TA Orientation

TAO Header Image
Pre-registration is required. Registration closes September 7, 2018

The campus wide TA Orientation for all new Teaching Assistants will be held in Fall Quarter 2018 and will include both in person and online sessions. All TAs who have not yet attended the UC Davis TA Orientation are required to do so by the University of California Office of the President and UC Davis Graduate Studies, even if they have taught previously. This orientation is different and in addition to your department orientation. The goal of this requirement is to help graduate students develop as instructors and effectively teach our undergraduates. The TA Orientation is designed to help graduate students succeed in their role as TAs at UC Davis by introducing them to the principles and practices of effective teaching.

Both the in person and online sessions are required to fulfill the TA Training requirement. Advance registration is required.

In-person sessions:

TAs must participate in the Fall TA Orientation on either Monday, September 24, or Tuesday, September 25, 2018, depending on the date assigned to their program (see below). The in-person TA Orientation sessions emphasize practical teaching skills and strategies and includes topics such as establishing a positive classroom atmosphere on the first day, leading effective discussions, presenting information clearly, and grading efficiently, among other topics. TAs will be able to choose a series of workshops that best meet their needs and interests.

The in-person TA Orientation session will be held at Wellman Hall. Check-in will be held in the courtyard west of Wellman.

Online sessions:

TAs must complete one online module prior to attending the in-person sessions.The course will take approximately 60 minutes to complete, and is available to complete now. Follow this link to register for the online course: Living the Principles of Community (e-learning). If you experience difficulties logging in, please contact the Staff Development and Professional Services (SDPS) at (530) 752-1766 or sdps@ucdavis.edu for registration assistance.

Print out the confirmation you receive following completion of the course and bring it with you to the TA Orientation.

Pre-registration is required. Registration closes September 7, 2018

FAQs

What is the TA Orientation?

The TA Orientation is a day-long training program designed to help graduate students succeed in their role as Teaching Assistants (TAs) at UC Davis by introducing them to the principles and practices of effective teaching. It includes both online and in-person components, emphasizing practical teaching skills and strategies. Topics include, but are not limited to: creating an inclusive classroom, establishing a positive classroom atmosphere, leading effective discussions, presenting information clearly, and grading efficiently, among others.

 

Will there be another TA Orientation help during this academic year?

No. The Fall TA Orientation is the only orientation that will be held during the 2018-2019 academic year.

Where on campus does the TA Orientation take place?

The TA Orientation will be held at Wellman Hall. Check-in will take place in the courtyard west of Wellman. Pre-registration is required.

I have a disability. Will accommodations be available for me?

Yes, you will receive the accommodations you need to participate in the TA Orientation. When you register, explain your needs, and you will receive assistance from a CEE staff member. In some cases, CEE may need to work with the Student Disability Center or Human Resources to make our facilities, activities, and materials fully accessible to you. Because of the time required to coordinate campus resources, the more advance notice you give us, the better we can serve you. Please contact Katie Martinez, CEE Program Coordinator at kkmartinez@ucdavis.edu or 752-9710.

I have not yet been appointed as a TA for the upcoming academic year, but I hope to be one. Should I attend the TA Orientation anyway?

Yes.  Any UC Davis graduate student who plans to work as a Teaching Assistant (TA) is encouraged to sign up for and attend the TA Orientation, even if you don’t know for certain when you will be a TA. Most graduate students attend TA Orientation during their first quarter at UC Davis.

I am an international student who will be out of the country during the Fall TA Orientation AND will teach in Fall. What should I do?

You must be available for your Fall teaching assistantship appointment on the Monday before classes start according to the contract governing TA employment (Academic Student Employee Union – UAW 2865). However, if you have made irrevocable travel plans, there are two things you can do in the interim to prepare for your fall teaching assignment. First, review the TA’s Guide to Effective Teaching at UC Davis. This resource provides practical advice and pertinent information to help TAs to be successful in their teaching roles on campus. Read it carefully – it is a useful document that will help prepare you for your first quarter of teaching (and beyond) at UC Davis. Second, register to attend a TAO follow up workshop facilitated by a TAC Fellow on Thursday, October 4th from 4:10-6:00PM or Friday, October 5th from 2:10-4:00PM. Registration for these two workshops will open Monday, August 27, 2018. Please check back at that time. TAC Fellows are experienced TAs who facilitate workshops for fellow graduate students and can help you get started as a TA. We also encourage you to attend sessions of our Fall Foundations in Teaching workshops.  

