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TA Orientation and Prep Course

The Teaching Assistant Orientation and Preparation Course (GRAD T580) are offered once per year in the fall and are required for all new, incoming graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs)/Teaching Fellows (TFs) and those who started after the fall term and have not yet had the training. Training begins with an orientation program followed by the TA Preparation Course, GRAD T580, a free, one-credit special topics course that meets a number of times during the fall quarter. Please refer to the program syllabus below for more information.

In addition to the orientation and prep course, TAs/TFs are encouraged to attend teaching and learning professional development workshops throughout the year for additional training, professional development, and networking opportunities.

Student Learning Outcomes

Through participation in this orientation and course, TAs/TFs will be able to identify and articulate:

  • The nature and importance of their roles as "teachers";
  • The importance of clear and measured objectives for lessons, tutoring and other activities and the ability to assess them;
  • The importance of designing assessments (formative and summative) that provide evidence of the achievement of lesson goals;    
  • The expectations and needs of a diverse student population and the instructional teaching techniques and strategies for meeting these needs;
  • Effective styles of communication and interactions with instructors, students and peers;
  • The importance of being a reflective practitioner;
  • The many and varied support services available on the University level for them and for their students. These include the Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusive Culture (EIC) / Disability Resources, the Counseling Center, etc.

Fall 2022

TA Orientation

Thursday, September 15, 2022
9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT

Ruth Auditorium
Nesbitt Hall, Room 125
3215 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Attendance is required. Students who are unable to attend the in-person orientation must contact the instructor, Dr. Valerie Klein at vek25@drexel.edu, in advance. They may be able to view the webcast or recording as an alternative. Students who completed the International Teaching Assistant (ITA) summer program are exempt from this orientation.

Agenda

Time Activity
8 - 9 a.m. EDT Check-In & Light Breakfast
9 - 9:30 a.m. EDT Welcome Remarks from Drexel Administrators
9:30 - 10 a.m. EDT Icebreaker Activity
10 - 10:30 a.m. EDT Overview & The Role of a Teaching Assistant
10:30 - 11:30 a.m. EDT

Presentations:

  • Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusive Culture (EIC)
  • Disability Resources
  • Student Conduct & Care
  • Center for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning Excellence (CASTLE) / Pedagogical Readiness Oversight for Future Educations in STEM Subjects (PROFESS)
11:30 - 11:40 a.m. EDT Break
11:40 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT TA Panel: Discussion with Current TAs
12:30 p.m. EDT Lunch

Course Sessions

Attendance is required. Students who are unable to attend the in-person course sessions must contact the instructor, Dr. Valerie Klein at vek25@drexel.edu, in advance. They may be able to view the webcast or recording as an alternative.

Date/Time Class/Assignment

September 15, 2022 (Week 0)
9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT

Ruth Auditorium
Nesbitt Hall, Room 125
3215 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Opening Meeting / TA Orientation (Attendance Required)

Scavenger Hunt Assignment

Friday, October 14 (Week 4)
1 - 3 p.m. EDT

Ruth Auditorium
Nesbitt Hall, Room 125
3215 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Mid-Term Meeting (Attendance Required)
Various, see below Professional Development Workshops (Must participate in at least 1 of 3)

Friday, November 4 (Week 7)
1 - 3 p.m. EST

Ruth Auditorium
Nesbitt Hall, Room 125
3215 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Final Meeting (Attendance Required)

Reflection Assignment Due

Workshops

In addition to the orientation and prep course sessions, all new, incoming TAs/TFs will be required to attend at least one of the following three professional development workshops during the fall quarter, which are also open to the graduate community.

Please register for the one session you plan to attend.

Chris FinnanWorkshop 1: Why Aren't Undergrads as Interested in This Stuff as I Am? How to Motivate Students

Facilitator: Christopher Finnan, EdD, Clinical Professor, General Business, LeBow College of Business

You've devoted your life to your discipline and find it fascinating, but some of your students may be less than enthusiastic about it. In this session you will learn principles and strategies for inspiring motivation and instilling the will to work in your students.

Friday, September 30, 2022
12 - 1 p.m. ET
Virtual via Zoom

Register

Johanna InmanWorkshop 2: Learning is Not a Spectator Sport: Get Students in the Game with Active Learning!

Facilitator: Johanna Inman, EdD, Director, Teaching and Learning Center

The research on how learning works has shown that students learn better and retain more when they are directly involved in their learning. In this workshop, TAs will be presented with the principles of active and collaborative learning, discover a few time-tested active learning techniques, and have the opportunity to brainstorm ways they can apply this research to their own teaching contexts.

Friday, October 21, 2022
12 - 1 p.m. ET

Graduate Student Lounge
Main Building, Room 010A, Lower Level
3141 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Register

Valerie Klein - Drexel University Assistant Clinical Professor for MS in Mathematics Learning and Teaching and MS in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum: Advanced StudiesWorkshop 3: How to Grade Effectively without Losing Sleep (or Your Mind)

Facilitator: Valerie Klein, EdD, Associate Clinical Professor, School of Education, and Interim Associate Director, Teaching and Learning Center

One of the toughest parts of being a TA is the grading process. TAs need to balance fairness with adherence to learning objectives, while allowing time for their own work and other life obligations. This interactive session will include a discussion of various grading strategies, how to handle grading disputes, and techniques for time management or grading responsibilities.

Friday, November 4, 2022
11 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET

Graduate Student Lounge
Main Building, Room 010A, Lower Level
3141 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Register

Course Materials