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Course Overview

Class Meetings

Wednesdays 1:25-3:15pm in WWH 512


Prof. Corrin Clarkson (she / her / her) 721 CIWW,
Office hours: TBD

Prof. Miranda Holmes-Cerfon (she / her / her) 1107 CIWW,
Office Hours: Tuesdays 4-6pm (or by appointment)

Course Description

Communication, both oral and written, is essential in academic careers and beyond. This course aims to help graduate students in mathematics develop skills to more effectively communicate their discipline and their research, through teaching, writing and oral presentation. Half of the course will focus on teaching, and will prepare students to teach their first course. Students will learn evidence-based techniques for teaching effectively in the classroom as well as best practices for assessment. We will also discuss strategies for handling the various challenging situations often faced by instructors. The other half of the course will focus on academic writing, and will help students understand the “logic” of writing so as to construct clearer prose both at the sentence, paragraph, and article level. Throughout, the course will pay attention to how skills from both of these areas transfer to creating clearer, more engaging research presentations.

This seminar-style course will be highly interactive, with much of the learning occurring through feedback from other students. Students are expected to actively participate during the course time, and to complete several assignments including observing a class, teaching a short class, writing a research report and completing shorter writing exercises. The course is best suited for upper-level PhD students in all areas of mathematics, who have a little experience with teaching and writing in an academic setting but who wish to gain a more structured understanding.


Students enrolled in this course will be expected to attend the class meetings and participate fully in the discussions and activities. Students will also be expected to complete approximately one to two hours of work outside of class each week. This work will include reading and writing assignments, preparing presentations as well as classroom observations. For more detail on assignments, see the Course Schedule.

Postdocs are encouraged to audit the course for professional development. Auditors will be expected to prepare for class by doing the assigned reading, and to participate fully in discussions and in-class activies. Auditors will not be ask to submit written assignments.

Final Reports

Here are students’ final reports, which give an introduction to their areas of research and their research problems. Browse them at your leisure to see the diversity of research areas at Courant.