College of Liberal Arts Teaching Assistant (TA) Orientation

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

1-3pm

RLP 1.302B  (Patton Hall, RLP, was formerly known as CLA)

All entering graduate students who will serve as teaching assistants in the College of Liberal Arts should plan to attend the COLA TA Orientation, sponsored by the COLA Dean’s office. This session will provide guidance on the responsibilities and rights of teaching assistants in their joint roles as employees and students at The University of Texas at Austin. It will also provide practical information on how best to support undergraduates and faculty in the classroom. Topics will include: ethics, boundaries, and misconduct, teaching strategies, supporting a diverse student population, and common classroom scenarios.

Refreshments will be served.

 

Graduate Student Professional Development Opportunities

The Faculty Innovation Center (FIC) has several great teaching development opportunities for graduate students this semester, including:

(1) Canvas Training for TAs

Are you a graduate teaching assistant (TA) who has been tasked with maintaining your course Canvas page?  Has your instructor put you in charge of setting up the course gradebook on Canvas?  Would you like to learn tools to grade more efficiently using Canvas?  These topics and many more will be covered in a Canvas workshop designed specifically for TAs, with two available sign-up dates, Wednesday, January 24 from noon-1:00 p.m. and Thursday, January 25 from 5:00-6:00 p.m.  Register here (if you have difficulty registering, send an email to kkondoff@austin.utexas.edu confirming which session you will attend).

(2) Teaching Preparation Series 

Now in its third year, the Sanger Center and the Faculty Innovation Center offer a professional development opportunity for graduate student instructors who are appointed in TA positions that don’t involve classroom instruction (TA roles that involve grading, holding office hours, attending lecture).  This program provides participants with basic training in grading, communicating effectively with students and faculty members, and fostering self-directed learning in their students.  In addition, it will allow participants to observe, practice, receive feedback on, and reflect upon classroom teaching techniques.

We are offering four sessions this semester, and students can sign up for any or all of them.  Please note that while these sessions are pitched towards non-classroom TAs, they are open to all!  Students who complete three sessions will receive a certificate of completion.  The first session is Thursday, January 25 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in SZB 450.  Find more information and apply here.

(3) Teaching Fundamentals for International Graduate Students 

This series of three interactive, engaging workshops is tailored specifically to international graduate students who are interested in developing their teaching skills.  The sessions cover a range of topics, including strategies for connecting with students, facilitating effective classroom discussions, and motivating students.  Students who attend all three sessions will receive a certificate of completion.  Learn more about the sessions and apply here.

(4) ITA/UTA Connect Program

Are you an international graduate student who wants to know more about UT undergraduate student life?  This selective program connects international teaching assistants (ITAs) with senior undergraduate teaching ambassadors (UTAs) in order for ITAs to gain insight into the experience of being a UT undergraduate student.  ITAs will meet with UTAs at least four times (two one-on-one meetings, and two in group settings) throughout the spring semester to gain first-hand exposure to facets of undergraduate life such as undergraduate advising, residence hall life, and extracurricular activities.  In addition, ITAs will receive feedback on two practice teaching sessions from undergraduate students and pedagogy experts.  Learn more about the program and apply here.  The deadline for applications is Wednesday, January 24.

2017 COLA TA Orientation

August 28, 2017

CLA 0.126

1-3pm

All entering graduate students who will serve as teaching assistants in the College of Liberal Arts should plan to to attend the 2017 COLA TA Orientation.This condensed session, sponsored by the COLA Dean’s office, will provide guidance on the responsibilities and rights of teaching assistants in their joint roles as employees and students at The University of Texas at Austin. It will also provide practical information on how best to support undergraduates and faculty in the classroom. Topics will include: ethics, boundaries, and misconduct, de-escalating disruptive situations, and supporting students in distress.  

TA Handbook Overview

Graduate students are vital to the teaching mission of The University of Texas at Austin. Through academic employment as Teaching Assistants (TAs), they work alongside accomplished professors and other instructors of record to synthesize material and gain a deeper understanding of disciplinary content and methods. TAs master instructional skills and empower younger students by providing group and individual assistance to undergraduates and serving as role models. As academic employees, TAs play an essential role in the rich learning environment of the Forty Acres.

The College of Liberal Arts recognizes the valuable contributions of TAs and supports them in their dual roles as graduate students and university employees. Managing the demands of these two types of professional training can be challenging. Whereas individual departments are valuable sources of program-specific information, the Liberal Arts TA Handbook provides a general guide to the policies and procedures, as well as the rights and responsibilities, governing TA employment at The University of Texas at Austin. We encourage TAs to use this handbook and take advantage of the many resources available on campus.

We are grateful to the members of our TA Task Force and our graduate coordinators, who were instrumental in exploring needs and practices across the College of Liberal Arts and who initiated the compilation of this resource. The TA Handbook is a work in progress, and we invite further contributions to its content – contact Erica Whittington with suggestions at whittington@austin.utexas.edu.