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 Fall 2022

February 1, 2023: Using Feedback to Improve Instruction

As educators we are continuously learning and improving our teaching practices. This continuous improvement relies on feedback. In this session we will share ways instructors can collect feedback from students about teaching. Participants will walk away with an example for collecting feedback, discuss how to design effective questions to elicit useful feedback from students on their learning, and reflect on how it can be used to improve instruction to impact instructor and student success.

Presenter/Facilitator: Dr. Stefanie Baier & the GTA TLC

December 14, 2022: Embodied Self-Care: Honoring the Body and Mind Connection

Many of us experience cognitive overload and burnout during this time of year. Intentionally taking care of ourselves is key to our overall wellbeing. In this gathering, we invite you all to join us for some self-care practices that show us how important it is to keep our bodies healthy to nurture a healthy mind. Bring a friend, grab a blanket or pillow to be comfortable. Join us with a cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate and relax. You are in for a treat!

Facilitated by Dr. Stefanie Baier & Hima Rawal and the GTATLC

November 30, 2022: Having Difficult Conversations with Students

This Virtual L&L Best Practices in Teaching session will focus on how to effectively initiate and facilitate conversations about topics including (but not limited to) unexpected grades, learning progress, assumptions, biases, and inappropriate comments with students. In this session we will identify contentious topics, use these as teachable moments, and discuss and develop strategies to add to your educator toolbox. Participants can share their own experiences, pitfalls, and best practices. Anyone interested in this topic is welcome to join!

Facilitated by Dr. Stefanie Baier & Hima Rawal and the GTATLC

November 9, 2022: Learner-Centered Teaching

Effective teaching fosters an inclusive learning environment through organizing instruction to encourage students to be dynamic participants who think critically, and question assumptions and biases, and it draws on students’ lived experiences (Barkley and Howell, 2022). 

In this session we will introduce characteristics and principles of student-centered teaching and share methods and activities that have worked for us to engage students in their own learning, using collaborative techniques, reflective practices, and effective note-taking strategies. After this session participants will be able to use effective learning-centered strategies, describe considerations for inclusivity, and share best practices for engaging students. 

Facilitated by The GTA TLC

October 26, 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 Student and Postdoctoral Instructional Development

October 12, 2022: Small Changes, BIG Difference Makers: Strategies That Inspire Faculty and Student Success

Google ‘student success’ and ‘faculty success’ and you’ll find that there are about two times as many ‘student success’ results as ‘faculty success’ results. To say student success is a hot topic and central to our work as educators is clear and evident. Some, however, would argue that higher education cannot increase student success without focusing on faculty success, including equitable, engaged, active learning strategies that are successful for students and instructors. In other words, we need to focus on instructor and student success together. During this session you will have an opportunity to learn about strategies, resources, tools [including those suggested by students and some created by instructors] that GTAs can easily, and with minimal time, integrate into their teaching practices.

Facilitated by Mary Beth Heeder, Sr. Consultant and Project Manager for Student Learning and Success; Instructor, Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures Department, College of Arts and Letters

Facilitator Bio:

Mary Beth is a Senior Consultant for Student Learning and Success and a Project Manager for the College of Arts and Letters. She also teaches a First Year Writing course for the Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures Department. All of the roles Mary Beth has held during her 40 years working at MSU and her research on the neuroscience of education, mindset science, compassion science, and purpose development are linked to her purpose for discovering what true compassion is and how it impacts all students so we can support them as we accompany them in their learning journey.

September 28, 2022: [pre] Prepping for the [submission] Call

Award, fellowship, grant, and scholarship submission calls often sneak up on us, and can sometimes feel overwhelming depending on the submission criteria one must gather amidst the academic year. With some pre-planning and forward thinking, you can have at least some of those materials ready to jump off your hard drive and into that submission call. Walk with me through my MAGS Excellence in Teaching Award submission journey, asking questions along the way and setting aside some of your own teaching goodies as we go.

Facilitated by: 

T.J. Mesyn
Information and Media & Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education Ph.D. programs
Graduate Assistant—School of Journalism

September 14, 2022: Virtual Lunch and Learn ​Best Practices in Teaching

A few years ago, very few instructors at MSU depended on learning management systems and virtual meetings to interact with their students, much less designed their courses to be delivered online. Due to the long phase of emergency remote learning, teaching at MSU now may involve using many modalities, including face-to-face classroom instruction, synchronous hybrid instruction, blended learning, and fully online courses with or without virtual meetings. This session is NOT intended to inform you about the many ways in which you might be expected to deliver instruction. It is intended to turn the question on its head and ask what affordances and approaches, from the wide range available to us now, will help you to connect to your students and connect your students to each other as you strive to guide them toward the objectives of each course. Drawing on sociocultural theories of learning and social presence as well as practical tips for using D2L, Teams, and other tools, we will discuss your experiences, preferences, questions, and recommendations to each other as you move into the new academic year.  

Facilitated by Dr. Amanda Lanier, Director of the FLT Graduate Programs at MSU 

Presenter Bio:

Amanda Lanier (Ph.D., Georgia State University) is an applied linguist and language teacher educator who focuses on social and cultural aspects of language learning, teacher cognition, and technology in language teaching and learning. She began her career teaching English as a foreign and second language, and she has worked with teachers of over 20 languages and language varieties. Through her role as instructor and director in a fully online graduate program, MSU’s MA in Foreign Language Teaching (, Dr. Lanier has designed a dozen online graduate courses on topics including pedagogical methods, intercultural competence, language acquisition theories, and program development and administration and also become an advocate for online learning and teaching. Learn more, find teacher resources, and read brief articles at 

November 9, 2022