Graduate Fellows

group working together

The Graduate School and the Center for Teaching & Learning Innovation (CTLI) at Michigan State University invites applicants for the 2023-2024 graduate fellowship cohort. Fellows can expect to join a welcoming community to learn with us, influence the future of higher education, and further develop as leaders and public scholars by becoming a Graduate School/MSU CTLI Fellow.

The CTLI defines “educator” in the broadest sense, as anyone who contributes to the teaching and learning, outreach, and/or student success mission of the university. By supporting educator professional development, the CTLI, within its broad educator support network, is helping to innovate and improve teaching, learning, and student success at MSU.

Graduate fellows will explore spaces where educators come to learn and think differently about teaching and learning, while building and exercising skills in design, facilitation, and collaboration. The CTLI Grad Fellowship is one of the MSU Graduate School’s teaching cohort fellowships but is not a conventional teaching or research fellowship, meaning its end goal is not solely the production of an academic peer-reviewed research product. CTLI Fellows’ work contributes to real outcomes that impact campus. Being a CTLI Grad Fellow means joining a diverse team of interdisciplinary experts to improve MSU as a teaching and learning institution.


Each fellow will develop skills that support educator professional development, such as curriculum development, program design, project management, systems-level collaboration, facilitation and more. Through meetings every 2 weeks, fellows will learn about the work of the CTLI, meet our team members in various roles, and build community as a cohort. Fellows will also have the opportunity to participate in all-fellowship programming through the Graduate School on relevant professional development topics.

Fellows are expected to participate in other CTLI-connected opportunities including one or more of the following, which will be selected in consultation with the fellowship directors:

  • Hosting a Lunch & Learn on a topic of their choice in the spring semester
  • Contributing to the organization of the Spring Conference on Teaching & Learning as part of its steering committee
  • Join a CTLI project team or initiative
  • Join one or more of the CTLI’s consultation topic teams 

Each fellow will then propose a project that connects to their CTLI work and which will be implemented in the second semester. Requirements for this project are flexible: it should involve the skills each fellow is developing through their unique work with CTLI and can be a synchronous or asynchronous research, writing, outreach, workshop or other programming, and/or creative project. Each fellow will present their work to their CTLI colleagues at the completion of the fellowship in the spring. Each fellow will receive $5,000 to support their work.

Who should apply to be a Fellow?

Successful applicants will have a proven commitment to and passion for pedagogy and how institutions like MSU can best support high-quality teaching, learning and student success. Successful applicants will also have experience with and/or demonstrate openness to developing new skill sets and to share diverse practices in teaching.

We are interested in building a cohort of fellows who are:

  • interested in teaching & learning and educator professional development
  • excited about interdisciplinary collaboration
  • driven to improve their skills (e.g. program design, project management, systems-level collaboration, facilitation, etc.) and perspectives on curriculum and pedagogy 
  • flexible and adaptable
  • motivated to make an impact on campus and beyond

If working in the CTLI aligns with your personal and professional goals, we hope you will apply.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must be MSU students enrolled full-time in a program leading to a Ph.D., in good academic standing, and making progress on their degrees. This fellowship is open to applicants who have not previously held a MSU Graduate School teaching cohort fellowship and will not concurrently hold another MSU Graduate School teaching cohort fellowship. Note: This opportunity is a rare one that is open to international students/non-US citizens.

How to apply:

Discuss the CTLI Grad Fellows program with your Department Chair/Graduate Program Director and your Graduate Advisor. To complete the application form, you will be asked to upload the follow in addition to your responses to three mini-essay questions (included in the following paragraph):

  • A current CV
  • Name of your Department Chair (or Graduate Program Director) and Graduate Advisor as endorsements
  • A short letter of endorsement (one paragraph) from either your Department Chair (or Graduate Program Director) or Graduate Advisor. This short letter can also be emailed by your endorser separately; instructions are in the application.

Reflect on the three required mini-essay questions (responses limited to 300 words each) and one optional mini-essay:

  • Why are you interested in being a CTLI Fellow? How will being a CTLI Fellow help you achieve your personal or professional goals?
  • Discuss how your intersecting identities influence the way you think about teaching and learning. 
  • What activities or experiences demonstrate your interest in and/or commitment to high quality teaching and learning? 
  • In the spirit of MSU's commitment to Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, the CTLI Grad Fellowship aims to be accessible to a wide range of applicants, especially those from traditionally underserved groups in higher education. One goal of this fellowship is to form a diverse cohort of qualified fellows across multiple axes, including but not limited to grad students' areas of study/disciplinary background, individual and community identities. Please share as much (or as little) personal demographic information as you'd like below. 

The application to be a part of the 2024-25 CTLI Graduate Fellowship cohort will open on April 15, 2024 and close on June 2, 2024. APPLY HERE 

For more information, please contact Makena Neal or Ellie Louson, the CTLI Grad Fellowship Directors and faculty mentors.