To train the newly-recruited teaching assistants (TA), Center for Learning and Teaching of the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute (CLT-UM-SJTU JI) held Summer 2017 TA Orientation Conference at the Yu Liming Student Center on May 20, 2017.
Hosted by Dongqing Xia, TA Mentor from CLT-JI, the orientation conference started from 9 am. Professor Thomas Hamade, Director of CLT-JI, delivered warm welcome to all new TAs. Emphasizing TAs’ great responsibilities, Professor Hamade also highly complimented TA’s great contributions. He believed that the TAs in JI were among the best throughout the world and he expected all TAs to help their instructors to continuously improve the teaching quality in JI.
Highlighting several important points of the training policy, Yue Wang, TA Mentor from CLT-JI, introduced the whole training program and Teaching Assistant Handbook offered by CLT-JI.
Li Shen, Chief TA Mentor from CLT-JI, illustrated the job responsibilities such as class attendance, grading assignments and holding office hours. He also introduced TA Disciplines that all TAs must abide by, which was newly added to the Teaching Assistant Handbook this semester. The section of TA Disciplines specifically ruled TA’s professionalism and ethics. He emphasized several dos and don’ts, which helped the new TAs quickly get some basic ideas of their duty and responsibility.
Professor David Barnet, Sung-Liang Chen, Thomas Hamade, Shane Johnson, Mian Li, Yanfeng Shen, Mr. Andrew Yang and Justin Donald Andrews shared their opinions regarding their expectations of TAs and TA’s important role during Faculty Panel. Discussing some possible problems and challenges TAs might encounter, all faculty members involved in the session provided much food for thought and inspiration.
Five Outstanding TAs, 10 Excellent TAs and 2 Outstanding TA Groups were awarded for their remarkable performance and services in Annual Teaching Assistant Award Ceremony. The Outstanding TAs also shared some suggestions and experience regarding the job for new TAs. Several nominees for Outstanding TA were also rewarded with gifts provided by CLT-JI.
Professor Lipo Wang presented the award of Outstanding TA to Li Shen.
Professor Mian Li presented the award of Outstanding TA to Yukai Lin.
Mr. Andrew Yang presented the award of Outstanding TA to Dongqing Xia.
Yue Yao, awardee of Outstanding TA, shared his experience with new TAs.
Mr. Justin Donald Andrews, Professor Barnet and Professor Yanfeng Shen presented the award of Excellent TA to the awardees (From left: Yipai Du, Zherui Zhang, Xiaochen Zhou, Chunchao Li, Zhengyang Feng, Zeyu Xiong and Kaiqi Yao).
Professor David Barnet and Professor Mian Li presented the award of Outstanding TA Group to the two representatives of the team (Li Shen and Yue Yao).
Mr. Justin Donald Andrews, Mr. Andrew Yang, Professor Sung-Liang Chen and Professor Yanfeng Shen presented gifts to the nominees for Outstanding TA.
In Case Study session, all TAs were divided into several groups. Every group was assigned one scenario based on a TA’s real life. The new TAs explored the challenging scenarios such as maintaining good teaching relationship with the students, usage of social network and language issues in teaching and came up with practical solutions. At the end of the session, the TAs had a heated debate over “Can TAs date with the students?” Professor David Barnet, Mr. Andrew Yang and several TA Mentors from CLT-JI commented on each group’s performance and solutions to the scenario and provided much insights.
Kaiqi Yao and Zherui Zhang, TA Mentors from CLT-JI, ran two workshops – Grading Issues on Engineering Courses and Grading Issues on Humanity Courses to prepare new TAs to be qualified graders in engineering and humanity courses respectively.
At the end of the day, Professor Thomas Hamade presented gifts for the star teams and members in the case study session.
At the beginning of every summer and fall semester, Center for Learning and Teaching of the Joint Institute (CLT-JI) has held TA Orientation Conference to train newly-recruited TAs for six years. CLT-JI works with faculty members jointly to help new TAs quickly get familiar with their job responsibilities and be equipped with some hands-on abilities for their duty. The unique TA training program in JI has continuously helped to assure JI’s excellence in teaching.