Many UCLA departments require their TAs to complete a TA training seminar designed to prepare them for the TA role. Those seminars are organized, developed, and taught jointly by a faculty member and an experienced graduate student holding the title of a TA Consultant (TAC).
Departmental TA Training Seminars:
The format of the TA training seminar varies by department, and is specifically tailored to fit the discipline. In most departments, this seminar carries the course number 495 and is a requirement for all new TAs at UCLA. TAs enrolled in these seminars will often practice teaching in microteaching sessions, discuss pedagogical strategies, hear advice from experienced TAs, and learn about departmental procedures and guidelines. In addition to teaching techniques that are discipline-specific, new TAs are introduced to general principles of good teaching.
Currently, more than 40 UCLA departments offer a TAC position supported by the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT). The TAC is nominated by their department and hired by CAT. The CAT TA Training Program is not directly involved with the selection of the TACs, even though most TAC positions are funded through CAT. Individual departments are responsible for recruiting and selecting TAC candidates within their own departments.
Departmental application process:
Departments are welcome to submit an application for the TAC Award. We currently do not have the resources to guarantee every department at UCLA a TA Consultant. Therefore, the application process is competitive and departments that submit the highest quality applications are awarded available funding. The application period for 2019-2020 TAC Funding is now open. Awards will be announced early June.
If your department does not currently have a TAC and would like an invitation to submit an application, please contact the Michelle Gaston ([email protected]).
TAC application process:
If you are a graduate student and would like to be considered as a TAC candidate, contact the department chair or the faculty member responsible for the TA Training seminar in the respective department.
THE TAC ROLE:
The TAC’s primary job is to help graduate students in the department learn how to be better teachers, and how to deal with the responsibilities and conflicts that may arise for the TA.
Responsibilities of the TAC:
- Co-develop and teach (or co-teach) the departmental 495 seminar
- Support TAs through consultation, observations, and providing feedback
- Attend the Central Seminar
Leading the 495 and supporting TAs:
The TAC’s primary job is to help graduate students in the department learn how to be better teachers, and how to deal with the responsibilities and conflicts that may arise for the TA. To do this, the TAC leads a 495 TA Training Seminar, in which TAs develop their teaching skills and learn about departmental and university resources and policies. This seminar will be designed and implemented under the guidance of the departmental 495 faculty advisor.
The TAC is also available for individual consultation with the TAs, and may observe classrooms to provide feedback and advice on how to improve teaching skills.
TAC Educational Development Academy:
All TACs are required to attend a TAC Educational Development Academy developed and delivered by the staff of CAT and the Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences (CEILS). This 2.5 day bootcamp guides TACs in thinking about the goals and objectives of being a departmental consultant for new TAs. The discussions center around inclusive classroom practices and the difference between thinking about one's own teaching versus guiding new TAs to become effective instructors. The TAC Educational Development Academy is one of the few opportunities that TACs from all across campus have to meet with the collective objective of raising the pedagogical standards of instruction for undergraduates at UCLA.
Limitations of the job:
TACs should not be involved in activities that are not related to TA training, whether for their department or in any other capacity. For example, TACs should not be involved in administrative tasks, such as hiring TAs or assigning them to positions. The TAC should not be involved in creating course materials for undergraduate classes or other course development activities, including writing tests or organizing course content. Observations or evaluations of a TA made by a TAC should not be part of the TA's official teaching record and should not be used in the process of hiring or assigning TAs to their job positions.
Eligibility for the TAC role:
All TAC applicants must have significant experience as a UCLA Teaching Assistant with an expertise in the discipline of the departments for which they will be employed. All TACs must have attained Teaching Associate or Teaching Fellow status by the time they begin their tenure as TACs, which means they must have a minimum of three teaching quarters at UCLA at the time of appointment.