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What are the Training Requirements for Engineering TAs?

All graduate TAs are required by the College of Engineering to attend the TA Development program before the start of their responsibilities as a TA. Some departments also require their undergraduate TAs to attend the ELI Undergraduate TA Development program.

What are the training requirements for International TAs?

In addition to Engineering TA training, International TAs who come from countries where English is not the first language are required to pass an oral proficiency assessment . This language proficiency assessment determines whether an ITA must enroll in an extended training program through the university’s International Teaching Assistant Development Program (ITADP).

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Why do TAs have to participate in training?

In the College of Engineering, the emphasis on research has remained high over the decades while the demand for quality teaching has increased. This emphasis on teaching excellence is being fueled by a greater understanding of how to maximize the learning process with increasingly sophisticated teaching skills. It is understood that different people learn differently, necessitating that teachers employ a variety of communication and teaching strategies. By providing TAs with a sophisticated understanding of how human learning occurs as well as rigorous training in administrative management responsibilities, the college is creating a pool of talent that enriches its pedagogical life and enhances undergraduate learning and the TA experience.

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What will TAs learn in training?
  • Effective public speaking
  • Facilitating group activity
  • Encouraging and supporting teamwork and cooperative efforts
  • How to learn from one’s peers
  • How to understand and respond to different communication and learning styles
  • How to enable the learning and success of others
  • Strategies for conducting interesting labs and recitations
  • Effective grading methods
  • Campus resources for TAs and students

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What if I have to miss a session, or more, of training?

If you are unable to attend training, all or in part, please know that you are responsible for completing comparable make-up sessions to receive certification as a Teaching Assistant in the College. Certification is contingent upon completion of the following components:  

  • Microteaching (Note: There are no make-up sessions for microteaching. Contact the Engineering Learning Initiatives office (eli-ta-develop@cornell.edu) to sign up
  • Attending all in-person TA Development presentations offered by Engineering Learning Initiatives

The College of Engineering will provide some make-up sessions (typically on the Saturday following training) if TAs are unable to attend the main TA Development program. If all components are not completed in the current semester, you will be expected to  complete your certification requirements the following semester. Contact Engineering Learning Initiatives for more information.

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What is microteaching?

Microteaching is a required component of TA training in Cornell Engineering. In a microteaching session you teach a micro-lesson to a micro-class and then view a videotape of your teaching. These sessions provide a good opportunity for a small-group discussion about teaching in general and about individual concerns and experiences in particular. Microteaching offers a valuable opportunity to see and reflect on your own teaching, to get feedback from your peers, to learn from the teaching styles of others, and to practice teaching in a safe environment.

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What is the ENGRG 6780 Teaching Seminar?

Through formative discussion and reflective writing, ENGRG 6780 affords the opportunity for professional reflection, with the aim of upgrading teachers’ skills, increasing teaching standards, and improving student-learning outcomes. Contact Engineering Learning Initiatives for more information.

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What support do TAs have when they experience problems on the job?

There is a broad network of support for TAs, and available resources include, but are not limited to the following: 

 

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