The department takes very seriously its mission to train graduate students as teachers as well as scholars and intellectuals, and to make pedagogy a lively and integrated aspect of departmental culture. Students in the program follow an integrated and coherent pattern of teacher training which includes working closely with a mentor of their choice as a teaching apprentice in the first two years of study. Before students teach a course of their own design in their own chosen field (most likely in the fourth year of the program), they will have discussed curriculum design, grading and writing (not merely as a means of assessment but as a component part of any class's intellectual work) and other pedagogic issues in collaboration with a faculty member. They will also have had a chance to teach some classes in the course of that mentor. Students therefore have unique opportunities to work with faculty in the classroom, to teach in the Thompson Writing Program, to participate in 'gateway' and upper-level English major classes, as well as to design their own course in their own field. The department helps the student prepare a teaching dossier as an integrated part of their doctoral degree. The final (fifth or sixth) year of the program, however, is free of all teaching responsibilities so that the student may concentrate exclusively on the dissertation. For a more detailed description, see the Student Handbook.