Graduate Teaching Assistant Teaching & Learning Community (GTA TLC)

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GTA Teaching & Learning Community (GTA TLC)

This Learning Community engages educators with evidence-based practices and pedagogy to teach in accessible and inclusive ways. Educators, including Graduate Teaching Assistants, Faculty and Staff share pedagogy, best practices, and holistic educator and student success strategies. This group strives to practice a culture of care and to build community and meets twice a month throughout the year.

GTAs and any teaching enthusiast can volunteer to present on topics and practices that are relevant to teaching undergraduate and graduate students and on identified needs in this space. Sample topics are Communicating about difficult topics, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Using High Impact Practices, Rethinking the Syllabus, Engaging Students using Zoom, Recognizing Mental Health challenges using Kognito, Metacognitive Strategies.

GTA Teaching & Learning Community Virtual Lunch and Learn Sessions and Workshops Spring 2022

July 20, 2022: Keep the Momentum Going: CCT & Teaching Professional Development Scaffolding Session

Whether you are working on the competencies for your Certification in College Teaching, your Diversity Statement, or your Teaching Philosophy Statement, please join us for a scaffolding session to answer any questions you may have to complete your work. Please come to this session prepared with questions, identify your needs so you can set goals to complete your work, and we will provide resources, support and feedback.

Facilitated by Dr. Stefanie Baier and Dr. Rique Campa

June 29, 2022: Writing Your Teaching Philosophy Statement

A teaching philosophy statement demonstrates your teaching beliefs, values, use of evidence-based teaching and assessment practices for effective instruction. Many jobs, especially academic positions, ask applicants to submit a “teaching philosophy statement” with their application materials. You also need a teaching statement for Teaching Award applications at institutional and regional levels. Additionally, if you intend to receive a Certification in College Teaching from MSU, your teaching statement is an important part of your teaching portfolio.

In this workshop, we will walk you through the process of recognizing your teaching values and collecting evidence of effective teaching. At the end of this session, you will have a working draft of your teaching statement, which will empower you to continue your efforts toward intentional and effective teaching.

Facilitated by Dr. Stefanie Baier
Director, Graduate and Postdoctoral Instructional Development

June 15, 2022: Make it Stick: Science-based Learning Strategies

In this session several Graduate Teaching Assistants from various disciplines will discuss evidence-based strategies that can be used to make learning meaningful and relevant. We will also discuss common misunderstandings of learning which influence how we learn and teach. The discussion will be based on a book titled “Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning” by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel.

Facilitated by Ellen Searle, Chase Bruggeman, Hima Rawal, and Seth Hunt

May 25, 2022: Creating Teaching E-Portfolio

An electronic portfolio is a great way to showcase one’s experience, skills and research when building one’s career. It can be used to document one’s growth as educator, researcher, and professional. In addition, prospective employees can directly view a professional profile through accessing a personalized link. In this workshop, participants will explore platforms available to build their e-portfolio, especially to highlight their Certification in College Teaching. They will walk through simple steps of one e-portfolio platform and start drafting their own to expand on or to fine-tune what they have already created.

Facilitated by Dr. Stefanie Baier, Dr. Natalie Vandepol, and Hima Rawal

April 27, 2022: Mindful Relaxation Practices

Self-care is the key to our overall wellbeing. In this Lunch and Learn Session, we invite you all to join us, share and practice best self-care strategies to get you through the last couple weeks of the semester. Bring a friend, grab a blanket or pillow to be comfortable, brew a cup of tea and relax. Perhaps have a few index cards and a pen for notes to write down some of your new ideas and practices.

Facilitated by the GTA TLC

April 13, 2022: Effectively Using Tech Tools to Enhance Student Learning

In this virtual learn and learn session, Tianyi Kou-Herrema will share some of the technology tools and strategies to use them effectively for student success.

Presenter: Tianyi (Titi) Kou-Herrema is a doctoral candidate in the German Program in the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures at MSU. She is the winner of University Excellence-in-Teaching Award 2022. Please read more about Titi here.

March 30, 2022: DEI Statement Workshop

In this workshop, we will walk you through theprocess of recognizing your identities andpositionality, and the role of DEI in your teaching,research, service, and community efforts. At the endof this session, you will have a working draft youcan confidently refine, and which will empower youto continue your efforts toward DEI in any space.

Presenters: Dr. Stefanie Baier & Hima Rawal

March 16, 2022: Assessment 102: Assessment in Practice 

This is the second part of our two Assessment sessions in which Graduate Teaching Assistants from various disciplines will share how they align learning outcomes with assessments after using engagement strategies to maximize learning. Attendees will be able to articulate considerations for developing assessments, rubrics, and other methods to measure learning. They will also be able to immediately apply these assessment practices in their respective instructional environments. 

