Graduate Program Teaching Assistantship

Graduate students form an essential component of the teaching environment in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.  TAing can provide graduate students with valuable experience that will be useful in later careers.  As a TA, you will have the opportunity to interact with fellow students, develop presentation skills, act as a role model and also benefit monetarily.  The contribution made by graduate students is recognized and for the past 5 years graduate students from this Department have received University Graduate Teaching Assistant awards for teaching.

Professional Development for TA's

The goal of the department's TA Professional Development (TAPD) program is to provide graduate students with the necessary instruction and resources to help them develop as educators. This is accomplished through the various learning opportunities offered for both new and senior TAs such as the fall training workshop, the mentor program and ongoing course-specific training. The TAPD program was developed and is facilitated by graduate students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Program participation is mandatory for those who are to be teaching assistants for the department. More information about TA training programs is available on the TAPD website.

In addition, UBC offers workshops to help you develop and enhance your instructional or presentational skills:

TA Workload

TA duties are assigned in terms of Departmental TA units:  one TA unit represents about 76 hours of employment.  A typical TA load is 1-2 units per term with a maximum of 4 units for two terms or possibly 5 units with the permission of your research supervisor.  One TA unit usually represents on average about 6 hours of work per week.  Typically, student contact time is 3 hours for a lab and 1-2 hours for a tutorial.  Tutorial TAs usually are responsible for mid-term and final exam marking.  All TAs will be assigned either invigilation duties or marking duties during the final exam period.  For this coming academic year (2009-2010), the final exam period is December 7 - 21 for Term 1 and April 5 - 19  for Term 2.  (Saturdays are included in the examination schedules.) TAs are also required during the summer session, May 1-June 15 or July 1-30.  Graduate students need the permission of their research supervisor to TA during the summer.

Course Assignments

The course assignment is done by the TA Administrator.  Every effort is made to match graduate students with an appropriate course assignment. Most incoming graduate students should expect to be assigned initially to one of the large first-year Physics or Astronomy courses.

TA Duties

Once you have been assigned to a course, the course supervisor should have an introductory meeting with you to discuss your specific duties, laboratory and tutorial times, outline the basic structure of the course and provide any necessary teaching materials such as texts or laboratory manuals.  Normally this meeting is held during the first or second day of term.  Supervisors are usually provided with your e-mail address to facilitate making contact. TA duties include but are not limited to invigilation and marking, teaching, demonstrating lab experiments, giving tutorials. If you have certain limitations on when you can TA, it is a good idea to contact the course supervisor ahead of time, because you must be available to perform TA duties for the pay period.  Please note that the Department will offer you TA financial support only if you maintain satisfactory progress in your graduate program and satisfactory performance of your TA duties.

Evaluation

All course supervisors are asked to provide an evaluation of your work performance during the term.  Students also evaluate laboratory TAs and some tutorial TAs.  Student evaluations are processed after the course is completed, and the forms and statistical analysis will be made available to you.  This evaluation process can form a good basis for a teaching dossier or for your resume.

Important Dates

March 15 Summer Job Postings
March 31 Winter Job Postings
July Deadline for TA Application
1st week of September Offers of Appointment

*new incoming graduate students are given a reasonable extension to this deadline

Questions? Need more information?

If you have any questions or need more information regarding TAship, Please contact Leanne Ebbs lea...@phas.ubc.ca 

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