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Fall 2009 Teaching Assistant Orientation

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
8:00 am to 3:15 pm


The purpose of this orientation is to introduce graduate teaching assistants to basic principles of teaching, share information about campus support resources, and provide networking opportunities with both new and experienced TAs at NIU. Below is the tentative agenda:

Orientation Schedule:

8:00 am   Check-In and Refreshments
8:30 am   Welcome and Overview
8:45 am   Overview of Teaching and Related Responsibilities
9:45 am   Break
10:00 am   Classroom Management
10:45 am   Accommodations, Counseling and Library Resources
11:45 am   Lunch
1:00 pm
  Successful Habits of Highly Effective TAs
    Promoting Academic Integrity in the Classroom
2:00 pm
BREAKOUT SESSIONS (Select one session while registering)*
2:15 pm

Chris Jones

Preparing to Teach, Room 305
Christopher Jones, Department of Political Science
Teaching can be a daunting challenge, particularly if you have never taught before. Sometimes, it’s tough to know where to begin. In this session, Christopher Jones, Chair of the Department of Political Science and recipient of NIU’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching award, will share some tips that should make the process easier. He will discuss what to do during your first class and how to overcome your jitters, as well as techniques for delivering instruction. He will also describe the wide variety of roles you may need to adopt throughout the semester.

Carolinda Douglas

Planning a Course, Room 405
Carolinda Douglass, Office of Assessment Services
One of the most time-consuming yet rewarding tasks that instructors face is planning a new course. You start with so little: an idea, a list of objectives, or an old syllabus, and create a course that your students may remember for years. You face a great number of challenges in between, from writing objective and selecting a textbook to designing lessons and creating assessments. In this session, Carolinda Douglass, Director of Assessment Services and Professor of Nursing and Health Studies, will provide you with suggestions and techniques that will simplify the process of creating and delivering a new course.
    Presenting/Communicating Effectively, Room 406
Kerith Woodyard, Department of Communication
Communication behaviors, both verbal and non-verbal, generally support the declared learning objectives and facilitate student comprehension. However, often without being aware of it, instructors use communication behaviors that can undermine the learning objectives. In this session, Kerith Woodyard, Assistant Professor of Communication will share strategies for communicating effectively in the classroom and help TAs to become aware of the communication strategies they use.

David Ballantine

Providing Teaching-Related Support, Room 505
David Ballantine, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
There are graduate assistants who may not deliver instruction but provide a variety of teaching-related support in and outside the classroom. This may include conducting lab sessions, grading, tutoring, leading recitations, conducting office hours, and assisting their faculty supervisors and students in many other ways on teaching and learning-related issues. In this session, David Ballantine, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will offer tips and techniques for fulfilling the diverse tasks required of non-teaching GAs, but any TAs or GAs interested in the session can attend.

Jason Rhode

Teaching with Technology, Room 506
Jason Rhode, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center
A wide assortment of instructional technologies are available that will not only enhance the learning experience for your students but also save you time. But what technologies fit best into your teaching? In this session, Jason Rhode, Assistant Director of the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, will provide an overview of the freely available technologies for TAs at NIU and share recommended steps for effectively incorporating technology in teaching. While this isn't a hands-on training session, it will introduce the various free instructional technologies and highlight upcoming training sessions and available campus resources.
3:15 pm
  Evaluation and Closing at Individual Breakout Sessions

Registration Information:

This orientation is open to all graduate teaching assistants, research assistants, and staff assistants at NIU. Registered participants will receive orientation materials, refreshments, lunch and a certificate of participation.  Pre-register online by completing and submitting the form below.  Due to the expensive nature of the program, limited seats available, and advance notice required for arrangements, please register by the deadline and attend the entire orientation. Certificates will only be awarded for attendance for the full day. The registration response will be sent to your NIU email account. After submitting the registration form if you do not receive confirmation within two working days, please contact the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center at

Registration Deadline: Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Due to the expensive nature of the program, limited seats available, and advance notice required for arrangements, please register by the deadline and attend the entire orientation. After registering, if you are unable to attend, please notify us by Friday, August 14, 2009 so that those on the waiting list could be given the opportunity to attend or program costs could be reduced.

Registration is closed for this program.

Last Updated: 12/04/2014