The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Platinum Certificate program provides UAB teachers with more advanced professional development opportunities in teaching. To receive the certificate, participants must earn at least 100,000 additional points beyond the 100,000 points required for the CTL’s Gold Certificate. These points must include at least 70,000 “Platinum” points which are earned by attending specially designated Platinum-level workshops, through teacher observations, and by completion of a capstone project and presentation. The remaining 30k points may be either Gold, Green, or Platinum. Only six educators total have earned this special designation at UAB since the start of the program in 2018.

Here is a Q&A with Dr. Pucker regarding the benefits of earning the prestigious certificate and challenges along the way:

1. What inspired you to pursue the Platinum Teaching Certificate?

After arriving at UAB, I knew that I would be eventually teaching a course. Since I got limited formal pedagogical training during my graduate training, I decided to broaden my skills by attend lectures at the CTL. After completing my Level I (Gold) teaching certificate, I felt like I learned several valuable skills related such topics as course room management, test writing, and interactive teaching, which inspired me to continue my training at the CTL and to obtain the next level of teaching certification (Level II - Platinum).    

2. What challenges did you face while working towards this Certificate?

The primary challenge related to obtaining my CTL teaching certificates was finding the time to attend lectures. Thankfully, lectures are offered most days and the majority of lectures are either first thing in the morning or during the lunch hour with free food, which makes it possible for most people to attend one or two lectures each month.

3. Do you have any advice for any teachers that may be interested in pursuing this level of Certification?

I would suggest setting the goal of attending one to two lectures per month. This should allow you to achieve your Gold teaching certificate within one academic year. After achieving the Gold certificate, you can start working towards the Platinum teaching certificate by attending additional lectures and working with the CTL leadership to have your classroom observed and to complete a capstone project related to a topic that you would like to improve in your classroom. The CTL has other certificates related to online teaching and global awareness in the classroom:  

4. What opportunities can this Certificate bring? 

Obtaining a CTL certificate will allow you to learn new skills, network with faculty outside of your program, and potentially find new University level service opportunities.

5. How will your students benefit from the knowledge gained from your experience?

I think that the students will benefit from the many skills that you learned through the CTL. Specifically, CTL courses will benefit your didactic teaching by helping you make your course expectation clearer, your course more interactive and exciting, your exam questions clearer and written at your desired testing level, and you more understanding of your student’s needs. The CTL also has a clinical teaching series, which may allow you to help your students get more out of their clinical rotations.