Internship Overview

Each semester, the Delta Program supports a new cohort of graduate students and postdocs who partner with faculty and staff to improve teaching practices and learning environments through innovative teaching-as-research projects.

Intern alumni say:

“The Delta Internship helped me to apply scientific inquiry to the classroom in ways I’d never considered”

“I really do credit my TAR project with helping me get my faculty job”


Why do an Internship?

  • Become a more effective, evidence-based teacher. Effective, adjective: Successful in producing a desired or intended result. Learn how to ask and answer questions about your students’ learning.
  • Gain experience you can leverage in your job application materials, interviews and teaching & learning portfolio. Be able to talk about something you did beyond TA’ing, and show evidence of your commitment to innovative teaching.
  • Explore a teaching approach or challenge that interests you with the support of mentors and a cohort. Try using backwards design in the real world.
  • Choose your own adventure. Internship projects can take place anywhere people are learning, and address any challenge in student learning that aligns with your future career goals.
  • Prepare for the Delta Certificate in Teaching & Learning. The internship is part of the Delta Certificate requirements.
  • Demonstrate reflective teaching. Some interns choose to continue with their project and produce a conference or symposium poster or paper, a publication, or to use  their internship project as a chapter of their dissertation.

All intern projects involve: identifying a challenge in student learning, developing and implementing a teaching plan using backwards design, and then analyzing student learning data.

–> Learn more about the steps of the process here.


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What is the Delta Internship Program

The Delta Internship Program provides graduate students and postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to develop teaching and learning skills in real-world situations. Each semester, the Delta Program supports a new cohort of interns who partner with faculty and staff to improve teaching practices and learning environments through innovative teaching-as-research projects. Interns develop, implement, and evaluate innovations and interventions that aim to improve learning in a classroom, lab, outreach program or other venue.

Who can participate?

Graduate students and post-doctoral researchers from any discipline are welcome to start an internship upon completion of a semester-long Delta course or its equivalent. Often interns take the pre-internship workshops while still in their prerequisite course.

Faculty and instructional staff members who want to understand a challenge in student learning, implement a solution, and assess its effectiveness in their own classrooms are encouraged to develop internship opportunities and to participate as partners to Delta interns.

Why should I do an internship project, and what am I going to learn from participating?

Do you want to learn to be a more effective, evidence-based educator? Want to be able to talk about something you actually did in your job interview? Are you curious about a particular assessment or teaching method you have heard about? You might want learn how to integrate active learning into large lectures…address a misconception that affects the learning of a particular tricky concept…improve student motivation and retention, or design and implement a flipped classroom module.

The internship is an opportunity to get real experience in teaching: plan an innovation, evaluate how it works, and hopefully, help improve the learning outcomes of students. Specific to your project, the internship is designed to provide an experience toward reaching your particular professional goals- whether in outreach, industry, or higher education.

In the process, you’ll learn how to become a reflective practitioner of evidence-based teaching, and prepare for responsibilities you’ll face in the classroom as a future faculty member. Over the course of completing your internship project, you’ll be introduced to educational research, including quantitative and qualitative methods. Several interns have gone on to publish the findings of the internship project, present their outcomes at an academic conference, or turn their internship project into a chapter in their dissertation. Becoming a Delta intern is also a great opportunity to network with other people excited about teaching.

What are the prerequisites for doing an internship?

Taking and completing one semester-long teaching and learning course is required to join a cohort internship. This can include local Delta courses or CIRTL online courses, both asynchronous and synchronous. Courses include Effective Teaching with Technology, The College Classroom, Diversity in the College Classroom, Instructional Materials Development, and Informal Education. The coursework can be in-progress when you begin the pre-internship workshops.

If you took a course in teaching and learning other than Delta or CIRTL courses, it often can satisfy the prerequisite- please email Devin at for next steps.

What is the timing of an internship and how much time do I need to commit?

Timing: Interns write project proposals prior to their internship semester (consisting of a lit review, measurable learning outcomes, assessments to promote student learning, and activities). The intern cohort then meets weekly through the semester their project is implemented. Proposals are due in December for spring interns and August for fall interns.

Duration: Intern projects are highly variable, and depend on the goals of the intern and their faculty partner. Most last one semester, while others are year-long or start as one semester and then continue for several and turn into a publication or conference poster presentation.

Time commitment: Most internships are not funded. Interns can expect to spend on average about 3-5 hrs per week during the semester that the project is implemented. This will include meetings with a faculty or instructional staff partner and attendance at the program seminar (1.5 hrs/wk). Designing your project proposal will take place over a couple of months before the seminar semester (starting in October for spring projects and April for fall projects).

When during the year do the cohorts begin and how do you join a cohort of interns?

Project development begins with the pre-internship workshops in October (for spring implementation) and April (for fall implementation), to allow time for project proposal development. You can still join the spring cohort as late as December, and the fall cohort as late as August, provided that you have selected and project and faculty partner and can efficiently complete your proposal design and other requirements.

What kinds of internship projects have been done?

While every Internship project is different, some examples include, but are not limited to:

• Instructional material (re-)design and implementation;

• Integrating an active learning method into a course or module of a course

• Transforming a “cookbook” laboratory module to inquiry-based instruction

• Incorporating a technology to improve student learning

• Designing student-centered assessments to improve student learning

Where do I find current internship opportunities available through Delta?

You can find current internship opportunities on our website at:

Where can internship projects happen-do they have to be at UW?

Anywhere students are learning! Past internship projects have been conducted at Madison College to Edgewood, K-12 schools, outreach programs and as  far away as India. You might also consider a different UW campus.

Do I need approval from my advisor in order to participate in the Delta Internship program

Yes. While a graduate student or postdoc’s focus rightly rests with their core disciplinary research and writing, the Delta Program believes it is important for any future teaching position to ensure professional development around teaching and learning. Because the support and encouragement of the research advisor is important to the success of any internship project, we do require interns to receive signed consent from their advisor (via the Advisor Approval Form) prior to the program.

How is an internship different from a TA position?

Interns work in partnership with a faculty or instructional staff partner on a teaching and learning issue in undergraduate education, informal science education and outreach, etc. The key idea is that the intern designs and implements a solution to this issue in the classroom or an outreach setting, and analyzes the learning that occurs as a result of the solution (teaching-as-research). Interns also attend a concurrent seminar and create materials for their teaching portfolio.

Can I use my upcoming TA experience in my internship?

Absolutely! You would shape a project around an aspect of student learning in your course (a sticky concept? A lab you’d like to re-design?) You will need to work in partnership with a faculty or instructional staff partner, so the course director/instructor might be a good partner. Also, as an intern you’d need to take the Internship Seminar during your TA semester. The internship experience will be in addition to your TA responsibilities.