In accordance with Massachusetts regulations, strict restrictions are in effect for in-person campus events. Most of the the events listed here are taking place remotely on Zoom and other online platforms. See each listing for details. All times are United States Eastern Time Zone.

Developing a Teaching Development Course for Graduate TAs/TOs

Event Details

March 26, 2019
11:30 am-1:00 pm

Campus Center

Room: 805-09

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available
Free admission
Kirsten Helmer

Diversity Lunch Talk: Developing a Teaching Development Course for Graduate TAs/TOs 

Whether they are running laboratory sections, facilitating discussion sessions, evaluating student work, or a myriad of other tasks, Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) are critical partners in teaching at UMass. Yet, many GTAs come to UMass with limited-to-no prior teaching experience so training and support programs are critical. 

In this workshop, TIDE Ambassador Faculty Fellow Brokk Toggerson (Physics) and graduate students Sara Feyzbakhsh and Jake Shechter will introduce participants to a 1-credit seminar that supports new GTAs in the physics department in developing teaching skills and their own teaching identity. We will share activities that engage our new GTAs with principles of active learning and issues of identity that often arise in the classroom. Participants will think about how to implement these ideas in the context of their own departments. Both faculty and graduate students are welcome to attend. We encourage participants to come as a faculty/graduate-student pair for the most complete experience.

  • Learn about a teaching development seminar for graduate TAs/TOs.
  • Introduce participants to learning activities that support GTAs in using active learning principles and dealing with issues of identity that can arise in classrooms.
  • Enable participants to adapt presented examples of learning activities to develop support programs for GTAs in participants’ departments.

Brokk Toggerson, Lecturer in the Department of Physics, focuses on constructing large (>100 student) classroom systems that encourage all students to actively engage in the process of learning physics. His students, typically non-majors, work in collaborative teams during class to solve problems, write about physics, and other activities while being supported by classroom personnel including graduate and undergraduate TAs. To empower these TAs, he has created courses to help them develop their skills. He is a TIDE Ambassador Fellow, having participated in TEFD’s Teaching for Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity (TIDE) Ambassador program in 2017-2018.

Jake Shechter is a fifth year graduate student conducting research in experimental condensed matter physics. He has been a Teaching Assistant (TA) for both the Team-Based-Learning (TBL) introductory physics classes as well as the labs for those courses. Jake and Dr. Toggerson co-designed and co-taught the P691G seminar course for incoming graduate students, which he presented at the summer 2018 AAPT conference. Jake aspires to teach physics after earning his PhD.

Who should attend? All faculty and graduate student TAs/TOs

This event is part of the monthly Diversity Lunch Talks offered by The Institute for Teaching Excellence & Faculty Development (TEFD) through its Diversity & Inclusive Teaching Professional Development Series.

More information on Diversity Lunch Talks offered by TEFD.


The Campus Center is located in the middle of campus at 1 Campus Center Way. Parking is available in the Campus Center Garage.

More details on directions and parking.