New Faculty Workshop — Working with Graduate Students

Last Tuesday new faculty met to discuss supervising teaching assistants, research assistants, and graduate students in various disciplines. The workshop was co-sponsored by the UH Commission on Women, Human Resources, and the Center for Teaching Excellence.  Dr Julia Wellner of Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Dr. James Zebroski of the Department of English, and Ms. Aymara Boggiano of the CTE shared their experience working with graduate students over the years. 16 other faculty attended this discussion in the Faculty Senate offices in 306 M. D. Anderson Library.

Dr. Wellner emphasized that faculty should establish a firm, yet open relationship. She explained that a strict professional engagement that shared concerns about the graduate student’s community worked best for both parties. Sharing one’s interests is different than sharing one’s life, for example. She also stressed that students should be encouraged to lead when they need to lead.

Dr. Zebroski suggested that teaching assistants and research assistants be introduced to the CTE’s learning modules to address many concerns with classroom management and teaching strategies. Dr. Zebroski addressed the benefits of a first-semester orientation course that demonstrates research-based teaching methods. He also recommended that faculty should not make surprise observations for teaching assistants, but schedule a pre- and post-observation meeting to discuss plans and reflection on the classroom time. When mentoring teaching assistants, faculty should have the TA focus on just one or two items and encourage the observation of other TA’s in the department. Finally, he encouraged reflection for both the TA and the supervisor — “making visible what is going on in their head.”

Aymara Boggiano, Director of TA Resources in the Center for Teaching Excellence presented this slide presentation, with commentary.

Supervising Graduate Students


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