Lead TA Program

Program Goals

The Lead TA program is a new initiative on campus to facilitate the professional development of teaching assistants at a discipline-specific level.

The program, which is in its second year now, will  position Lead TAs in 10 departments across campus where they will identify departmental TA training needs, facilitate workshops, develop teaching resources, and offer peer feedback to colleagues through classroom observations. A full list of departments participating in the Lead TA Program for the 2014-15 academic year can be found below.

Resources for TAs

Last year, Lead TAs developed an incredibly rich bank of practical resources that you may find useful in your work as a TA at Western.  These resources contain information about every stage of the TA journey at Western and include handouts, online modules, websites, and TA handbooks.  Be sure to check out these discipline-specific resources here.

This initiative to improve the teaching effectiveness of TAs at a departmental level complements the general, interdisciplinary TA training offered by the Teaching Support Centre.  In order to support the Lead TAs in their own professional development during the year, the TSC will provide ongoing training and resources to the group on facilitation, peer mentoring and teaching excellence.  The Lead TA pilot program is a result of collaboration between the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the Faculties, the GTA Union and the Teaching Support Centre.  If you would like to learn more about the program, please contact Lead TA Coordinator Aisha Haque at the TSC.

lead TAs for 2014-2015

Here are the Lead TAs for the 2014-2015 Academic Year:

Naemeh Naghavi
Faculty of Engineering

Naemeh is a fourth year PhD candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her field of research is Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. She has 4 years of experience being a teaching assistant in Canada and her home country. She is excited about collaborating with fellow TAs to share the joy of teaching.

Bonnie Alberry
Faculty of Science

Bonnie Alberry is a 3rd year PhD student in the Department of Biology. She first gained experience as an undergraduate teaching assistant while completing her BSc in Neuroscience at Carleton University. Bonnie joined the MSc Biology program at Western in 2012, and has since transferred to the PhD program. Her research is focused on behaviour and gene expression following prenatal alcohol exposure and early life stress. She has experience at the 3rd and 4th year level as both a tutorial and laboratory Graduate Teaching Assistant. Her teaching enthusiasm was rewarded as a recipient of the SOGS Graduate Student Teaching Award for 2013-14. Bonnie looks forward to encouraging growth and collaboration amongst her fellow TAs.

Danielle Brewer
Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Danielle Brewer is a second year PhD student in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Brain and Mind Institute. Her research is aimed at understanding the effects of concussion and sub-clinical concussive hits to the head on cognitive function throughout a season of athletic play. She has over 4 years of teaching experience including several TAships here at Western, as well as facilitating Graduate Student training programs and workshops. She's excited for this new role as Schulich's Lead TA and is looking forward to making connections with students throughout the faculty sharing in her passion for teaching.

Cameron Fenton
Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Philosophy)

Cameron is a third-year PhD student in the philosophy department. He is primarily interested in moral, political, and legal philosophy. He has been a TA for Advanced Introduction to Philosophy on two occasions and for Critical Thinking on one occasion. His current research focuses on what adult children ought to do for their parents.

Leichelle Little
Faculty of Health Sciences

Leichelle Little is a doctoral candidate in the Health and Rehabilitations Sciences program (Health Profession Education). Leichelle has over five years of teaching experience including: course instruction, workshop facilitation, guest lecturing and several TA positions at Western University and the University of Waterloo. Leichelle is eager to start her second year as a Lead TA and she is excited to continue to develop the program for her faculty.

Rachael Pack
Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Women's Studies)

Rachael Pack is a PhD student in the department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research. Her primary research interests are centred at the intersections of gender, health, technology, temporality and neoliberal citizenship.   Her doctoral research examines how cancer survivorship discourses operate to create new standards against which the capacities of women to become proper citizen/subjects are simultaneously constructed and evaluated. In addition to her research, Rachael is interested in feminist pedagogy and social justice education. She has four years of experience as teaching assistant, and is continuously reflecting on her teaching practices.

Dirk Schuit
Faculty of Social Science (Psychology)

Dirk is enjoying the second year of his Ph.D. where he is investigating rhythm and beat processing in the brain using neuroimaging techniques. He comes to Western with seven years of experience running undergraduate and graduate courses at Maastricht University (Netherlands).  Dirk greatly enjoyed his TA experience at Western last year, and he hopes to help new, veteran, Canadian and international teaching assistants expand their skill set and confidence in the classroom to get as much enjoyment out of teaching as he does.

Allison Segeren
Faculty of Education

Allison Segeren is currently a fourth year PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education specializing in equity education and policy sociology.  Allison has a diverse range of teaching experiences including high-school classrooms both brick-and-mortar and online, teaching assistantships in the Bachelor of Education program at Queen’s University, and facilitating the Inclusive Post-Secondary Education program at Queen’s University supporting adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Kevin Shaw
Faculty of Arts and Humanities (English)

Kevin Shaw received a BA and an MLIS from Western and an MA in English from the University of Windsor. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of English. His research investigates how contemporary Canadian literature represents the country's borders as sites of censorship and/or disclosure regarding gender and sexual expression for LGBTQ subjects. His teaching experience includes volunteering as a peer mentor, working as a composition instructor at the University of Windsor, and as a teaching assistant in first-year English courses at Western.

Adriana Soto-Corominas
Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Hispanic Studies)

Adriana Soto-Corominas is currently pursuing her PhD in Hispanic Linguistics at Western University. Her main areas of interest are language acquisition and language processing. She has been a TA at Western for one year and she also has six years of experience as a language teacher. She is very excited about this unique opportunity to improve the learning experience of the students in the Modern Languages and Literatures department.