Seth Hunt is a doctoral student in the Department of Plant Biology at Michigan State University. 

Please read more about the presenters here: GTAP Advisory Group 


February 23, 2022: Assessment 101: Aligning Learning Outcomes with Assessment and Learning Activities 

This is the first part of our two Assessment sessions in which we will review how to write effective Learning Outcomes (Los) based on Bloom's Taxonomy. We will discuss the importance of LOs when creating assessments and learning activities. Attendees will write a learning outcome in their respective discipline, design a learning activity and assessment tasks, and get feedback from fellow GTAs.  

Facilitated by Dr. Stefanie Baier and the GTA TLC


February 9, 2022: Teach Students How to Learn 

This talk is based on a book "Teach students how to learn" by McGuire and McGuire (2015). The book explains how we can teach our students to become better learners, such that they become very comfortable with the material, and this would improve their grades as well. The book summarizes the strategies good learners follow; it also points out why people are not able to develop interest in the material. In this talk, Arya Gupta will discuss those strategies (both for teachers (to incorporate while teaching) and students (to use as learners), along with the research findings of the effectiveness of those strategies. Some of the other research findings discussed are outside of the book but can be easily found.   

Presenter Bio:
Arya Gupta is a doctoral student with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Michigan State University. His current research interests include Distributed Systems, Graph Theory, Theoretical Computer Science. He loves teaching Mathematics and Computer Science. With prior service for teaching assignments (as a TA) for three years, he has been serving as a GTA with CSE for more than one year at MSU (4 semesters). Arya is also a GTA Program Advisory Group Member.


January 26, 2022: Effectively Engaging Students in their Learning

As educators we are always looking for ways to engage students and help them consolidate their learning as well as critically reflect on their learning. In this session we will introduce five methods you can use in the online and face-to-face setting. We will start building a repertoire of these practices starting with a gallery walk, (virtual) sticky notes, short reflection activities and we welcome everyone to share their effective student engagement opportunities. After this session participants will be able to use up to five engagement strategies, describe considerations for inclusivity, and share best practices for engaging students.

Facilitated by Dr. Stefanie Baier (Director of Instructional Development for Graduate Students and Postdocs) and the GTA TLC


January 12, 2022: Student Support & Behavior Intervention

This session will focus on how The Office of Student Support & Accountability (OSSA) can support student success by ensuring a civil and inclusive learning environment based on academic and personal integrity. Participants will learn: how to support student learning in the classroom while also supporting student rights and responsibilities; how to effectively intervene and/or confront disruptive behavior; and how, when and where to seek assistance as needed.

Presenter Bios:
Rick Shafer has 35 years of higher education administration experience with a focus on student behavior and conflict resolution. Rick is also a certified restorative justice trainer for the International Institute of Restorative Practices, the University of San Diego Restorative Justice Center, and is a co-founder and leader of the RJ@MSU “movement”.
Josh Durbin has 15 years of higher education administration experience with a focus on residential education, student behavior and conflict resolution. Among his many duties at MSU, Josh convenes the Behavioral Intervention Team and coordinates our student conduct system.


January 5, 2022: Responding to Student Wellbeing Concerns

Students today face increasing pressures that can lead to emotional distress, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even thoughts of suicide. As faculty and staff, we can take small steps that make a big difference. MSU has adopted an online conversation simulation program, Kognito for Faculty & Staff, to help us learn to notice signs of distress, use techniques to discuss our concerns, and, if necessary, refer students to appropriate resources. Please join us for this two-part training.

Facilitated by Dr. Sheila Marquardt


January 5, 2022: Academic Dishonesty Prevention & Intervention

In this session Dr. Shannon Lynn Burton (MSU Ombudsperson) will present key strategies in discussing the importance of academic integrity, as well as in preventing misconduct, both in its more traditional forms, as well as in the digital space. Additionally, university policies and procedures in responding to misconduct will be explored to assist you in navigating these conversations. Participants will have the chance to discuss scenarios and think about strategies for how to communicate clearly with students.

Facilitated by Dr. Shannon Lynn Burton


January 5, 2022: What is in Your Syllabus? A Syllabus Discussion

Syllabi are considered the recipe for success for students, but they also aid instructor success. In this session, advanced GTAs will discuss how they use the syllabus checklist, share best practices and considerations for developing syllabi. Participants will identify important elements of a syllabus, explain the importance of using clear language in helping students of all backgrounds succeed, and articulate how they can communicate expectations and a culture of care.

Facilitated by the GTA TLC