Teaching and Leadership Opportunities

Teaching and Leadership Opportunities

There are many ways in which graduate students at Rice can take on teaching responsibilities and leadership roles fairly quickly. Taking advantage of these opportunities prepares our graduate students for their future careers, regardless as to whether they aim at an academic career or not. Teaching is certainly a crucial part of any academic career, but it also prepares you for concise public presentations that are central to other forms of leadership beyond the context of the university, such as business, law, and politics.

Teaching in the Department of Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy typically hires one or two graduate students each semester to teach courses in the department. A request for student proposals is sent out each spring for the following academic year.

Teaching and Pedagogy Support

The Center for Teaching Excellence at Rice offers a variety of courses and workshops to help students develop as teachers and prepare for the job market, including the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Teaching and Learning. CTE courses can be taken as stand-alone courses. It is highly recommended that students take at least UNIV 500, a 3-credit course focused on topics such as course and syllabus design, student engagement, and classroom management.

Teaching Opportunities Beyond Philosophy

Avenues for teaching experience beyond the Department of Philosophy at Rice for graduate students are numerous. If you aim at a future career teaching philosophy at the college level, we strongly recommend that you consider some of these opportunities:

  • Rice’s Program in Writing and Communication hires a number of graduate students each semester for instructor and teaching assistant positions for the University’s First-Year Writing Intensive Seminars (FWIS).
  • The Center for Academic and Professional Communication hires student consultants enthusiastic about working with Rice students to improve communication skills. The annual job notice is posted in late March and training is provided to successful applicants.
  • The Humanities Research Center offers funding for developing and teaching a Public Humanities course at Rice. Eligible students will be in their fifth, sixth, or seventh years and have completed departmental pedagogy requirements.


Responsible self-governance is an important part of daily academic life at Rice, both within the department and at the level of the university as a whole. The participation of graduate students plays a central role in this context, and there are five official avenues for graduate students to become part of the university‘s mission:

  • Graduate Representatives to the Faculty: Each year, the philosophy graduate students elect two departmental representatives—one in their first three years of the program and one in the fourth year or beyond. These “Grad Reps” coordinate various graduate student activities within the department and serve as a line of communication between graduate students and the faculty. This includes collecting feedback on graduate student opinion about departmental matters; feedback on job candidates; working with the Department Chair and other faculty members on departmental initiatives; representing the concerns and needs of graduate students to the Department Chair and the Director of Graduate Studies; and leading official graduate student meetings.
  • Graduate Representative to the Graduate Student Association: The GSA Representative is a voting member of the Graduate Student Senate and an external advocate and liaison for the department. They vote on legislative matters, including decisions about how to budget and spend GSA taxes levied on all Rice graduate students, and they may sit on university-sanctioned committees if they choose. Meetings are held once per month. They also keep the department informed of, and represent the department’s opinion on, activities and initiatives conducted by the GSA. There is ample opportunity for professional development and unique insight into how the university works.
  • Graduate Representative to the Humanities Graduate Student Association: Representing the interests of philosophy graduate students within the Humanities Graduate Student Association, and also to the School of Humanities, is a unique opportunity to communicate graduate student issues and concerns, but also to gather information about developments that directly affect graduate students.
  • Ethics Bowl Organizers: Funded by the School of Humanities, the Department of Philosophy organizes, hosts, and staffs the annual Houston High School Ethics Bowl, which is a regional qualifier for the National High School Ethics Bowl competition. Teams of students from public as well as private high schools in the Houston area compete in an argument-based analysis of ethical case studies that emphasizes dialogue and civility among participants. Together with a faculty member, one or more graduate student organizers from the department take a central role in coordinating the Ethics Bowl at Rice, from communicating with participating schools and the training of volunteer judges and moderators to working with the Department Chair and the Dean’s office and publicizing the event.