TA Professional Development - First-Time TAs (International)

 

 

English Language Testing

MSU candidates for TA appointments who were required to demonstrate English proficiency as a condition for regular admission to Michigan State University must also demonstrate that they meet a minimum standard of proficiency in spoken English before they can be assigned teaching work that involves oral communication with undergraduate students. Those ITAs who received a waiver of the TOEFL or of other accepted tests of English proficiency for admission, must also meet the requirement of proficiency in spoken English before they are assigned to teaching work that involves oral communication with undergraduate students. To meet this requirement, those ITAs may use any of  three options listed below: 

Individual exceptions from these requirements (on a case-by-case basis in rare circumstances) will be considered by the Graduate School in consultation with the ELC upon the request of the department and with the endorsement of the Associate Dean of the College.

The MSU Speaking Test will be administered to qualified candidates at MSU on the following dates:

2019

  • July 15, 2019: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • August 14, 2019: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • August 15, 2019: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • December 11, 2019: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • December 12, 2019: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

All test-takers will be notified of the test locations when they sign up for the test.

Students may only take the MSU Speaking Test if they are requested to do so by their home department. Registration is required. Qualified students may register for the MSU Speaking Test, starting three weeks before the test date.

If you are looking for information about the MSU Speaking Test please see the  English Language Center's website.

Please see the  MSU Policy Affecting International Teaching Assistants for more information about testing and meeting the minimum standard of proficiency in spoken English for TAs.

For more information about the International Teaching Assistant Program and support courses, please see the  ITA Program website or contact Alissa Cohen or Laura Ramm, ITA Program Coordinators, at  ITAprogram@elc.msu.edu.

Summer English Program

This program is for incoming graduate students in Chemistry, Mathematics and Statistics only.

Monday, July 22 - Tuesday, August 13, 2019 — 9:00am - 12pm daily, Monday - Friday

The Summer English Program (SEP) is a collaboration between the Graduate School, English Language Center, and the departments of Chemistry, Mathematics, and Statistics.  Participation in SEP is limited to those incoming international graduate students selected by the departments of Chemistry, Mathematics, and Statistics.

SEP is designed to help new international teaching assistants further develop skills in spoken English, cross-cultural communication, and the university classroom. This four-week intensive summer course provides systematic practice in three areas of English relevant to classroom instruction:

  • English pronunciation
  • English used for presentations, and
  • English for “class management”

Course content emphasizes the communicative and compensatory strategies necessary to enhance teaching effectiveness as well as the linguistic and sociolinguistic functions of classroom instruction for improved instructor-student interactions, including language appropriateness and expectations. 

Departments are responsible for registering TAs for the Summer English Program. Graduate Program Directors and Secretaries, please see this link for more information: https://grad.msu.edu/tap/SEPGPDinfo.

ITAs attending SEP will be pre-registered for the MSU Speaking Test.  The Testing Office will contact students directly through their MSU email accounts with test details and further instructions.  The MSU Speaking Test administrations are Wednesday, Aug. 14 and Thursday, Aug. 15. Please see the Testing website for more information, https://elc.msu.edu/tests/msu-speaking-test/

New TA Institute

Friday, August 16, 2019 — 7:00 am - 5:00 pm — B115 Wells Hall

The New Teaching Assistant Institute is a university-wide orientation for graduate teaching assistants, in partnership with academic and support units on campus.  It is up to departments to decide to require or recommend that their students attend this program (*graduate students should ask their graduate program directors if they are unsure about participating). All attendees must register and are expected to attend the entire day.

The deadline for registration is Friday, August 9, 2019 at 5pm - no walk-ins will be allowed. 

Graduate students will start the day engaging in breakout sessions with trained facilitators talking about their important roles in undergraduate student success at MSU, and participating in student success case study analysis. They will be introduced to the important components of the educational design process (establishing learning objectives, assessing learning outcomes, and engaging students). Recognizing the dual role that TAs hold as teacher and student, participants will learn about various resources for self-care including mental health and safety. Finally, they will be introduced to important policies that pertain to students, including hands-on problem solving strategies for contextualizing these policies in practice. The final schedule will be posted on https://grad.msu.edu/tap/orientations by July 1, 2019.

To register visit the  2019 New TA Institute and International TA Orientation registration page.

International Teaching Assistant Orientation 

Friday, August 16, 2019 — 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm — The Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology, D-101 Wells Hall  | Saturday, August 17, 2019 — 8:00 am - 5:00 pm — B-122 Wells Hall

The International Teaching Assistant Orientation program will begin Friday evening with a special reception just for International TAs. Individuals who register must come to both the Friday evening and Saturday program. Topics covered include: cultivating effective relationships with students and instructors of record; building learning communities in your classroom; U.S. classroom culture (an undergraduate perspective); the TA Role (a graduate student perspective). Most importantly, attendees will engage in role plays and teaching practice within small groups of TAs and undergraduate students.

It is up to departments to decide to require or recommend that their students attend this program (*graduate students should ask their graduate program directors if they are unsure about participating). All attendees must register and are expected to attend the entire day. The deadline for registration is Friday, August 9, 2019 at 5pm - no walk-ins will be allowed. The final schedule will be posted on https://grad.msu.edu/tap/orientations by July 1, 2019.

To register visit the  2019 New TA Institute and International TA Orientation registration page.

Considering which orientation to attend?

The New TA Institute has been designed to intentionally focus on and consider important MSU policies (like Academic Integrity) and topics (like Graduate Health and Wellness) related to teaching and learning here at MSU. In addition to learning about the policies and what they entail, Teaching Assistants attending the orientation will also engage with strategies meant to highlight ways in which they can integrate and contextualize these policies into their own teaching and learning contexts. Finally, the New TA Institute seeks to provide Teaching Assistants an essential foundation for the educational design process, while discussing the ways in which this process dynamically changes across teaching roles and environments.

