Graduate Teaching Assistant Resources and Support

Graduate Teaching Assistants are important members of the NIU teaching staff and we as a university are committed to supporting your success. The following resources and support are provided for graduate teaching assistants at NIU.

Teaching Assistant Institute

At this institute, graduate teaching assistants (TAs) will learn the basic principles of teaching and related responsibilities, gather information about campus support resources, and network with other TAs, faculty, and resource staff. While it is designed for new graduate teaching assistants, continuing graduate teaching assistants will also benefit. This is an institute on teaching and related responsibilities of teaching assistants, and not an orientation on employment-related policies, procedures, etc. The sessions are presented by NIU faculty, staff, and administrators who are knowledgeable and experienced in the topics.

Learn More about the Teaching Assistant Institute

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards

The purpose of these awards is to acknowledge and recognize outstanding graduate teaching assistants for their contributions to the teaching mission of Northern Illinois University (NIU).

Each recipient of the award will be presented with a plaque and recognized at the Graduate Student Reception sponsored by the Graduate School at the end of the spring semester. Usually three awards are presented, and at least one of the awards will be presented to an outstanding graduate teaching assistant pursuing a master’s degree at NIU.

View Previous Recipients

View Award Criteria

Consultations for Graduate Teaching Assistants

The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) will assist teaching assistants who voluntarily seek to improve their teaching skills and those teaching assistants who are directed by their academic units to seek teaching-related assistance from CITL. The assistance provided by CITL can be in the form of individual or group consultations as needed.

Consultations can be provided on a one-time or continuing basis as needed. The consultation process is a partnership and a discovery process that evolves over time to accomplish the desired goals of teaching assistants who seek assistance. Teaching assistants who seek assistance can decide on the type and depth of consultation needed, and CITL staff will work with them to address the needs.

Individual teaching assistants who voluntarily wish to improve their teaching may directly contact center staff in charge of teaching assistants' related support. Academic units that wish to refer teaching assistants to CITL for teaching improvement are recommended to contact the center director. One or more staff members from CITL may participate in the consultation, and if the need arises, additional faculty or staff members from other units may be invited to assist teaching assistants with specific teaching improvement needs.

The success and desired outcomes of teaching improvement consultations will depend on the time and effort committed to the process by the teaching assistants who seek assistance or are referred by their academic units. CITL staff does not participate in summative evaluations of teaching for hiring, retention or document teaching strategies of teaching assistants who have physical, emotional, or other forms of disabilities that impact their teaching responsibilities. CITLstaff can provide objective feedback on classroom/learning strategies, which focuses on development rather than evaluation.

All teaching improvement consultations and classroom observations arranged with CITL are considered to be confidential as permissible under NIU's guidelines. CITL and its staff will not disclose the names of those who seek assistance voluntarily or those who are referred by departments and/or colleges and will endeavor to respect the privacy of all concerned. CITL and its staff may report the progress or training of a teaching assistant to the referring academic unit, or disclose information to those within the University with a need to know, or disclose information for the protection of the University and/or its faculty, staff and students.

Contact CITL to Request a Consultation

Upcoming Graduate Career and Professional Development Workshops

These workshops are offered by Graduate Career and Professional Development in the NIU Graduate School.

All event times are listed in Central Time Zone (CDT).

The Graduate Teaching Certificate recognizes the participation of graduate teaching assistants (GA/RA/TAs) in the development programs offered by the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. The certificate acknowledges these individuals’ commitment to effective teaching and can enhance their academic credentials.

Learn More and Apply for the Graduate Teaching Certificate

Upcoming Graduate Teaching Programs and Workshops

All event times are listed in Central Time Zone (CDT).

Contact Us

Center for Innovative
Teaching and Learning

Phone: 815-753-0595

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