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Benefits And Challenges Of Training Teaching Assistants

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Conference

2006 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Mentoring Graduate Students

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count

8

Page Numbers

11.268.1 - 11.268.8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/798

Download Count

562

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Paper Authors

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Shashi Marikunte Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

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Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901-6603

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Frances Harackiewicz Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

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Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901-6603

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John Nicklow Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

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Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901-6603

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Lizette Chevalier Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

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Chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901-6603

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Benefits and Challenges of Training Teaching Assistants

Abstract

Graduate teaching assistants (TAs) contribute significantly to laboratory instruction, grading, and, to a lesser extent, classroom instruction in undergraduate engineering education. However, many universities/colleges do not offer formal training for engineering TAs and, instead, rely on generalized workshops and orientations offered by the University or Graduate School. While these workshops are beneficial to teaching assistants, they are too broadly based to address the individual needs of a particular college or departments. To improve the performance of teaching assistants, additional training specific to the needs of the discipline and college is desired. In order to provide the necessary skills and boost the confidence of TAs, the College of Engineering at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, through support from Center for Graduate Teaching Excellence, implemented a training program for graduate teaching assistants. The objective of the program is to enable teaching assistants to acquire teaching and professional skills necessary to succeed in their instructional as well as professional roles.

The training program consisted of a series of seminars, presented by invited speakers, focusing on teaching skills and professional development. Topics for the seminar predominantly focused on ethics, principles of effective teaching, communication skills, grading, student/teacher interaction, intellectual property and professional licensure, etc. Speakers for the seminar consisted of professionals from within the college as well as experts from outside the college and industry. Attendance for the seminar was voluntary. However, to encourage attendance students attending minimum of five seminars received a Certificate of Teaching Preparedness and Professional Development. A Guidebook for Graduate Teaching Assistants is being compiled, which consists of summary for each seminar topic, key observations and frequently asked questions (FAQ’s). The effectiveness of the seminar was measured through a series of evaluations and feedback from students. This paper presents the outcome of this training seminar series and its effectiveness/challenges in meeting the objectives.

Keywords: Graduate Training Seminar, Laboratory Instruction, Professional Development, Teaching Assistant Training, Teaching Methods, Undergraduate Education.

Introduction

Many universities across the country are relying significantly on graduate teaching assistants (TAs) to fulfill their mission of undergraduate education. This reliance on graduate teaching assistants, in general, is due to the reduced appropriations for higher education and has increased significantly over the last decade.1 - 5 It has been reported that the proportion of undergraduate teaching assigned to graduate teaching assistants is between 25 to 38 percent.6 However, many graduate teaching assistants are not adequately prepared for their responsibilities. In order to address this concern many

Marikunte, S., & Harackiewicz, F., & Nicklow, J., & Chevalier, L. (2006, June), Benefits And Challenges Of Training Teaching Assistants Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/798

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