Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Jan. 12, 1996

Faculty Forum eyes TAs

by Anne Dolan

Graduate teaching assistants -- the training they receive and the teaching role they play -- will be the discussion topic for the January edition of the Faculty Forum series. Sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence, the forum will be held Monday, Jan. 22, in the Memorial Union Campanile Room. All faculty and their guests are invited.

David Graf, instructional/faculty development specialist with the teaching center and Media Resources Center, and Marty Graham, associate professor of English and coordinator of training for TAs teaching freshman English, will offer comments to begin the discussion.

Graf, who coordinated a first-time "College Teaching Seminar" for teaching assistants through the teaching center this fall, will briefly review what other universities -- similar in size and mission to Iowa State -- are doing to train their TAs. He will summarize ISU's teaching assistant training in the past and talk about some new directions, including the College Teaching Seminar. The seminar is a series of 80- minute sessions that provide future TAs with information on asking and answering questions, cooperative learning, leading discussions, using technology in the classroom and other topics. Each topic is offered at least twice during the semester to give TAs more than one opportunity to attend. Attendance is voluntary.

Graham said she hopes to generate discussion on several issues, including how to achieve consistency in instruction across multiple sections of a course when different TAs lead them and what to teach TAs about evaluating students. A general trend she has noticed is that teaching assistants are more susceptible to grade inflation, she said. Graham said she also is concerned about the dual role TAs face as students and instructors and their struggle to be competent in both.

The discussion will begin at approxi-mately 6:45 p.m. Social time will be at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. Reservations for dinner are due to Jane Henning (phone 4-2906, e-mail: by 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19.

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