Teaching Academy

Welcome to the Teaching Academy!
students working together; someone using ZOom

The Teaching Academy supports graduate students and postdocs throughout their teaching careers here at UMass. We promote creativity, collaboration, inclusivity, and reflective practices that support effective teaching and learning through static videos and virtual workshops! 

Our goals are to promote teaching as an essential function of a public research university and an important part of a graduate education; support pedagogies that are inclusive, centered on student learning, and research-based; and promote collegiality through mentoring and sharing expertise among faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students across the university. We are thankful to all who helped create the Teaching Academy: OPDCIRTL@UMassOIECTL, and more!

View a welcome video from Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy 
and Acting Dean of the Graduate School Beth Jakob!

We invite you to engage with us in a number of ways! You can:

Our Online Videos 

We are excited to offer a series of short videos to support graduate students and postdocs dedicated to improving their teaching skills. Designed to support instructors at all levels, there is something for everyone!

Are you new to UMass? Be sure to watch "Who is the UMass Undergrad?" which highlights our undergrads, some of their required coursework, and their expectations for you!

Online teaching is also a big topic this year, for obvious reasons. While our Resources page has many ways to help with technology, our video "Being an Online TAwill help you think about how your role may be different in this new mode of instruction.

Many TAs will work with a discussion section or a lab section. Learn more about what is expected of you in this role in our videos "Leading a Discussion Section" and "Being a Lab TA.

One of our themes of the Teaching Academy this year is teaching inclusively. All TAs and instructors will benefit from the insight and suggestions in "Navigating Intersecting Identities in the Classroom" and "Establishing an Anti-Racist Classroom."

Two challenges that many TAs face are navigating the intermediary role between the professor and the students (often alongside other TAs) and managing a mountain of grading. Check out best practices and tips for both in "Communicating with Your Teaching Teamand "Grading: Don't Let it Get You Down!"

Lastly, we know that not all TAs and instructors will teach in their career, but did you know that the classroom is a GREAT place to develop many of the skills that are in-demand by employers? Learn more in "The Career Value of Your TA-ship."

    Calendar of Live Workshops in August 2020

    All events will be held virtually on Zoom! Please note, these events will be live and will not be recorded.

    Aug 4, 2020 | 10:30am - 12:00pm 
    Preparing to Teach Online
    Worried about what your class will look like in the fall? Whether planning a whole course or just one lesson, how can you make a plan to teach online? In this workshop, we discuss what you need to know to be an effective online instructor and demonstrate best practices for transforming face-to-face classes into online classes. Pre-registration required.

    Aug 6, 2020 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm 
    Fostering an Inclusive Community in the Online Classroom
    When you're not meeting face-to-face, how do you get to know your students, and encourage them to get to know each other and feel part of a learning community? Students often face barriers to belonging and participation in an in-person classroom - how do these play out in the online space? How can you account for unequal access to technology? This workshop will give you some ideas for creating an inclusive and accessible online class. Co-sponsored by CIRTL@UMass. Pre-registration required.

    Aug 7, 2020 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm
    Engaging Students, Building Community, and Creative Teaching (Graduate Student Panel)
    How do you get students interested in your class? What are some creative ways to engage students in active learning? In this panel, experienced graduate instructors from across campus (Tori Day, Elizabeth Fox, Xuyen Mai, and Alexander Ponomareff) will discuss common challenges and strategies for success in teaching UMass undergraduates. Pre-registration required.

    Aug 11, 2020 | 3:30pm - 4:30pm
    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Your Classroom (Graduate Student Panel) 
    Amidst a national crisis of anti-Blackness and anti-immigrant sentiment, it is even more critical that our classrooms be inclusive spaces where all students can succeed. In this panel, experienced graduate instructors from across campus (Olivia Ekeh, Terrell James, and Shaina Rogstad) will discuss their strategies to support diversity, equity, and inclusion and encourage allyship in their classes. Pre-registration required.

    Aug 13, 2020 | 11:00am - 12:00pm
    Your Teaching Might be More Aligned with Colonialism than You Realize 
    The power of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement has invited us to confront the complex ways that racial oppression and other intersecting systems of power continue to kill, exploit, and marginalize Black lives across the world. Yet any conversation about racial equity in our society cannot be divorced from a history of colonialism. Central to the history of colonialism is the role of schooling as an essential arm for colonizing forces to root their own ideologies, histories, and ways-of-being into the oppressed. Much of this logic remains embedded in American education in the service of perpetuating racial and economic inequities. In this workshop, Dr. Jamila Lyiscott will draw on her own research and practice in social justice education to introduce anti-colonial approaches to instruction for all participants. Pre-registration required.

    Aug 14, 2020 | 11:00am - 12:00pm 
    Teaching Online (Graduate Student Panel) 
    What actually works when you are teaching online? In this panel, experienced graduate instructors from across campus (Dana Conzo, Elena Igartuburu Garcia, Candace King, and Sebastian Urrutia-Quiroga) will discuss common challenges and strategies for success when teaching online. Pre-registration required.

    Aug 19, 2020 | 10:30am - 11:30am
    Implicit Bias and Microaggressions in the College Classroom
    Whether conscious of it or not, instructors and students bring who they are to the learning environment, including their stereotypes and implicit biases. Such biases can emerge in the form of (micro)aggressions during class discussions, in student-student interactions during group or lab work, or in interactions between students and instructors. If left unaddressed, biases and microaggressions negatively impact the learning climate and can hurt students’ engagement and their academic success. Facilitated by Dr. Kirsten Helmer and Dr. Jonique Childs, today's session will offer an introduction to the concepts of implicit bias and microaggressions. You will learn how to identify some microaggressions and explore a few strategies that can help you to respond more effectively. Co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning. Pre-registration required.

    Aug 21, 2020 | 10:00am - 11:00am
    How to Engage Students in Zoom
    During an in-person class, you might use group work, multimedia, and various activities to engage your students in the content. But when we teach online, how do we create the same interactive environment that inspires students to learn? Whether you are teaching a discussion section or a whole course, this workshop will give you strategies to use in your online teaching in Zoom. Pre-registration required.

    Aug 21, 2020 | 11:00am - 12:00pm
    Getting Ready for the First Day
    How can you prepare for the first day of class? Join Professor Wilmore Webley for a discussion of the first day and how to define your overall teaching philosophy and style. This session will also provide a "road map" for a successful course by assisting you in clarifying and providing strategies for achieving your teaching goals. Pre-registration required.


    Group of students and TA working at a whiteboard