My program was assigned to the TA Orientation on a day when the graduate students in my program are already booked for another activity. Can we switch to the other day the TA Orientation is offered?

Yes, it is possible to attend either the Monday or the Tuesday session of the TA Orientation. Please ask a staff member in your department (typically the Graduate Coordinator) to contact the Center for Educational Effectiveness at cee@ucdavis.edu as early as possible to request a change of dates. Change request will be honored as space permits. 

I accidentally missed the Fall TA Orientation. Will I lose my TA appointment?

The final decision will be made by your department. Graduate students who miss TA Orientation will need to complete the training the following fall.  Note: TA Orientation is held once a year before the Fall quarter starts. 

I have already been at Teaching Assistant at another university or taught K-12. Do I need to attend the TA Orientation?

Yes. Every person who will teach at UC Davis and has not yet attended the TA Orientation is required to attend. The TA Orientation is designed to be informative and interactive, and everyone, even experienced teachers, can benefit from attending. Also, if you have teaching experience, your contributions will be especially valuable during discussions throughout the day, as you can share your knowledge with fellow participants. In addition, you will learn about UC Davis-specific resources and the specific needs of UC Davis students.  These may differ from the resources and student needs you encountered at your previous institution. Therefore, the TA Orientation is an important professional development activity for all incoming TAs, regardless of prior teaching experience.

I cannot login to the online session. Who should I contact to assist me?

If you experience difficulties logging in, please contact Staff Development and Professional Services (SDPS) at (530) 752-1766 or sdps@ucdavis.edu for registration assistance. 

The Fall TA Orientation lasts several hours. Will I be paid?

Yes. The hours you attend the mandatory portion of the Fall TA Orientation apply to your first TAship and will count toward the 16-20 hours per week you are expected to work (for those with a 50% TA appointment). Please note that you will not be paid extra. In most cases, your supervisor will already be aware that these hours count toward your first TAship. If your supervisor has questions about this matter, please ask he/she/them to contact your Graduate Coordinator. 

Do I have to attend all of the workshops in my track in order to fulfill the requirement?

Yes. You must attend and sign in at all of the workshops within your track in order to receive credit and meet the TAO attendance requirement.  TAO facilitators provide sign-in sheets during each session. Please attend only the workshops in the track you are assigned. You will also need to attend and sign in to all workshops, including the in-person “Creating Inclusive Classrooms” workshop that all TAs attend (there is no need to register for this workshop separately).

How will you notify my program that I have completed the TA Orientation requirement?

After the TA Orientation is complete, CEE will compile the attendance records, including records from the online module, and report that information back to programs by the end of fall quarter. It is extremely important that you attend the workshop series you are assigned to, as well as sign in to every workshop you attend. You must attend all workshops in order to meet the campus requirement.

What role does the Academic Student Employee Union – UAW 2865 play in the TA Orientation? Is the union meeting required?

eaching Assistant positions at UC Davis are represented by the Academic Student Employee Union – UAW 2865. Representatives of the UAW/ASE attend each TA Orientation in September. If you would like to learn more about how the union represents you, the meeting is an opportunity to do so. Your attendance at the UAW/ASE presentation is voluntary. You may also want to look at these web pages for more information:

Is the TA Orientation the only place I will have the opportunity to get more information about teaching?

The Center for Educational Effectiveness offers consultations, workshops and online resources that are available to you throughout the year. The Teaching Assistant Consulting (TAC) Fellows program is a primary source of support, information, and advice for TAs on the UC Davis campus. TAC Fellows facilitate workshops for TAs and conduct one-on-one consultations. The TA’s Guide to Effective Teaching at UC Davis is another resource that can help you develop as an instructor. You can also ask within your department and check the GradPathways calendar for teaching-related events.

I have a question that wasn’t included on this list. Whom can I contact?

Please contact the Center for Educational Effectiveness at cee@ucdavis.edu or 752-6050.