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Preparing Biology Graduate Teaching Assistants for Their Roles as Instructors: An Assessment of Institutional Approaches.


ABSTRACT: The inconsistency of professional development (PD) in teaching for graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) is a widespread problem in higher education. Although GTAs serve an important role in retention of undergraduate science majors and in promotion of scientific literacy in nonmajors, they often lack preparation and ongoing support for teaching. Given the recent national focus on instructional quality in introductory courses, our goal was to use an online survey to identify current practices of teaching PD for biology GTAs and compare these results with the last national survey on this topic. In responses from 71 participant institutions, 96% reported some mandatory teaching preparation for biology GTAs; however, 52% of these programs required 10 or fewer hours per year. Respondents wanted to change their programs to include more pedagogical information and teaching observations with feedback to their GTAs. Programmatic self-ratings of satisfaction with GTA PD were positively correlated with the number of topics discussed during PD. Although more schools are requiring GTA PD for teaching compared with the last national survey, the lack of program breadth at many schools warrants a national conversation with regard to recent calls for improving undergraduate instruction.

SUBMITTER: Schussler EE 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4710389 | BioStudies | 2015-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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