CST Graduate Teaching Associates
Volume 9 Number 2 (December 1999)

We are delighted to have on board Anna Hoefnagels (Music) and Shilpi Majumder (Psychology) as Graduate Teaching Associates at the CST. Anna and Shilpi have central responsibility for the University Teaching Practicum and related teaching development activities for graduate students. Together they plan and organize all Practicum-related workshops, consult with Teaching Assistants about their teaching, and play key roles in the development of special CST initiatives.

Anna Hoefnagels

Graduate Programme in Music

As a returning Graduate Teaching Associate at the CST this year, I am very excited about some of the changes and plans that have been made for this year. Together, Shilpi and I have developed a workshop series for Teaching Assistants with two specific goals in mind: first, to time the content of the workshops with the TAs' classroom responsibilities to ensure their relevance and applicability to TAs' needs and interests; and second, to offer the workshops which are needed to complete the University Teaching Practicum. Thus far, attendance at these workshops has been impressive which to me indicates our success in achieving the goal of meeting the needs of TAs at York.

This year I am coordinating the Teaching Development Graduate Assistant (TDGA) programme, a programme that promotes teaching development at the departmental level. After a very successful TDGA Orientation in August, this programme is up and flying, with the TDGAs doing great work in planning workshops and activities within their respective disciplines. Again, the success of these initiatives is evident in the variety of workshops being offered at the departmental level, as well as the commitment of the TDGAs to the success and value of their individual programmes.

Finally, I am responsible for the 1999-2000 TA edition of CORE. The theme of the issue will be the role of TAs in helping students learn. Check out the call for papers that appear on page 6 – this special issue provides a great forum for expressing your ideas and experiences on this topic.

I enjoy working with the TAs at York University, and am committed to the belief that, at an institution of higher learning, teaching counts. If anyone would like to contact me, I can be reached by email, and at the CST.

Shilpi Majumder

Graduate Programme in Psychology

As a newcomer to the Centre for the Support of Teaching, I was pleasantly surprised by the growing interest in teaching among graduate students teaching assistants. Already, we have begun the term with an overwhelming response to CST initiatives. Enrolment in the University Teaching Practicum and attendance at workshops has nearly doubled in comparison to previous years. Anna and I are both very excited about this response and are striving to meet the needs of our TA colleagues, as the demand for superior teaching ability increases within academic circles.

In addition to jointly coordinating workshops with Anna, my specific responsibilities this year include facilitating the Teaching Assistant Resource Group (TARG) and planning TA Day 2000. TARG meetings serve as a forum for TAs of varying experience to share and discuss teaching experiences and issues. At the first TARG meeting we collectively decided on issues to focus on in the remaining five meetings (see page 4 for details). We hope you will come out to TARG meetings to share your teaching ideas and experiences.

Teaching in the new millennium will be a challenge for all of us, as new concerns, ideas, and ways to use technology in teaching appear. TA Day 2000 will re-examine traditional teaching issues from varying perspectives as well as incorporate innovative ideas about teaching and learning. We have already begun to receive suggestions for TA Day sessions from CST workshop participants. If you have any ideas, suggestions, or comments about our workshops, TA Day or any CST TA initiative, please feel free to contact me, or drop by the CST.