Skip to content

College of Education

Clemson University's Teacher Learning Progression

Clemson University teacher learning progression

Clemson University’s Teacher Learning Progression (CU-TLP) initiative is designed to improve STEM teacher effectiveness, STEM teacher retention, and student achievement in South Carolina’s high-needs middle schools. By offering Personalized Advanced Credentials for Teachers, CU-TLP creates pathways for STEM, computer science, and social-emotional skill development.

Clemson University's Teacher Learning Progression is funded by the U.S. Department of Education SEED (Supporting Effective Educator Development) Award and Clemson University. 

A Customized Pathway to Advanced Professional Growth

  • Pathways to Credentials for Middle School STEM Teachers

    What does the process look like for participants?

    1. Teacher Needs Assessment Survey

    The survey helps us determine the best pathway, or sequence of courses, for each teacher and which courses and microcredentials Clemson University will offer. It is required for all interested teachers but does not require a commitment at this point.

    1. Participation Commitment

    Each teacher who completed the Needs Assessment survey will receive personalized pathway recommendations. Teachers who choose to participate in CU-TLP will decide on a pathway and complete the commitment form.

    1. Select Courses

    Teachers will select their courses and microcredentials for the upcoming semester(s). The CU-TLP grant will pay for graduate credit hours for each teacher’s pathway and provide $500 to their school each year of participation.

    1. Apply to Clemson University

    After the commitment form is submitted, teachers will receive application instructions and a fee waiver code specific to the CU-TLP program. These instructions are important as the process is slightly different than the normal application process.

    1. Looking Ahead

    After completing the first semester(s) of courses and microcredentials, teachers will revisit their pathway, reflect on their progress and goals, and make adjustments as needed. Selected teachers may participate in observations, surveys, or focus groups to assist in CU-TLP improvement efforts.

  • M.Ed. in Teaching & Learning Pathway

    The Master's Degree in Teaching and Learning path involves coursework and microcredentials online through Clemson University.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    I want to go directly into the M.Ed. program as a degree-seeking student. Do I have to submit all the Application Requirements I see on the website?
    Yes; participants who plan to complete the M.Ed. program will need to submit the Application Requirements found on the website. However, participants who plan to start out as a non-degree-seeking student will not be required to submit all of these documents unless they later decide to switch from non-degree-seeking to degree-seeking.

    What are the classes needed to complete the M.Ed.?
    All Program Requirements can be found on the M.Ed. program website.

    Do I have to take two classes at a time?
    Generally, no; however, Summer 2 offers the first two courses that must be taken concurrently as prerequisites for all other courses. The rest of the program is designed for two 8-week courses to be taken sequentially each semester, one Core Course and one Specialization Course.

    I completed my Endorsement pathway and now want to apply those four courses towards my M.Ed. How do I do that?
    Participants who have already completed the four Specialization Courses through the Endorsement pathway will need to re-apply to Clemson for the M.Ed. program. Please contact Dr. Stephanie Madison ( to assist you with the process.

    Why are ELA, Social Studies, and other subjects not provided pathways for an M.Ed. or Endorsements other than STEAM?
    The CU-TLP initiative is designed to support STEM middle school teachers in order to increase learning and improve outcomes for students in STEM areas. Therefore, the recommended pathways for teachers who want to learn more about STEM instruction, participate in cross-curricular planning, and integrate new practices into their classrooms were: 1) STEAM Endorsement and/or 2) Microcredentials.

  • Endorsement Pathway

    STEAM, Teacher Leader, or Online Teaching Endorsement paths involve coursework and micro-credentials online through Clemson University.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    What are the classes needed to complete each endorsement pathway?

    STEAM Endorsement

     1. STEAM Instructional Design

    2. STEAM Transdisciplinary Teaching

    3. STEAM Assessment

    4. STEAM Enacted & Evaluated

    Teacher Leader Endorsement

    1. Elements of Instructional Effectiveness

    2. Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, & Learning from a Mentor Perspective

    3. Critical Issues in Instructional Coaching & School Leadership

    4. Reflective Instructional Coaching Practice

    Online Teaching Endorsement

    1. Effective Online Teaching

    2. Online Course Management

    3. Web Tools to Enhance Online Engagement

    4. Instructional Design & Assessment

    Endorsement Course Descriptions

    Where can I find more information about these specific classes?
    Please visit Certificates and Endorsements to read more about each course and view program flyers.

    What’s the difference between a “certificate” and “endorsement”?
    The STEAM Education Certificate and the Certificate of Online Teaching are awarded through Clemson’s College of Education. 

    The STEAM Education Endorsement, Online Teaching Endorsement, and Teacher Leader Endorsement are awarded through the South Carolina Department of Education; teachers must submit their own Request for Change/Action Form directly to the Department of Education.



  • Microcredential Pathway

    Microcredentials (MCs) are online courses for targeted training and skill development based on identified teacher needs. Each MC has been designed to be highly relevant to today’s STEM teachers and immediately applicable to the classroom.

    There are seven microcredential topics with three courses per topic. Please be aware that these courses are subject to change. 

