Best Practices

TA Job Duties in the College of Liberal Arts
The TA Job Duties agreement originated from conversations that took place within the TA Taskforce during the 2014-2015 academic year. It is meant to improve communication between TAs and Instructors and enhance the success of our TAs and students by generating conversation and clarifying expectations before the term of employment begins. Graduate students, graduate coordinators, and graduate advisors all had input into the content. As expectations and practices may vary across units, individual units may modify the document as necessary.

The Role of a TA
In this link, the Graduate School discusses the general responsibilities of a TA, job descriptions and expectations, how to become a successful TA and improve as a teacher, and where to turn when confronted with challenges.

Graduate Student Development Program
In collaboration with UT’s academic departments and graduate student support organizations, the Graduate Student Development program, offered by Learning Sciences, provides opportunities to advance graduate students’ pedagogical, academic, and professional progress. The GSD Program is an initiative of the Office of the Provost, the Graduate School, and Learning Sciences.

TA Training
Learning Sciences runs a TA training course, TA Fundamentals (097T), for Liberal Arts students. In addition, graduate coordinators hold a training workshop each fall that is open to TAs from across the college. Individual departments often hold their own TA orientation sessions as well. Check with your departmental graduate coordinator for more information.

Student Evaluation and Course Instructor Surveys
The Course Instructor Survey (CIS) has been administered at the end of each semester since the mid 1960s. These surveys provide instructors, including TAs, with valuable student feedback about classroom experiences and teaching and learning approaches. The surveys are also used to provide feedback to administrators about the effectiveness of an instructor’s teaching and student rapport. For more information on how to administer a survey, click here. Depending on the class, you may want to administer evaluation surveys at various points during the semester, for which the Qualtrics Survey Tool may be a helpful resource.