TA Orientations & Training

The Graduate School sponsors two university-wide orientations for teaching assistants each August, in partnership with academic and other support units on campus. Registration for August 2018 is now open. 2018 registration link

NEW TA INSTITUTE

Friday, August 17, 2018 — 7:30 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 Sunday, August 5, 2018 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 this page by May 1, 2018.


INTERNATIONAL TEACHING ASSISTANT ORIENTATION 

Friday, August 17, 2018 — 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm — The Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology, D-101 Wells Hall  | Saturday, August 18, 2018 — 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 Sunday, August 5, 2018 at 5pm - no walk-ins will be allowed. The final schedule will be posted on this page by May 1, 2018.

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, you should plan on registering for just the New TA Institute.

If you are looking for information about the MSU Speaking Test please see the English Language Center's website. The Speaking test dates and times are as follows:

  • August 15, 2018: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • August 16, 2018: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • December 12, 2018: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • December 13, 2018: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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.