    Integrating Science & Engineering Practices

    1. Understanding & Integrating Science & Engineering Practices

    2. Integrating Project-Based Learning with Science & Engineering Practices

    3. Assessment of Science & Engineering Practices

    Creating Engaging Math Classrooms

    1. Engaging Students in Mathematics through Career Snapshots

    2. Engaging Students in Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability

    3. Using Formative Assessment Strategies to Engage Students in Mathematics

    Computer Science Fundamentals

    1. Introduction to Coding with Block-Based Programming

    2. Advanced Coding with Text-Based Programming

    3. Integrating Computational Thinking into Math & Science

    Integrating STEM Across the Curriculum

    1. STEM Foundations

    2. STEM Instructional Design

    3. STEM Assessment

    Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

    1. Understanding SEL & the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES)

    2. Classroom Strategies to Promote SEL

    3. Addressing SEL through the Lens of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

    Online Teaching

    1. Introduction to Online Teaching

    2. Differentiated Online Teaching Practices

    3. Engaging Students in Online Learning Spaces

    STEAM Leadership

    1. Fostering Transdisciplinary Teaching

    2. Developing a STEAM Community

    3. Supporting Assessment in STEAM Classrooms

    Microcredential Course Descriptions

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    How long is one MC?
    Each MC is 4 weeks of asynchronous online instruction.

    How many credit hours is an MC?
    Each MC is 1 graduate credit hour, which is equal to 20 certification renewal credits for SC teachers.

    If microcredentials are in a series of three, when will each course be offered?
    Each MC is offered twice per year (pending enrollment). MCs will be offered in the following order: Summer 2, Fall 1, Fall 2; and again Spring 1, Spring 2, Summer 1.   

    If I do a microcredential pathway, do I have to take them in order?
    No; MCs are intended to be stand-alone courses. However, they are designed to be “stackable” and, collectively, provide each participant with a solid foundation of the topic.

    Do these MCs count towards Educator Certification Advancement?
    Yes; MCs can be applied towards Bachelor’s +18 (BA+18) or Master’s +30 (MA+30). However, the MA+30 has some stipulations. Please visit

    I am working on my +18 or +30 for my teaching certificate. Do you have any details about that? 
    Yes; please visit For +30, 21 of the credit hours need to be in the same concentration area. 

    Is there a list of concentration areas?
    Yes; acceptable concentration areas are those for which there is a corresponding certification field (see and click Fields and Endorsements).

    These graduate courses are not required to be in the teacher’s initial certification field. For example, a music teacher with a Master's degree might complete their +30 in Middle Level Science with 21 credit hours in Science and 9 elective hours.  

    The 12 credit hours in the Endorsements may or may not correspond with a concentration area (see, click Adding Endorsements). In any case, these credit hours could still be applied towards +18, or, as electives towards +30.

    The STEAM Leadership Microcredentials are geared for administrators and instructional coaches. What if I am a classroom teacher who wants to learn more about STEAM instruction?
    Moving to STEAM instruction is a complex but rewarding process that involves understanding a new instructional model, creating STEAM units that align with existing standards and curricular requirements, new assessment practices, and implementing STEAM in classrooms. The STEAM Endorsement includes a 4-course sequence over 18 months to walk you through this important process and is a better fit for classroom teachers.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    PhD Pathway

    Is a PhD pathway still a possibility?
    Yes, in select cases. The PhD pathway will be available for participants who meet the following requirements:

    • Completed Master’s Degree
    • Currently teaching a STEM course as a classroom teacher
    • Establish a meeting with Dr. Stephanie Madison ( prior to enrollment to discuss the program details

    Course Delivery

    What platform does Clemson Online use?
    All courses and microcredentials will be delivered through Canvas, a platform used by many K-12 educators.

    What will be expected of me as a learner?
    Prior to beginning a course or microcredential, you will be asked to agree to the following terms:

    1. I will complete the Teacher Learning Progression orientation before starting this course.
    2. I will log into Canvas on or before the first day of class.
    3. I acknowledge that although the course is offered in an asynchronous format, it is not self-paced; therefore, I will complete activities and assessments by the due dates specified in the course calendar.
    4. I will be professional and respectful in my communications with my peers and my instructor.
    5. I agree to follow the guidelines for online conduct as outlined in the Course Orientation module. 
    6. I agree to do my part in any group or collaborative work, and I agree to participate actively throughout the course to improve the experience for others and for myself.
    7. I will check Canvas announcements and other course-related materials at least three times per week.
    8. I will use the Canvas Inbox to communicate with my instructor and peers and respond to messages within 36 hours.
    9. I will provide feedback to my instructor via the end-of-term course evaluations and other available opportunities. 

    What can I expect from my instructor?
    Your instructor has acknowledged and agreed to comply with the following expectations:

    1. The instructor will introduce themselves and provide the course overview to learners at least three days before the course begins.
    2. The instructor will respond to communications within 36 hours. The instructor will communicate with learners in the case of exceptions.
    3. The instructor will grade assignments/quizzes within 48 hours of their due date. For major assignments that require additional time to grade or in the event of any other exceptions, the instructor will communicate with learners when grading will be complete.
    4. The instructor will post and be available for regular virtual office hours as stated in the Meet Your Instructor section of the Canvas site.