Though designed to complement the New TA Institute (i.e. discussion around policies, strategies, and design processes will be similar), the International TA Orientation is meant to specifically welcome and support International Teaching Assistants here at MSU. As such, at this orientation, participants will work closely with trained facilitators in engaging in a variety of topics related to the unique needs of international graduate students teaching at MSU (including their transition to the MSU teaching and learning context and broader MSU and US culture).

If you are an International Teaching Assistant new to MSU or new to teaching at MSU, we encourage you to attend both the New TA Institute and the International TA Orientation, as the programs have been designed to be distinct but complementary.

If you are not an international TA but are new to teaching at MSU, we highly encourage you to register for just the New TA Institute.

Teaching Toolkit Tailgate

Monday, August 26, 2019 — 1:00pm - 3:00pm — The Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology, D-101 Wells Hall

Join us for the Teaching Toolkit Tailgate, a relaxed open house-style event where educators (faculty, staff, academic advisors, teaching assistants, and undergraduate learning assistants) come to engage in community around teaching, and have the opportunity to walk away with practical resources on topics such as: first-day of class strategies, student engagement, difficult dialogs, student assessment and more. 
Compete the RSVP form by Thursday, August 22nd to give us a sense of how many people will be joining us.

#iteachmsu talks

Monday, August 26, 2019 — 2:00pm - 5:00pm — Wells Hall (see specific workshop details below)

The #iteachmsu Talks are a series of workshop sessions focusing on a variety of topics centered around teaching and learning. Sessions will vary in style, facilitators, and size, but are intended to create a space for dialogue around teaching and practice for student success. 

Please register by Thursday, August 22, 2019 using the #iteachmsu Talks registration form

Optimizing Your Mentoring Relationships — Tips for Getting Off to a Good Start

10:00 am – 11:15 am, A-116 Wells Hall

Facilitated by Dr. Melissa McDaniels 

Are you a faculty member new to mentoring graduate students and/or postdocs? Are you a graduate student and/or postdoc wanting to optimize your relationships with research mentors? If you answered yes to one or both of these questions, please join Dr. Melissa McDaniels for this workshop to learn more about the importance of research mentoring, and to learn about tools that both the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation are disseminating through grant networks. Participants will learn about other opportunities this fall and winter in which they can learn more about optimizing research mentoring relationships to promote inclusion and scholarly productivity. Participants will walk away with tools they can begin using now!

 

MSU Syllabi: Promoting Equity, Fairness and Dialogue in the Classroom

9:00 am – 10:30 am, A-124 Wells Hall

Facilitated by Dr. Shannon Burton

    • Do you struggle with engaging students in the classroom?
    • Do you have students pressuring you with questions related to your classroom policies?
    • Have you had students concerned with your competence as an instructor?

On August 26th, 2019, the Office of the University Ombudsperson will be presenting a syllabus workshop for faculty, instructors and their supervisors on creating a syllabus that provides a strong foundation in fairness and equity for the learning environment.  Grounded in the Code of Teaching Responsibility, strong syllabi promote student belonging, foster positive faculty-student engagement before a course begins, and diminish faculty workload. In this workshop, we will discuss how syllabi act as a roadmap for students, serve as conduits to trust in the classroom, as well as how syllabi prevent classroom conflict.

Additionally, there will be limited opportunities for individual one-on-one consultations with the Office of the University Ombudsperson on your syllabus design after the workshop. To schedule a one-on-one, please e-mail ombud@msu.edu.

Active Shooter and Emergency Response Training

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 — 9:00am - 10:30am | Friday, September 13 — 9:00am - 10:30am — MSU Union, Room UB 50

Facilitator: Lt. Matt Merony, Michigan State University Police Department
In response to incidents of violence on campuses nationally, the MSU Police Department offers a workshop to focused on proactive and reactive strategies in the event of an emergency at MSU.
Because active shooter and emergency incidents are unpredictable and evolve quickly, it is imperative that faculty and academic staff are prepared should an incident occur during class instruction. This workshop gives direction on how to react in such a situation, for the benefit of students, teaching assistants and faculty alike.
Invitations to register were emailed to all incoming new academics. If you did not receive an invitation to register or have any questions, please contact the Academic Advancement Network at AAN@msu.edu.

Technology Orientation

Monday, August 19, 2019 — 10:00am - 3:00pm (lunch provided) — MSU Library, Green Room (4 West)

This session is intended for new academics to Michigan State University to explore the services and technology offered by MSU Libraries, iCER (Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research) and MSU Information Technology.

Topics

  • Electronic Resources
  • Where to get help and support for technology on campus
  • Library Research Services
  • Creating Digital Experiences
  • Data Management for Research
  • Library Teaching and Learning Services
  • High Performance Computing
  • Technology you can expect in university classrooms (e.g., technology carts, sounds systems, student response systems)
  • MSU’s centrally-supported learning management systems

During this event there will be an opportunity to have in-depth conversations and hands-on demonstrations with experts from the morning sessions. Explore different parts of the library, and experience the support and services that can help with your research and teaching from MSU Libraries and MSU IT. Get assistance with setting up your D2L courses and learn about accessibility best practices. Immerse yourself in the 360 projection room and AR/VR facilities in the Digital Scholarship Lab. Also, ask an expert about incorporating Open Education Resources into your course.

Attendees with laptops are encouraged to bring them. All attendees should bring their MSU NetID and password to the training. Visit and bookmark tech.msu.edu/faculty for technology information specific to instructors and researchers.

Invitations to register were emailed to all incoming academics.  If you are interested in attending but did not receive an invitation to register please contact the Academic Advancement Network at AAN@msu.edu.