequisite update will not affect your progress to this point; but going forward you may have more freedom in completing your remaining prerequisites. The table below explains how experiences previously counted as Courses, Half Courses, and Learning Communities will translate to Δ’s.

Previous Prerequisite # of Deltas
Course [C] 2 Δ’s
Half Course [1/2C] 1 Δ
Learning Community [LC] 1 Δ

Note: there has been no change to the Internship Semester or the Certificate Capstone project themselves — just the prerequisites.

I'm new to Delta — how do I get started on the Certificate?

Welcome to Delta! Take one of our current Delta courses to start earning Δ’s (deltas), which will put you on the pathway to earning a Delta Certificate.

What are Δ's (deltas) and how do I earn them?

We use Δ’s (deltas) as units assigned to courses. Participants can earn Δ’s by taking Delta courses, or those that have prior approval.* Most courses count as 1 or 2 Δ’s. All of our course listings indicate how many Δ’s one can earn by taking the course.

*Many offerings in WISCIENCE, Curriculum & Instruction, other campus units, or professional development work outside of UW–Madison can count toward the Delta Certificate. While there are opportunities to earn Δ’s outside of Delta’s programming, please don’t assume that an opportunity outside of Delta will count: gain approval from one of Delta’s directors first.

Also, you can create your own professional development opportunity and earn 1Δ by facilitating a learning community. Contact us at info@delta.wisc.edu to discuss options.

Why are we using Δ's (deltas) and not just calling them credits?

We can’t call them “credits” due to both university rules and the potential for confusion over transcript-able credits that you may choose to earn by taking Delta courses.

What are some ways I can earn the 5 Δ's required?

There are many ways to earn 5 Δ’s in order to begin the Certificate Capstone. Most participants will earn deltas by taking a collection of Delta courses (each course typically counts as 1 or 2 Δ’s).

Please see some example combinations below:

First example of 3 courses that add up to 5 deltas, which is explained in text below image.
Example 1: 5 Δ’s could be earned by taking (in an order) Improv to Improve Science, Informal Science Education, and Leveraging Tech to Teach.

 

Second example of 4 courses that add up to 5 deltas, which is explained in text below image.
Example 2: 5 Δ’s could be earned by taking (in an order) Exploring Practices in the Classroom, Effective Teaching in an Internationally Diverse Classroom, Fundamentals of Online Teaching & Learning, and Research Mentor Training.

 

Note: Other teaching & learning experiences outside of Delta programming can earn Δ’s; however, if you are hoping to earn Δ’s outside of Delta programming, you must first communicate with and gain approval from a director of the Delta program.

When should I start?

To earn the Delta Certificate in preparation for entering the job market, ideally try to finish the Delta Certificate by the beginning of your final year, and then plan backwards from there.

With careful planning and dedication, it is possible to earn the Delta Certificate in as few as 3 semesters (or one full calendar year if willing to complete work in the summer term), but most participants take longer.

How long does it take to get the certificate?

It can take as long as you want to complete 5 Δ’s worth of coursework, the Internship, and the Certificate activities. The minimum is 3 semesters (or one full calendar year).

Using Jamie’s example pathway above, your own journey could look like this:

  1. First Year: 
    • Take any 1 Δ course, such as Research Mentor Training
  2. Second Year:
    • Take any 2 Δ course, such as Effective Teaching in an Internationally Diverse Classroom
  3. Third Year: Finish prerequisites
    • Take any 2 Δ course, such as Basics of Online Teaching
    • Take the Teaching Plan 4-Week Series
    • Complete the Internship Semester
  4. Fourth Year: Complete Certificate Activities
    • Create teaching and learning portfolio, receive and integrate feedback
    • Present at Certificate Defense

If you are in a rush and want a three-semester timeline: Using Finn’s example pathway above, your own journey could look like this:

  1. Fall Semester: 
    • Take any 2 Δ course, such as Leveraging Tech to Teach
    • Take 4-week Series: Create an Evidence-Based Teaching Plan
  2. Spring Semester:
    • Complete the Internship Semester
    • Take any 2 Δ course, such as  Informal Science Education 
    • Take a 1 Δ course, such as Improv to Improve Science Communication and Teaching
  3. Summer: Complete Certificate Activities
    • Create teaching and learning portfolio, receive and integrate feedback
    • Present at Certificate Defense

Can postdocs earn a Delta Certificate?

Absolutely! It is optional whether you want to take Delta courses for transcriptable credit in order to ensure that dissertators, post-docs, academic staff and faculty can readily participate. Of course, full participation is expected whether you have transcript credit for the course or not.

Do I have to take courses for credit to earn Δ's for them?

No — but there are some courses that allow you to earn academic credit and Δ’s at the same time.

How many Δ's does the "Teaching Plan 4-Week Series" count for? The internship?

None. Only courses offer Δ’s. You need at least 2 Δ’s plus Teaching Plan 4-Week Series to join an Internship Cohort. See the Delta Internship Overview page here.

What are examples of certificate materials I can develop?

The Certificate Capstone (like the Delta Certificate as a whole) is designed to be useful to recipients throughout the job search as a way to collect and communicate achievements and growth in teaching and learning. Therefore, the capstone project can take many forms, including but not limited to the following:

  • Teaching & Learning Portfolio
  • Reflective Statement on the Delta Pillars
  • Mock Interview and Review

If interested in completing a different type of capstone project, you must first communicate with and gain approval from a director of the Delta program.

What exactly do I do once I've completed the coursework?

Contact us at info@delta.wisc.edu. We’ll have an initial meeting and you’ll decide on your path (see the FAQ “What are examples of certificate materials I can develop?” above). Below is a rough timeline of the Certificate activities, which you can download as a PDF here. Certificate Capstone Timeline infographic that can be downloaded as a PDF in text above.

Will the Delta Certificate be noted on my official transcript?

No — the Delta Certificate will not appear on your official UW-Madison transcript.

We are happy to confirm or provide evidence of your completion of the Delta Certificate upon request.