All fellows are expected to design and execute a discipline-specific project that contributes to the pedagogical development of graduate students in their department. Review examples below.
Benjamin Chiles, Interaction and Social Influence
My goal for my project was to open up discussions about pedagogy in my department, and what better way is there to bring graduate students together than over lunch? In order to foster the sharing of best practices and facilitate collaboration on education, I established a lunch series devoted to the subject of teaching over the winter and spring quarters, covering topics like: "things I wish someone had told me about teaching," troubleshooting areas of difficulty participants have experienced, and recommendations for graduate students about to TA or solo teach for the first time. Graduate students of all levels of teaching experience come together to share some of the things they've learned, and, hopefully, establish some new connections. My hope is that this open discussion about teaching will become a lasting tradition in my department.
Brian Clites, Religious Studies
I designed three collaborative workshops, offered throughout the year to confront the most prevalent challenges faced by teaching assistants leading discussion sections for Religious Studies. The workshop topics were selected in consultation with the program's graduate student association and included: (1) Overview: Strategies for Facilitating a Discussion Section; (2) Experimenting With New In-Class Activities; and (3) Growing as a Teacher and Cultivating Your Classroom Persona. I also worked with graduate students, faculty, and the director of graduate studies to evaluate departmental procedures and create the first-ever set of departmental TA guidelines, to be ratified by the entire faculty and included in the 2013-14 Religious Studies graduate student handbook.
Jennifer Hobbs, Physics and Astronomy
Four current and former TAs (ranging from 1-5 years experience) served on a panel geared toward current 1st years (who will be TAing next year) to help them begin thinking about their role in the learning process. Being a teaching assistant is more than a degree requirement or means of earning support for graduate school. It's a transition into the role of an instructor and even shapes how you understand your own learning. Your first TA assignment can be exciting, but also, perhaps, a bit intimidating. By envisioning themselves in this new role and anticipating possible challenges and opportunities, they will hopefully be more prepared when their first day of class arrives.