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 Continuing Lecturer Frank Bauerle and several experienced TAs. New TAs attend a mandatory three-hour workshop before the start of their first quarter that covers such issues as the first day of section, stage fright, and resources. In addition, new TAs meet formally and informally throughout the year with a "Head TA".  

In addition, there are mandatory quarterly TA-training activities for all TAs scheduled to cover such topics as effective and fair grading, section styles, dealing with homework, dealing with problematic students and situations, disabled students, sexual harassment, etc. Voluntary HTML workshops are also scheduled for TAs who want to learn the use of the World Wide Web in 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.