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Graduate Student Teaching

There are many resources to assist new and returning Teaching Assistants (TAs) with developing lesson plans and improving their teaching skills. 

The Graduate School has a number of opportunities for TAs, the most important of which is the New TA Conference, held annually at the start of the academic year. 

The Searle Center for Advanced Teaching and Learning also offers numerous training sessions and workshops, as well as classroom observations and peer-feedback. 

The Department has also created a Teaching Committee, whose members, upon successful completion of the year-long program, receive a Graduate Student Teaching Certificate with a $500 award.  

Graduate students interested in receiving department recognition of their teaching must achieve the following requirements. Participation in the Searle Graduate Teaching Certificate Program, which might optionally be completed for additional recognition, would also fulfill some of the requirements for department recognition.

To pursue the award:

To complete the award, the student must complete the following steps:

In order to be eligible for recognition, students must commit to serve on a departmental teaching committee, which will operate as follows:

  1. Members of the committee will be all graduate students currently pursuing the department teaching recognition, any previous awardees who would like to continue their involvement, any current Searle Center Graduate Teaching Fellow(s), and the Commune Co-Chairs (ex officio) and the Directors of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies (ex officio).
  2. Graduate student members of the committee will be responsible for coordinating at least one professional development experience or service project for fellow graduate students.

The Commune also provides resources for TAs as they prepare their discussion sections.  The Political Science TA Resource Website is updated quarterly with new materials, and is available through Blackboard by request to the Commune.  You can view a presentation about ‘Teaching Sensitive Subjects’ by current student Erin Lockwood.

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