    Who will be in my class? Other CU-TLP participants or people outside of CU-TLP?
    It depends. Microcredentials are only offered to CU-TLP participants. The Endorsement and M.Ed. courses are open to the public; however, with sufficient numbers, we are able to offer a section composed only of CU-TLP participants.


    When can I expect to receive instructions to enroll in Clemson’s Graduate School?
    Instructions will be sent within approximately one week following the Commitment Form completion deadline.

    The application to Clemson’s Graduate School is required, but is it possible for me to not be accepted?
    No; everyone invited to participate in CU-TLP is automatically accepted. However, those pursuing an M.Ed. as a degree-seeking student will need to be formally admitted to their program. In the case that an M.Ed. degree-seeking student is not accepted to their program, that participant is still enrolled in the Graduate School and may still pursue microcredentials and endorsement pathways.

    When will I choose my courses and microcredentials?
    Course selection will occur as soon as possible! You will receive an email with instructions.

    When will my school receive the $500 support funds?
    Funds will be released after participants are enrolled in their first course. The timeline will vary depending on each participant’s start date.

    Do I have to be enrolled in courses or microcredentials continuously to remain in CU-TLP?
    No, but we encourage you to take at least one microcredential per semester if at all possible. The purpose of this initiative is not only to provide graduate credit hours, but to help participants build a community with other teachers across the state. At the same time, we know that there are many life circumstances that can interfere with even the most carefully-laid plans, and taking a semester off is possible.


    What is the difference between STEAM and STEM?
    Since STEAM and STEM are defined in lots of different ways, the following clarifies how we define STEAM and STEM on this project.

    STEAM instruction typically foregrounds the problem and allows the disciplines to emerge naturally. It may or may not provide equal attention to science, math, engineering, arts/humanities or mathematics depending on the problem to be solved. There is also a clear focus on the creative processes involved in problem solving. In some cases, STEAM instruction will include solving humanitarian problems or be taught through the related arts and bring in some math, science or technology, but not focus heavily on a particular discipline. This is called transdisciplinary instruction.

    STEM instruction often includes problem or project-based learning and integrates a number of disciplines, similar to STEAM; however, it is typically approached in an interdisciplinary manner where particular disciplines are favored. For example, a science teacher may focus heavily on science content to be covered and pose a problem that includes math, engineering, and English-language arts, but the goal is to focus primarily on learning the science content and lean on the other disciplines to assist in learning science concepts. This is called integrated STEM.

  • School Partnerships
    • Personalized Advanced Credentials for Teachers are designed to help meet district and school professional development goals.
    • District and school partnerships are required in order for teachers to participate.
    • Interested schools can contact Hans Klar at
  • Cost
    • Personalized Advanced Credentials for Teachers are offered at no cost for teacher participants. 
    • Each school will receive $500 per teacher participant per year for additional materials to support effective teaching and improve student learning.
    • The stackable micro-credentials and coursework are delivered online, eliminating the costs associated with transportation to campus. 
  • Research
    • A team of researchers at Clemson University is designing a recommender system to match teachers with the best pathway to meet their needs.
    • All teacher participants must agree to be a part of the research project, which may include surveys, interviews, and/or classroom observations. 
    • As the recommender system grows, so, too, will personalized learning options offered to teachers. 
  • Cohorts

    Cohort 1

    • District Commitment: Fall 2020
    • Teacher Orientation: Spring 2021
    • Micro-credentials and/or courses begin: Summer 2021

    Cohort 2

    • District Commitment: Spring 2021
    • Teacher Orientation: Fall 2021
    • Micro-credentials and/or courses begin: Spring 2022
  • Program News

    Clemson awarded $3 million grant to develop AI-powered professional development for teachers

    A teacher’s search for the best way to sharpen their skills in the classroom may soon be as easy as browsing Netflix for a new movie. Clemson University researchers have been awarded $3 million over three years to develop a personalized professional development recommender system for teachers that resembles the way businesses such as recommend products or streaming entertainment.

    Researchers from the Clemson University College of Education and the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences will develop this recommender system to improve teacher effectiveness and retention while increasing student achievement. The grant award comes from the U.S. Department of Education Supporting Effective Educator Development Grant Program. Of 130 applications to the program, Clemson’s proposal is one of only 12 to be awarded. Read More

  • Program Contacts

    Dr. Stephanie Madison
    Project Manager

    Dr. Jeff C. Marshall
    Project Director

    School and District Partnerships
    Dean Petersen
    Dr. Lee D’Andrea
    Dr. Hans Klar

    Needs Assessment and STEM Teacher Partnerships
    Dr. Luke Rapa
    Dr. Michelle Cook
    Dr. Leigh Martin

    Advanced Credentials Instruction Team
    Dr. Dani Herro
    April Pelt

College of Education
College of Education | 101 Gantt Circle