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Refining Teaching and Research Skills


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 Refining Teaching and Research Skills


If you are working as a teaching assistant, you might get some on-the-job training from your department. Similarly, your work as a research/graduate assistant might also function as training in research or administrative work. So, graduate students who do not work on campus are likely to only develop academically. However, even students who work on campus (as GA, RA, TA) should try to enhance their professional skills by getting involved in professional development activities. Once you understand the academic requirements of your department, it is time for you to start working on overall development as a professional.
Relevant workshops (see calendar for current workshops)
    • GTA Academy workshops
    • What GTAs Need to Know About Blackboard
    • The Teaching Toolbox
    • Technology for Effective Teaching workshop 
    • Classroom Management and Dealing with Difficult Students workshop

    • Preventing Plagiarism workshop 
    • The Role of Argument & Evidence in Grad Level Writing 
    • Reading & Responding to Grad Level Scholarship 
Search "teaching," "research" or "moving on" on the PLAN Resources page for links to workshop materials and other resources.
Student Experience


Participants of the 2009-2010 GTA Academy, Amy Gonshak, Leslie Harper, and Shyam Sharma share their experience of attending this workshop series:  

GTA Academy Experience, Amy Gonshak 
     When I saw the opportunity via an email from the Delphi Center to apply for the Graduate Teaching Academy last year, I had three immediate and very simple thoughts: (1) this will help me be a better teacher; (2) this will be awesome on my CV and provide fruitful discussion for future interviews; and (3) this is free and they are going to feed me knowledge and dinner!  Sign me up.  I am so pleased that I did because it more than fulfilled my expectations. As a doctoral student at the dissertation stage (who also lives a full life with a husband and two young daughters) my time is precious. The Graduate Teaching Academy was worth my time.  Throughout the year, I was engaged in a learning community about teaching. I deepened my respect for the profession and the research and scholarship that supports solid teaching practice. I became much more mindful of my choices as a teacher and, as a result, feel more confident moving forward in academia. I also became more self-aware as a learner. 
     An unexpected benefit of the teaching academy was how it has informed my practice as a psychologist in training. Although in a different format with different goals, I have understood for a long time that a significant part of being an effective therapist includes being an effective “teacher.”  Part of being an effective teacher, is being an effective listener and learner oneself. This parallels the process of psychotherapy. Indeed, psychology and teaching are separate and distinct disciplines, but I have found that my experience in the Graduate Teaching Academy has strengthened my skills as a psychologist. Frankly, my experience in the Academy has also strengthened my skills as a parent.
    Perhaps because I have a life philosophy that “everyone is a teacher and everyone is a student,” I seek and pursue opportunities like this one. The Graduate Teaching Academy is a gift offered by the university that if not taken is truly a loss for any scholar in any discipline. 

GTA Academy Experience, Leslie Harper
    The Graduate Teaching Academy is a wonderful resource that all GTAs should utilize.  The Academy provides practical advice that is essential for helping new teachers acclimate to their new role in the front of the classroom.  Many instructors go through years of growing pains to develop the knowledge that GTA participants learn in a few short sessions. 
    One session I found particularly useful was about the development of evaluation rubrics.  Since that session, I have used a rubric for every major assignment.  Using rubrics not only helps me to be fair and comprehensive in my grading, they help my students improve their assignments because they have a better idea of how their work is being judged. 
    In addition to preparing me for the classroom, the Graduate Teaching Academy helped me feel more at ease with my position as an educator.  My teaching and my nerves benefited from having the opportunity to discuss classroom experiences and pedagogy with other graduate students and professors from a variety of disciplines.  I would recommend the Graduate Teaching Academy to any graduate student going into teaching.

GTA Academy, Shyam Sharma
Another Professional Milestone.    It won't be an exaggeration if I say that GTA Academy has been another milestone in my teaching career. The Academy gave me the opportunity to develop/strengthen the larger framework of educational ideas within which to fit my English/Composition teaching skills, as it also helped me update my classical theories of education, think about how to better integrate the elements of critical thinking in my teaching, and learn from the experiences of colleagues from across the disciplines. One key idea that I learned in the Academy, at the very first workshop, was the idea of Fundamental and Powerful Concept. This idea is going to help me define my course goals and convey them effectively to my students. I strongly believe that teachers of any discipline--even if one is teaching math or molecular biology or environmental science--must teach with the awareness of the larger social, cultural, and political worlds from which their students come and those they will encounter in the future; I also believe that education must help students, at least intellectually, challenge and try to change conventional beliefs and assumptions that shape their outlook of the world as well as those of the society, because most of us are unaware of many assumptions and received wisdom  that hinder our understanding, our need to cross artificial borders that societies create: cultural, social, disciplinary, philosophical. Based on this idea of designing a course around an F&P concept, I am currently developing/updating a course in advanced writing which is based on the idea of using multiple perspectives in writing arguments rather than taking one position and defending it. The F&P for this course could be "Education should help you transcend intellectual borders"! The GTA Academy helped me think about the goals, methods, and activities in teaching in more focused and purposeful ways. I wrote a few points at every workshop that I would like to remember in the long run as a teacher--but since I cannot write about all of them here, I will conclude with one question for you: In specific course you are teaching or look forward to teaching, what is/would be the F&P concept guiding your teaching of that course? 





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