Course Information

These courses provide an opportunity for students to explore teaching as a profession. For full-time University of Minnesota students accepted into the DirecTrack to Teaching program, the courses provide an avenue for participation in the College of Education and Human Development as part of preferred admission to the post-baccalaureate licensure programs. For CIS students, the courses provide a deep look into the realm of teaching as career exploration.

In CI 3902, students begin their teacher identity journey. Students examine the ways in which their own intersecting identities inform their dispositions and decisions about teaching, and then critically consider the ways their future students' intersecting identities must inform teaching, classrooms, and schools.

Students in CI 3902 work collaboratively to lead a mini-lesson to their peers, volunteer in schools in a service-learning capacity to support students and teachers, and reflect deeply through in-class discussions and in written essays and blogs. Service-learning experiences are central to learning, and along with course readings, provide the basis for discussion and reflection.

Course Objectives

  • To explore teaching as a personal career goal
  • To examine teaching as a profession, professionalism, and the culture of schools
  • To experience working with students as learners and to utilize the community as a learning context
  • To develop an understanding of multiculturalism, diversity, and the sociocultural/political realities of public schooling and teaching
  • To consider the public and private value of education and the competing norms of school reform efforts
  • To reflect on what it means to be equity minded, reflective, and reflexive teaching professionals

Sample Syllabus

Other Considerations

CI 3901 is a prerequisite for CI 3902. Students do not need to take both courses.

Exploring the Teaching Profession cannot be taught on a normal trimester or block schedule, but schools may be able to alter their schedule to offer the course. Unless applicants are planning to teach the course over a full 15-week semester or longer, they should contact the faculty coordinator before submitting any part of their application to confirm that their high school’s schedule will work.

Field day participation in CI 3902 is required to provide Entry Point students with an opportunity to visit a university campus.

Class size limit: 25

U of M Catalog Description

Diversity in schools, strategies for increasing cultural competence, anti-racist pedagogy. The role of intersecting identities, communities and systems. Students reflect on themselves as future teachers and complete 30 hours of service-learning in educational settings. Prerequisite: CI 3901.

Student Qualifications

Junior or senior, top 50% of class.

These courses are part of the Entry Point Project. Sixty percent of the students must belong to one or more of the targeted audiences for the Entry Point Project:

  • Multilingual/ELL students
  • Members of racial or ethnic minorities
  • First generation college-bound students and/or
  • From families of low to moderate income
  • Between the top 50% and top 20% of their class

Student qualifications may change after the first year, based on input from teachers participating in the pilot.

Instructor Qualifications

Instructors apply and are selected by faculty in accord with the U of M policy governing Academic Appointments with Teaching Functions. Once approved, an instructor is appointed as a Teaching Specialist 9754 (University Job Title and Code) in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Instructor qualifications are determined by the sponsoring University department. 

View the Instructor Applicant Handbook for course-specific qualifications and application steps. 


  • Love, B. (2019). We Want to Do More than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
  • Christensen, L., Karp, S. Peterson, B. and Yonamine, M. (2019). The New Teacher Book: Finding Purpose, Balance, and Hope During Your First Years in the Classroom, Third Edition. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd.
  • Additional readings as assigned, available to students online/digitally

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the texts and readings specified or mandated by the University of Minnesota? If not, what are some of the choices? 
The text and readings are required, but may be augmented by the instructor. Readings may change after the pilot year based on feedback from participating teachers.

Do teachers have choice in assignments? Are there required assignments? 
Teachers must use all of the same assignments as the on-campus version of the course. Assignments and weights may change after the pilot year based on feedback from participating teachers.

Who creates the exams? 
There are no exams in this course.

Is there a training and mentoring system for teachers new to CIS? 
The faculty coordinator welcomes phone or email check-ins with individual teachers during the term to supplement the workshops during the school year and summer. A cohort listserv facilitates easy communications. New teachers also benefit from an orientation to College in the Schools that will familiarize them with the support available through CIS as well as prepare them for administrative tasks such as registering students and posting grades.

High school class schedules vary: can a teacher in the block system teach the courses? 
Exploring the Teaching Profession is taught in different schools in various ways (block schedule, year-long), but most often on a semester schedule. It is not possible to meet the demands of the course within a trimester. Applicants should prepare to discuss at their interview how CIS 3902 will work within their school's schedule.

What happens at typical teacher workshops? 
CIS teachers attend professional development workshops each term and in the summer to stay current with U of M curriculum and the CIS program, to learn about innovative research and developments in the field, network, and share materials. Workshops serve as faculty meetings with course and program development discussions with special attention dedicated to content, pedagogy, and assessment of the college courses.

What happens at your typical student field days? 
Student field days provide an opportunity for CIS students to meet their peers, practice skills they have learned in class, and explore the Twin Cities campus. Teachers typically help to plan and evaluate field day activities.

High Schools Offering This Course

  • Century High School (Rochester)
  • John Marshall High School (Rochester)
  • Johnson Senior High School (Saint Paul)
  • North High School (North Saint Paul)
  • Richfield High School
  • Somerset High School
  • Tartan High School (Oakdale)