Graduate Assistant Professional Development Program

Many graduate students at the University of Lethbridge are assigned work as a Teaching Assistants during their graduate program. Graduate Teaching Assistants may be required to grade examinations and assignments, instruct laboratory and tutorial classes, lead discussion groups, or teach an undergraduate level class. Graduate assistants are actively encouraged to participate in the GA Professional Development Program sessions throughout the fall and spring semesters, to become adequately equipped for these duties and to acquire vital skills for their future academic careers.

The Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Professional Development Program provides an opportunity for professional development in critical teaching skills, equipping graduate students to carry out their teaching duties effectively. Graduate students who have participated in sessions receive formal recognition of participation in this academic, professional development program via a “Certificate of Participation”. This program addresses essential aspects of good teaching; equipping GAs to carry out their teaching duties efficiently and enhance their teaching skills as their careers advance.

Workshops will address topics such as professional expectations and responsibilities, establishing a productive learning environment, dealing with students, classroom management, grading and assessment, leading discussion groups, preparing a presentation, the multicultural classroom, teaching and learning styles, and other topics of importance to GAs. Graduate students are also strongly encouraged to attend the Teaching Centre's Talking about Teaching and Spark: Teaching Symposium events.

Participation in the GA Professional Development Program and attendance at other Teaching Centre events provides an opportunity for professional development as well as formal recognition of involvement. At the conclusion of the academic year, students who have participated in the Teaching Centre's GA professional development workshops are eligible to receive a “Certificate of Participation” documenting their hours of completed participation in the program. Attendance at other Teaching Centre events may also carry recognition. This certificate can be a valuable addition to a graduate student’s curriculum vitae when applying for academic positions, doctoral programs and post-doctoral placements.

Available Workshops

Teaching as a Professional Responsibility:

This introductory workshop is offered each year, at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. The goal of this workshop is to introduce GA’s to the professional expectations and responsibilities associated with teaching at the University level.

Assessment: Marking and Grading:

This hands-on workshop will develop skills necessary to deal effectively with the assessment of student learning. This workshop addresses understanding grading schemes and their application to samples of student work.

Dealing Professionally with Students:

This discussion-based workshop introduces students to several scenarios involving instructor-student interactions. Time will be spent identifying issues and developing appropriate proactive and reactive responses.

Effective Classroom Management:

This session builds on the previous workshops and provides students with the skills necessary to design and implement an effective classroom management plan. Students will be given opportunities to create their management plans for themselves.

Managing Class Discussions:

In this session, a moderator leads GA’s in a conversation from which they develop principles for engaging students in effective discussions in the classroom, tutorial and seminar settings.

Creating a Lesson, Lecture, or Presentation:

This practical workshop provides students with skills necessary for creating a quality lesson, lecture or presentation plan, and the opportunity to apply those skills to begin producing a well-structured outline for their plan.

The Multicultural Classroom:

A panel-based forum explores issues related to being a graduate student on an ethnically diverse campus and what impact these issues may have on teaching and learning.

Tutorial Sessions

Introduction to Public Speaking:

This successive series of two, two-hour tutorial sessions will introduce participants to the skills necessary to speak confidently in public. During these practical sessions, participants will receive personal coaching and peer-tutoring in conjunction with ample opportunities to practice their public speaking skills.

Using Classroom Technology:

This hands-on tutorial will introduce participants to the efficient use of common technologies found in classrooms on the University of Lethbridge campuses. During this practical hands-on session, participants will acquire the skills necessary to use classroom technologies to enhance their teaching.

Creating an Effective Scoring Guide:

This hands-on tutorial introduces students to the fundamental skills required to create a scoring guide to mark an extended-response question. Students are expected to come to this tutorial session with one or more extended-response questions for which to create a suitable scoring guide and a copy of the "Assessment: Marking and Grading" workbook.

Creating Effective Presentation Materials:

Intended as a follow-up to the workshop on "Creating a Lecture, Lesson or Presentation", this practical tutorial introduces students to the fundamental skills required to identify and prepare materials to enhance the learning outcomes of a lecture, lesson or presentation.