As directed by Graduate Council, three training activities are now required for TAs. For ease of implementation, all three components will be considered to be part of the departmental 495 pedagogy course; all hours will be counted towards the course credit hours and should not be included as part of the TA’s workload.
All TAs (regardless of previous TAing experience) are required to complete the PSET modules on Bruin Learn one time. Returning TAs do not need to retake a 495 nor complete the Foundations workshops requirements. The hours for returning TAs will be part of the departmental 375 course credit hours and should not be included as part of the TA’s workload (please see this Graduate Education document for guidance on 375 course hours.)
Over the period 2016-2021, Graduate Council considered the state of TA training at UCLA and how to ensure that all TAs are “introduced to universal teaching and learning issues, core pedagogical principles and practices, and strategies for promoting and assessing student learning outcomes.” Their investigation led to the adoption of strengthened TA Training requirements to ensure consistency and quality of TA training initiatives across UCLA’s campus. For more information, please see relevant memos, below:
All departments and programs hiring TAs must ensure that TAs enroll in a 495 pedagogy course before or during their first quarter appointed as a TA. The departmental 495 pedagogy course must include the three strengthened TA Training requirements described below:
PSET Modules in Bruin Learn
The Professional Standards and Ethics Training (PSET) compliance modules referred to in the resolution are being offered as an online course in Bruin Learn.
ACCESS: The PSET modules can be accessed through Bruin Learn. TAs are required to take the online PSET modules by the end of the second week in the quarter first appointed as a TA. For new TAs, these modules should be introduced as a part of the departmental 495 course and should take approximately 3.5 hours to complete. For returning TAs the hours will be part of the departmental 375 course credit hours and should not be included as part of the TA’s workload.
ENROLLMENT: Students will automatically be enrolled in the PSET Bruin Learn course when appointed as a TA for the first time via UC Path, regardless of TA appointment rank. Students may take this course at any time by self-enrolling in the course, here: https://bruinlearn.ucla.edu/enroll/7PTJRL.
COURSE CONTENT: The course consists of the following five modules:
- TA Ethics and Professional Responsibilities
- Promoting Learning through Diversity: The Inclusive Classroom
- Teaching Students with Disabilities
- Creating an Educational Environment Free of Violence and Sexual Harassment
- Fostering Academic Integrity
There is a quiz associated with each module, which must be passed with a score of at least 8 out of 10 in order to proceed to the next module.
The course does not have to be completed in one sitting.
ENFORCEMENT: The PSET modules may be completed at any time prior to the TA’s first appointment but MUST be completed by the end of the second week of the quarter first appointed as a TA. In the case of late appointments, the course must be successfully completed two weeks after the start-date of the appointment. Division of Graduate Education and CAT will monitor student progress and completion. Departmental fee remissions will be withdrawn if students do not complete this requirement.
Foundations of Teaching Workshop Series
REQUIREMENT: All new TAs are required to take a series of five Foundations of Teaching workshops by the end of the quarter in which they take the 495 pedagogy course. CAT offers the Foundations of Teaching (Foundations series), a series of five 90-minute workshops designed with new Teaching Assistants in mind. Each workshop provides an introduction to key concepts and strategies for developing an evidence-based teaching practice. The five workshops that comprise the series are:
- How Students Learn
- Creating Inclusive Classrooms
- The Nuts and Bolts of Lesson Planning
- Active Learning Strategies
- Assessment and Grading
These workshops are offered during the TA Conference prior to the beginning of the Fall quarter of every year, and during the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. Please see our website for workshop descriptions, quarterly workshop schedule, and registration information.
ENROLLMENT: The Foundations series requirement is typically met while a student is taking a 495 pedagogy course. Note that students may satisfy the Foundations series requirement early – e.g., before they enroll in 495 – and are encouraged to do so in order to incorporate the knowledge gained into their course preparation and avoid a last-minute time crunch.
DEPARTMENT EXEMPTIONS: Department may apply for an exemption from some or all of the Foundations series workshops on a case by case basis, if equivalent content is covered in the 495 pedagogy course. The list of departments who have received exemptions can be found here. If students are required to take the Foundations series workshops and a student fails to complete the requirement, the department may lose TAC funding in subsequent years.
Departmental 495 Pedagogy Courses –
The format of the departmental 495 pedagogy courses varies by department and is specifically tailored to fit each department’s discipline. Most TA training seminars are facilitated by a Faculty Advisory and a Teaching Assistant Consultant (TAC), an advanced graduate student with a high degree of discipline-specific teaching experience at UCLA. The departmental 495 pedagogy course supports UCLA’s Core Competencies for graduate and professional students by introducing new TAs to best practices in inclusive and evidence-based teaching as well as fostering mentorship, communication and leadership skills, and professional development for TACs.
REQUIREMENT: All new TAs are required to complete a departmental 495 pedagogy course prior to or during the first quarter they are appointed as a TA. As basic pedagogy is covered in the Foundations series, departmental pedagogy courses will have the capacity to do more targeted and in-depth discipline-specific pedagogy. Departments are in the best position to determine the needs and provide the training for their discipline, but we envision these disciplinary trainings would include contextualizing the basic pedagogy concepts covered in the Foundation series and providing disciplinary examples, as well as preparing TAs to teach a wide range of disciplinary skills and such as data analysis, performance-based teaching, teaching in labs, and teaching with materials and artifacts.
CAT FUNDING AND SUPPORT: Departments may apply for funding for a departmental 495 TAC via the annual application process, whether or not they currently hold TAC funding. See funding section below for details.
TAC Program Funding Information for Departments
Strengthened 495 Pedagogy Course Requirements
All departments and programs hiring TAs must ensure that those TAs enroll in a 495 pedagogy course before or during their first quarter as a TA and a 375 Teaching Apprentice Practicum course each term that they hold a TA appointment.
