TA Orientation

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The 2018 TA Orientation registration will open in mid-May.

The 2018 fall TA Orientation will be held at Wellman Hall Courtyard on Monday, September 24th and Tuesday, September 25th

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.


What is the TA Orientation?

The TA Orientation is a day-long training program 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. It includes both online and in person sessions. The sessions emphasize practical teaching skills and strategies and include topics such as establishing a positive classroom atmosphere on the first day, leading effective discussions, presenting information clearly, and grading efficiently, among other topics.


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

Yes, any UC Davis graduate student who plans to 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 the TA Orientation their first quarter at UC Davis. When registering, you will be asked to identify the department you will TA for. If you don’t yet know, please register under any department you believe you may TA for or your home department.

I will be out of the country during the Fall TA Orientation. What should I do?

According to your union contract, you must be available for your Fall teaching assistantship appointment beginning the Monday before classes start. However, we know that this is unclear to some TAs, so if you already have plane tickets, there are two things you can do in the interim to prepare to teach. First, review the TA’s Guide to Effective Teaching at UC Davis. This resource provides practical advice and pertinent information about teaching for the first time, UC Davis specific resources, and ideas to help improve teaching skills. Read it carefully – it is a useful document that will help prepare you for your first quarter (and beyond) of TAing at UC Davis. Second, please contact the TA Consultant Coordinator by email (cee@ucdavis.edu) or call CEE at 752-6050, with any questions you have about teaching successfully. The TA Consultants are experienced TAs who consult with their fellow graduate students and can help you get started as a TA.

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

Yes, it’s possible to go to the TA Orientation on either the Monday or the Tuesday before Fall Quarter starts. Please ask a staff member in your department to contact us at cee@ucdavis.edu as early as possible to request to change dates.

I accidentally missed the Fall TA Orientation. Will I be fired?

Although this decision is up to your department, we do not know of a single TA who has been fired for taking the TA Orientation late. That said, you will still need to complete an equivalent orientation next Fall. Please refer to the previous question to learn how to handle missing the TA Orientation. Please ask your TA coordinator to contact us at cee@ucdavis.edu if s/he has any questions about your status.

How will you let my department know that I have completed the TA Orientation requirement?

After the TA Orientation is complete we will compile all of the attendance records including the records from the online module and reporting that back to the departments by the end of fall quarter. It is extremely important you attend the workshop your 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. You will NOT be issued a certificate for completing the mandatory campus-wide TA Ordination. 

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

Yes, you will receive the accommodations you need to participate in the TA Orientation. We want all TAs to be able to participate fully. When you register, explain your needs and someone from CEE will follow up with you. In some cases, we may need to work with the Student Disabilities 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 already TAed at another university or taught K-12. Do I need to attend the TA Orientation?

Yes, every person who will be TAing on the UC Davis campus 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, consistently comment that they benefit from attending. Also, if you have more experience, your contributions will be especially valuable discussions throughout the day. In addition, you will learn about UC Davis specific resources and the needs of UC Davis students. UC Davis students may share characteristics that are different from your previous institution, so the TA Orientation is an important professional development activity even for experienced instructors.

I’m having trouble logging in to complete 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. You will work hard and increase your value as a TA, and your UAW/ASE contract specifies that you will be paid for this work. You will not be paid extra – the hours just will count toward the 16-20 hours a week you are expected to work (as a 50% TA). In most cases, your supervisor will already be aware that these hours count toward your first TAship. In case s/he is not and has questions, please ask him/her to contact us at cee@ucdavis.edu or 752-6050.

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 requirement. Please only attend the workshops in the track you are assigned. You will also need to attend and sign in to the in-person “Creating Inclusive Classrooms” workshop that all TAs will attend (there was no need to sign up for this separately), and complete the online session “Living the Principles of Community.”

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

Teaching Assistant positions at UC Davis are represented by the Academic Student Employee Union – UAW 2865, and representatives of the UAW/ASE attend each TA Orientation in September. Your attendance at the UAW/ASE presentation is voluntary. If you would like to learn more about how the union represents you, the meeting is an opportunity to do so. 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?

No, workshops and resources are available to you throughout the year. The TA Consultants are a primary source of support, information, and advice. They run workshops for TAs and conduct one-on-one consultations. Another important source of information is the Graduate Teaching Community, an informal graduate student- and postdoc-run group that meets regularly throughout the year. 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.

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. Please keep this in mind when making the decision to attend. 

Where on campus is the TA Orientation taking place?

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

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.