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Teaching with Graduate Teaching Assistants: Tips for Promoting High Performance Instructional Teams

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

But I'm a Loner! Expanding capability and creativity by examining effective alliances

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

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Paper Authors


Shannon Ciston University of California, Berkeley

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Shannon Ciston is a Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Education in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Ciston holds degrees in chemical engineering from Northwestern University (PhD) and Illinois Institute of Technology (BS). She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in technical communications and applied pedagogy, and conducts engineering education research.

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Colin Cerretani University of California, Berkeley


Marjorie S Went UC Berkeley

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Dr. Went is a lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UC Berkeley. In teaching the freshman course "Introduction to Chemical Engineering Design" she has worked with teams comprised of 4 to 14 first-year graduate student instructors.

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Many engineering faculty work with graduate teaching assistants (TAs) to conduct their classes. An effective partnership and clear delineation of responsibilities can have a meaningful positive impact on the teaching and learning experience. This paper provides guidelines for working with graduate teaching assistants by applying the five principles of high-performance engineering teams described by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith, and adapted by Karl Smith and others for collaborative learning: face-to-face promotive interaction, positive interdependence, group and individual accountability, teamwork skills, and group processing. Perspectives are shared from engineering faculty who work with graduate teaching assistants in lecture, laboratory, and professional skills courses, and consideration is paid to small teams (1-3) and large teams (8+) of teaching assistants. Best practices in organization, clarity of expectations, leadership, communication, and emotional intelligence emerge.

Ciston, S., & Cerretani, C., & Went, M. S. (2016, June), Teaching with Graduate Teaching Assistants: Tips for Promoting High Performance Instructional Teams Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26057

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