The 495 pedagogy course must include the three TA Training requirements detailed above: PSET Modules, CAT Foundations series (or equivalent in the 495 pedagogy course), and disciplinary training. CAT’s TA Training Program offers funding and support to departments in order to fulfill these requirements in the following ways:
TAC Funding from CAT
CAT’s TA Training Program provides funding for Teaching Assistant Consultants (TACs) to support the 495 departmental pedagogy course.
TAC Application Award Process
The department application period opens in April 2023. CAT will send a request for proposals to all UCLA department Chairs and SAOs which will provide guidance on how to apply for the TAC Award for the upcoming year. CAT determines awards and funds TAC positions, while departments are responsible for nominating eligible graduate student(s) to serve as the TAC(s) for each academic year.
2023-2024 TAC Award Application Timeline
Early April – Request for Proposals distributed to departments
Late April – Departmental TAC applications due
May – TAC Awards distributed to departments
June – Departmental TAC Nominations due
Funding Criteria and Guidance:
- All departments training five or more new TAs who request funding via the TAC Award Application process will receive funding for one, 25% TAC appointment.
- Departments training fewer than five TAs who are not eligible for the 25% TAC appointment may collaborate with other, similar departments to offer a joint 495 pedagogy course that would enroll at least five new TAs per year. Departments may apply for joint funding via the TAC Award Application process. Departments may also choose to instead send their new TAs to another department’s 495 pedagogy course (with their approval) or to CAT’s campus-wide 495 pedagogy course.
- Departments may request additional funding beyond the one, 25% TAC appointment. Decisions about additional funding will be made based on the proposed responsibilities of the TAC and the number of students they are training (e.g., observation and feedback for a large number of students or more than one mandatory 495 pedagogy course such as 495A and 495B). Departments will be asked to explain the specific needs of their 495 pedagogy course and supply additional documentation, such as observation protocols and instructions or syllabi for multiple courses.
Please note: due to changes in TA Training requirements, some TAC funding levels may be impacted and some departments may not receive the same funding they had previously received from CAT.
For more information about how to apply, please see the links below:
- 2023-2024 TAC Departmental Award Application memo
- TAC Job Description, Department TAC Responsibilities, and 495 Faculty Advisor Responsibilities
TAC Academy Training
CAT, alongside our campus teaching and learning center partners, provides training for all Teaching Assistant Consultants (TACs) across campus each year. All TACs are required to attend a TAC Educational Development Academy developed and facilitated by the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT), the Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences (CEILS), and Excellence in Pedagogy and Innovative Classrooms (EPIC).
This advanced teaching and learning bootcamp guides TACs in thinking about the goals and objectives of being a departmental consultant for new TAs. The modules center around inclusive classroom practices and the difference between thinking about one’s own teaching versus guiding new TAs to become effective instructors. The TAC Educational Development Academy is one of the few opportunities that TACs from all across campus have to meet with the collective objective of raising the pedagogical standards of instruction for undergraduates at UCLA.
The TAC Educational Development Academy dates will be determined by May 2023 for the 2023-2024 award year.
Exemption Process for Foundations Series Requirement
Departments that have incorporated materials equivalent to the learning objectives covered in the Foundations of Teaching workshop series can apply for an exemption from one or more of the Foundations Series workshops.
Documentation required for exemption requests
To qualify for exemption, departments must demonstrate evidence of incorporation of the Foundations series topics and integration with disciplinary examples in their existing curriculum. The exemption process for the Foundations Series is incorporated as a part of the TAC application process.
Involvment of TACs and Faculty Advisors
The current departmental TAC and Faculty advisors are in the best position to determine whether or not the material and learning objectives are sufficiently covered in the Foundations of Teaching Workshops. Please make sure they are involved in this exemption request , as departments will be asked to upload a signed document by the TAC and/or Faculty Advisor as evidence for the exemption request.
Sample exemption requests
Three UCLA academic departments have agreed to share their TAC application request for exemption from the Foundations of Teaching Workshop series. You are welcome to read how the Asian Languages an Cultures, Public Health, and Management department’s 495 seminar covered the five Foundations requirement.
What should a TA do if the hiring department doesn’t offer a 495 pedagogy course?
The TA should ask their hiring department’s SAO/MSO (person responsible for hiring TAs in that department) about options for students who are hired in their department. This may include attending a CAT campus-wide 495 pedagogy course or attending another department’s 495 pedagogy course.
Are students compensated for meeting the TA Training requirements?
Students will receive course credit for the 495 pedagogy course (or 375 teaching practicum course if you are a continuing TA). TAs are not paid for the time they devote to the training, nor is it part of their workload as a TA.
What is the difference between a 375 and 495 course?
As a TA you are required to take both courses.
495 pedagogy courses are designed to prepare students for college-level teaching and provide professional development. Typically, TAs are only required to take a 495 pedagogy course when they TA for the first time. However, if you are TAing in departments in very different disciplines (such as a language department and an engineering department), you may be asked to take more than one 495 pedagogy course.
375 Teaching Apprentice Practicum courses are used as a mechanism for granting credit to TAs for the time they spend in preparing for their teaching activities in a course. Typically, this will be in the form of regular meetings with the faculty for the course in which they provide the TAs guidance in preparing lessons and discussing teaching strategies, laboratory protocols, and best practices for examinations. All TAs are required to enroll in their hiring department’s 375 Teaching Apprentice Practicum course during each term that they hold a TA appointment.
For further information please refer to the Guidance on the Use of 375 and 495 Courses for Graduate Teaching Apprentices created by Graduate Division.