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MSU Announces New Director of the Teaching Assistant Program

Melissa McDaniels to assume position at start of year


Melissa McDaniels, PhD, has been chosen as the new Director of the Teaching Assistant Program and Assistant Dean in the Graduate School at Michigan State University. The staffing announcement was made by Karen Klomparens, Dean of the Graduate School, this week. The appointment will be effective January 1, 2013. “MSU is fortunate to have Dr. McDaniels in this role,” says Dean Klomparens. “Her research was on the professional development of early career faculty, so this is a natural extension of her area of expertise. We look forward to working with her on TA development as well as on the wider set of career and professional development activities in the Graduate School.”

As Director of the teaching assistant program, McDaniels will be charged with overseeing and implementing graduate student training for teaching roles, a task she takes very seriously. “I see this role as critical to Michigan State’s mission to provide high quality graduate and undergraduate education,” she says. “Teaching assistants are often the first contact that undergraduate students have with an area of study. A graduate student’s first experience in the classroom as a TA can have a significant impact on his or her desire to teach in the postsecondary classroom during their career.” McDaniels is looking forward to collaborating with students, faculty and administrators to promote the pedagogical development of graduate students and postdocs at MSU.

The Teaching Assistant Program was started at MSU in the late 1980s to orient international teaching assistants. In the early 1990s the scope of the program was expanded to offer training to all teaching assistants. The program provides orientation programming for approximately 300 new teaching assistants each year. The program also provides limited language instruction for international teaching assistants, and professional development workshops and activities for teaching assistants, graduate students and postdocs interested in teaching and learning and careers as faculty.

McDaniels is a scholar of higher education, studying how institutions and individuals can promote inclusive excellence in teach, learning, student success and faculty retention. She is widely published on topics of graduate student and faculty career development.

She currently serves Michigan State University as Director of the National Science Foundation Advancing Diversity through the Alignment of Policies and Practices grant (ADAPP-ADVANCE) program in the Office of the Provost. Prior to taking the position with ADAPP she was a research associate in the College of Education’s Center for the Scholarship of Teaching. She has also held positions at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the Association for the Study of Higher Education, Northeastern University, Boston University, Boston College and the National Geographic Society. She consults nationally and internationally on issues of college teaching and learning, mentoring, organizational change, and graduate student and faculty development.

The Graduate School at Michigan State University serves as an advocate for graduate education to the university and beyond, and works to enhance the quality of graduate education at MSU in all its diverse dimensions. The teaching assistant program is operated by the Graduate School.

Last Modified: 12/19/2012

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