Departmental TA Training Seminars
The format of the TA training seminar varies by department and is specifically tailored to fit each department’s discipline. In most departments, this seminar carries the course number 495 and is a requirement for all new TAs at UCLA. Each TA training seminar is facilitated by a Teaching Assistant Consultant (TAC), an advanced graduate student with a high degree of discipline-specific teaching experience at UCLA. The TA training seminar 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. TAs enrolled in these seminars will often practice teaching in microteaching sessions, discuss pedagogical strategies, learn from experienced TAs, and familiarize themselves with departmental procedures and guidelines.
Currently, more than 40 UCLA departments offer a TAC position supported by the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT). Although the CAT TA Training Program funds most TAC positions, individual departments are responsible for nominating and hiring TACs for their department.
The TAC Role
The Teaching Assistant Consultant (TAC) is an experienced TA who has been selected to facilitate or co-facilitate the development and training of new TAs in their department. The TAC’s job is to help new TAs learn the fundamentals of evidence-based and inclusive teaching practices, how to apply these fundamentals in their discipline in order to be effective instructors, and how to effectively manage the responsibilities and conflicts that arise as a TA. As part of their work, TACs are encouraged to be active educators, to spend time thinking about what can be done to improve teaching in their department as well as their own classroom and to find new ways to help new TAs be more productive and effective in their roles.
Department Responsibilities for the TAC Program
If awarded TAC funding, departments must agree to the following guidelines when selecting their TAC(s). Please read carefully. If the department does not meet these requirements, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) will request a replacement TAC for the position or rescind funding for the position.
Faculty Advisor Responsibilities
In addition to providing support for new TAs in the department, the TAC program also aims to provide a professional development opportunity for graduate students to advance their own teaching practices and leadership skills. The role of the Faculty Advisor in this program is to provide support and mentorship for the TACs in this endeavor. In addition, the involvement of the Faculty Advisor in a department’s TA Training program can help to set the tone and create an environment that promotes the importance of undergraduate teaching at UCLA.