Category Archives: Teaching Assistants

2014 TA Orientation

How To Be a Successful Teaching Assistant at UC San Diego

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Price Center West Ballroom

Make Up Session for the mandatory New Academic Student Employee (ASE) Orientation updated below!

The CTD is excited to announce our annual orientation for new teaching assistants: How To Be a Successful Teaching Assistant at UC San Diego!

At this orientation, new teaching assistants will be able to take advantage of workshops and presentations on how to prepare for being a teaching assistant, such as, the opportunity to have their questions answer by a panel of experienced TAs, workshops specific to their department/school, and meet the staff of the CTD.

Schedule of Events

9:15 – 9:30 am:
Registration – Price Center West Ballroom

9:30 am – 12:30 pm:
How To Be a Successful Teaching Assistant at UC San Diego – Price Center West Ballroom

Who should attend?

We have been informed that the following departments/schools will have their own TA orientation:

  • Communications
  • Computer Science and Engineering (CSE)
  • Psychology
  • Structural Engineering
  • Philosophy
  • Rady School of Management
  • Sociology
  • Biological Sciences
  • Economics
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry

Teaching assistants in these departments/schools do not need to attend our orientation. However, they are still welcome to attend. We’re sure they’ll find it interesting.

Teaching assistants who are unsure whether their department/school has its own TA orientation should contact their Graduate Coordinator directly.

* * *


Monday October 27, 2014

8:00-8:45 AM

Center Hall room 109

Student Check In:  8:00-8:15 AM

UAW Presentation:  8:15-8:45 AM

This is a make-up session of the campus wide mandatory new employee orientation for employees within the ASE unit who are covered by the collective bargaining agreement between the University and the UAW. All new Associates In (In lieu of Teaching Assistant), Associates In (Teaching a Class), Teaching Assistants, Readers, and Tutors must attend the New Academic Student Employee (ASE) Orientation.

1.  If students hired for Fall 2014 as new employees in ASE positions were unable to attend the session on October 1, 2014, then they should attend this make-up session. Those who may be hired for later quarters and are not employed for Fall 2014 cannot be paid to attend and should not attend.  Hourly employees submit their time for compensation.  Other employees have this time considered as part of their duties for the quarter.

2.  Only employees new to the ASE unit and who have never been employed as an ASE by any department or program are required to attend.

3.  During this orientation, the UAW will be provided 30-minutes for orientation purposes without the presence of University officials.  This is in lieu of participation by the UAW in any department-wide or hiring unit-wide orientation.

Spring 2013 Teaching and Learning Workshops

We’re pleased to offer another series of weekly teaching and learning workshops throughout the Spring 2013 quarter. There are some oldies-but-goodies and also some new topics, including

  • how people learn
  • alternatives to lecture
  • peer instruction with clickers
  • writing learning outcomes
  • assessment
  • your digital identity and personal learning network
  • teaching statements

Workshops are every Tuesday from 11 am until 12 noon in Center Hall 316.

(Image: Teach/Learn by duane.schoon on flickr CC)

ScienceBridge Fellows

On January 24, I had the pleasure of giving a workshop to the UCSD ScienceBridge fellows, a group of Ph.D. students who participate in a program that teaches, trains, coaches them to be better science communicators. They do a lot of work creating lessons and presentations about science that are used in local San Diego high schools. If the ScienceBridge website is down (apparently, it has issues), this collection of videos will give you an idea of what they do.

The Fellows are looking ahead to careers in academia so the program organizers, Johnnie Lyman and Shelley Glenn asked me to run a workshop on writing a killer teaching statement. Amongst the tips and suggestions from places like the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt and the Center for Research on Teaching and Learning at the University of Michigan, there are 2 (well, 3) slides that are my favorites.

The CfT at Vandy has a nice list of what a teaching statement should include. Here’s what you get when you dump that list into wordle:

Wordle: Teacing Statement content from Vanderbilt CfT - keywords only


Clearly, a teaching statement should be about learning. Now, by default, wordle removes all the little words like “the”, “is”, “a”. You can force wordle to include them, though. Here’s the Vandy list with all the words:

Wordle: Teaching Statement content from Vanderbilt CfT - all words

Do you notice the difference? Learning is still important but so are you and your. A teaching statement is about YOU: what YOU believe is important, what YOU will do in the classroom, why the hiring committee should remember YOUR name.

My other favorite slide illustrates how to start writing your teaching statement. Recently, my friend Bridgette Clarkston (@funnyfishes on twitter) wrote a nice post about creating “Way Cool Presentations.” It links to some advice from Garr Reynolds (@presentationzen on twitter) about dividing your picture (or slide) into a 3 x 3 grid and placing important features on the 4 “power points” where the grid lines intersect. The dude on the bench and the text I added are sitting close to those. I like the way it turned out.

Step 1: sit and think about what teaching means to you. (Image: Just a thought by gintoxin78 on flickr CC)

Here are the rest of slides I used and some teaching statement terrific resources: