Training for Teaching Assistants

In addition to preparation for independent research, students spend a substantial amount of time in the classroom as teaching assistants. Both students and faculty realize the importance of teaching, in particular in applying for academic positions. During their time in the department, graduate students assemble a portfolio of the teaching they have performed and student feedback on their performance.

The department has a very successful TA training program run by HSI and Teaching Professor Pedro Morales called: Inclusive TA Professional Development. New TA's attend a mandatory 2-day training before the start of their first quarter. This training covers inclusive teaching practices using 21st century pedagogy. It also covers issues including: the first day of section, stage fright, and resources. New TAs also meet formally and informally throughout the year with the Head TA.  

Begining in Fall 2019, all incoming Ph.D. and M.A. students are required to take Math 288A, Pedagogy of Mathematics. The course will prepare graduate students to become successful Teaching Assistants in mathematics courses. The main topics include class management, assessment creation, evaluation and grading, student interaction, introduction to teaching and learning strategies, innovation in education, use of technology, and best practices that promote diversity and inclusion.

In addition, there are mandatory quarterly TA-training activities for all TAs. These cover topics such as: effective and fair grading, section styles, handling homework, attending to problematic students and situations, disabled students, sexual harassment, etc. Voluntary HTML workshops are also scheduled for TAs who want to utilize the internet for instruction.

Many of our graduate students are outstanding, motivated, and gifted teachers, and continue on with teaching after graduation. Small divisional and university awards are given on a yearly basis for excellence in teaching at various levels.