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UWindsor student

Establish GA/TA Network-Foundational Professional Skills for Graduate Students (2010/11)

Published on: Thu, 05/06/2010
Last Modified: Fri, 06/17/2011 - 2:19pm

$17,000 one-time, $36,000 base

This initiative is to establish a widely supported GA/TA Network across campus. The GA/TA Network will facilitate and systematize GA/TA peer mentorship, peer development, and resource sharing in support of improved educational practice, and the collaborative development of graduate students’ professional skills, consistent with the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies statement on professional skills development for graduate students.

The GA/TA network will be established through the joint efforts of the team currently facilitating the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University Teaching Certificate, the GA/TA Learning Community, and faculty contacts for each department involved in the network. A GA/TA Network Interfaculty Committee will provide feedback and communications support regarding the program in regular review meetings once per semester. To ensure the engagement of a wide variety of stakeholders from across the disciplines, the GA/TA network steering committee will provide strategic guidance and liaise with senior administration and other campus groups as necessary. 

Update: November 30, 2010

To date, three members were hired: handbook editor, coordinator, and social media coordinator. The GA/TA Academy was promoted in the Fall and surveys were conducted to determine priorities among GA/TAs. A detailed month by month expected progress was provided. Targets and benchmarks have been set for the fiscal year; the closer their proximity to the present, the more detailed the targets and benchmarks. These are all tentative and will be regularly reviewed by the team with Michael K. Potter. Anticipated spending is close to the full $47,000. The social media and marketing concept was not initially considered in the proposal but is believed to add value to the project. Progress is as per schedule and they believe once in place, it will provide flexible and effective development opportunities for GA/TAs at the University of Windsor, consistent with its goal of becoming a learning-centered university.

Update: April 30, 2011

Since 31 October 2010, the GA/TA Network team has accomplished the following:

  • Established its “brand,” working with the CTL’s Media Coordinator to develop a logo and style-set consistent with GATAcademy and once branding was established, posters were designed and distributed.
  • Increased its social media presence through Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, CLEW and its blog. The social media aspect of the Network has grown faster than anyone on the team had anticipated. Blog posts have been solicited from CTL staff, handbook contributors, librarians, and graduate students.
  • The services of an undergraduate UWindsor webcomic artist were recruited for the blog and handbook.
  • In response to an invitation for contributions to the GA/TA Handbook, 500 people said they were interested in contributing, of which 25 followed through with contributions.
  • The GA/TA Handbook should be complete by July 2011. It has progressed far more rapidly than expected, and the number, scope, and quality of the contributions also exceeded expectations. Much of the Handbook Editor’s time over the past three months has been devoted to editing and formatting.
  • The GA/TA Network has met with representatives (heads, secretaries, graduate advisors) from ~18 departments to date, in an attempt to gather information about departmental needs and open departmental cultures to the possibilities and potential benefits of supporting GA/TA development.
  • One member of the Network presented the Network and its plans to the Graduate Students Society.
  • More than twenty GA/TAs have participated in meetings to discuss the creation and facilitation of educational development workshops in their departments.
  • The GA/TA Network team held seven workshops on three topics in March and April: grading, discussion-based teaching, and translating teaching skills to the workplace.

The GA/TA Network team has presented their work at three conferences in 2011: The Opportunities and New Directions conference at the University of Waterloo, the 5th Annual Windsor-Oakland Teaching and Learning conference, and the University of Windsor Campus Technology Day. Each team member took the lead role in one of these presentations. One member will also present this month at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education conference in Saskatoon.

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