post->ID; $custom_banner = get_post_meta($postid, 'banner', true); foreach ($options as $value) { if (get_settings( $value['id']) === FALSE) { $$value['id'] = $value['std']; } else { $$value['id'] = get_settings( $value['id'] ); } } ?>
Skip to main content
Glendon Campus Alumni Research Giving to York Media Careers International York U Lions Accessibility
Future Students Current Students Faculty and Staff
Faculties Libraries York U Organization Directory Site Index Campus Maps

Program Description

The Teaching Development Graduate Assistant (TDGA) Program is a joint project of CST and the Faculty of Graduate Studies designed to facilitate teaching development and excellence at the departmental level. Graduate students who are hired as a TDGA by their department are charged with organizing and facilitating teaching development workshops and discussion groups for teaching assistants within the department, and for providing peer support for both new and experienced TAs. Events organized by TDGAs help participants in the University Teaching Practicum to complete the requirement of five hours of study specific to their own discipline.

TDGAs work closely with the CST TDGA Coordinator for resources and support. In addition, CST provides a reference manual for TDGAs that outlines some of the basic considerations for creating and running a successful TA teaching development program within a department.

TDGA Call 2011/2012TDGA Program OverviewYear-End Report Template

TDGA Program Overview

The Teaching Development Graduate Assistant (TDGA) Program is a joint project between the Centre for the Support of Teaching (CST) and the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) designed to facilitate teaching development and excellence at the departmental level. Graduate students who are hired as a TDGAs by their department are charged with organizing and facilitating teaching development workshops and discussion groups for teaching assistants within the department, and for providing peer support for both new and experienced TAs. Events organized by TDGAs help participants in the University Teaching Practicum to complete the requirement of five hours of study specific to their own discipline.

A TDGA must undertake 135 hours of work on behalf of his/her department/division over the course of the Fall/Winter term. Within these 135 hours, the TDGA’s first responsibility is to organize the delivery of workshops to enable graduate students within his/her program to meet the 5 discipline-specific workshop hours required for completion of the UTP. In addition, the TDGA is also responsible for the coordination and delivery of an orientation session for new TAs at the CST’s annual TA Day. More broadly, the role of TDGA is to support discipline-specific inquiry into teaching and learning.

The TDGA program is coordinated by the CST. TDGAs work closely with the CST TDGA Coordinator for resources and support. In addition, CST provides a reference manual for TDGAs that outlines some of the basic considerations for creating and running a successful TA teaching development program within a department.

The University Teaching Practicum

The University Teaching Practicum (UTP) is a self-directed program of professional development in university teaching and learning for graduate students. Candidates register for the Practicum with the CST and gain recognition from the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies for (1) attending selected teaching and learning workshops; (2) engaging in a systematic program of teaching development, and (3) preparing a teaching dossier.
The Teaching Development Graduate Assistant (TDGA) program is a critical component of the UTP. In the Practicum program, graduate students undertake a self-directed program of professional development in teaching and learning through a combination of independent study, participation in teaching-related events, and practice and analysis of teaching performance.
A requirement of the program is at least 5 hours of study on issues specific to teaching in the participants’ discipline. Upon completion of all Practicum components, participants’ dossiers are reviewed and receive formal recognition from the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies – an effective supplement to a graduate student’s curriculum vitae when applying for academic positions.
Role of the Teaching Development Graduate Assistant in Supporting the UTP
The following position description for TDGA appointments was modeled after position descriptions that are used by units participating in the program, and builds on the description outlined by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

TDGA Terms of Appointment

At minimum, the TDGA must undertake 135 hours of work on behalf of their department/division over the course of the Fall/Winter term. Within these 135 hours, the TDGA must:

  1. organize at least five hours of discipline-specific teaching workshops for the unit;
  2. work in collaboration with the Graduate Teaching Associate(s) and TDGA Coordinator at the CST to ensure that the discipline-related components of the University Teaching Practicum are provided;
  3. attend the orientation session for TDGAs organized by the CST (held in August) and regularly scheduled meetings with the Graduate Teaching Associates and TDGA Coordinator. This year’s orientation will be held on Monday, August 08 2011, 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., 1014 TEL
  4. attend the ‘Meet your TDGA session’ of TA Day 2011 set for Thursday, August 25, 2011, Accolade East
  5. attend CST’s 2011/2012 TA Conversation Monthly Lunches. Please see ‘Important dates
  6. report on the programming delivered in 2011-2012. A written report must be submitted the Associate Director, CST, who will send copies to the unit Chair/Graduate Program Director, and Faculty Liaison. This report must be submitted by mid-April 2012. Please see the TDGA Year End Report template for an example.

A TDGA position is open to any eligible graduate student with a minimum of two years’ teaching experience at the post-secondary level who is currently enrolled in, or has successfully completed, the University Teaching Practicum. Ideally, candidates would possess an excellent record of teaching, a demonstrated commitment to the improvement of teaching and learning and TA development at York, and strong leadership and communication skills.

A TDGA makes an important contribution to the learning environment and student experience within undergraduate and graduate programs. The teaching development activities which TDGAs organize are directly relevant to the context of teaching in their field of study and for supporting graduate student development as ‘educator.’ This focus can help TAs in your program work more efficiently and effectively with students and enable them to provide more useful support to faculty with assessment.

Successful TA experiences bring important academic benefits to TAs themselves. Continuing contact with broad aspects of their field complements the in-depth focus of their graduate studies and contributes to their ability to see the field in perspective and to make new connections across areas. Recent work also suggests that one of the most powerful predictors of graduate retention and completion is holding a TA position (Lovitts, 2001: Leaving the Ivory Tower).

A further aspect of graduate student professional development entails understanding of, and the ability to negotiate, university governance structure. TDGAs are encouraged to participate on teaching and learning related departmental committees through their relevant graduate student associations; doing so will ensure that they are aware of, and provided a context for, the teaching and learning related issues specific to their unit. It will also give them an opportunity to work with a variety of faculty members and graduate students.

Responsibilities of the TDGA Faculty Liaison

The role of the Faculty Liaison is to guide and supervise their TDGA’s activity. The role may also include participation in the planning of wider activities of the University Teaching Practicum with the Centre for the Support of Teaching. The assigned Faculty Liaison serves the important function of providing their TDGA with guidance as well as support for networking opportunities with other faculty members who might contribute to unit TA programming. We encourage you to contextualize the role of assigned Faculty Liaison as one of Service.

The designated Faculty Liaison must be identified on the TDGA Online Nomination Form.