Teaching Orientation for Graduate Students

CTL offers graduate students instructors orientation sessions to learn about practical, evidence-based strategies that they can implement on the first day of class. These orientations help supplement department-based orientations and trainings. CTL orientations are open to all new teaching assistants, teaching fellows, and graduate students in an instructor role.

For Fall 2018, orientations will run on the following days:

  • Orientation to Teaching for Graduate Students in Applied Sciences:  August 27 – 29, times to be announced
  • Orientation to Teaching for Graduate Students in Natural and Health Sciences: August  30, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Orientation to Teaching for Graduate Students in the Humanities and Social Sciences: August 31, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Program details and registration links for Fall 2018 orientations will be available later in the spring.

Fall 2017 Orientations

The 2017 CTL teaching orientation for graduate students provided guidance for getting a discussion section, lab, or other teaching assignment off to a good start, providing efficient and effective feedback to students, navigating difficult situations that may arise, and tracking and reflecting on the development of your teaching practices. A limited number of microteaching practice sessions ran after the main orientation.

Orientation resources included FAQs for TAs at Columbia, a Syllabus Checklist, and Canvas tutorials. Sessions running at orientation included:

Preparing to Teach:
Find out about ways to get your class, session, or lab off to a great start, including setting a positive, inclusive tone and establishing clear policies and expectations.

Facilitating Your Students’ Learning Inside the Classroom and Lab:
Discover strategies to promote student engagement and participation in lecture, discussion, and lab–and bolster their actual learning.

Facilitating Your Students’ Learning Beyond the Classroom and Lab:
Explore grading and mentoring practices that communicate expectations to students and help them progress to defined goals.

Navigating Tricky Situations As a TA:
Discuss ways to handle difficult situations with peers, experienced Teaching Assistants, and representatives of support offices (Student Conduct and Community Standards; Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action; Psychological and Counseling Services, Disability Services).

Frequently Asked Questions

Email your questions to CTLgrads@columbia.edu.

Who can participate?

This orientation is open to all graduate student instructors. It is especially useful for graduate students who are new to teaching.

Are any of the resources from the orientations available online?

CTL staff are available to meet with you to talk about any of the topics listed in the program description above. Some helpful resources are also listed below.

I had a scheduling conflict with orientation – will you be running these session again?

CTL runs Essentials of Teaching and Learning workshops, which are expanded versions of orientation sessions during the academic year, as well as microteaching practice sessions. Join the CTL mailing list to be alerted about upcoming opportunities.