TA Day: Graduate Student Conference on Teaching

Wednesday September 9, 2015
Room 40, Health Sciences Building (HSB)
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

This one-day conference introduces graduate students to teaching at Western University and helps them prepare for their roles as teaching assistants. Join TSC staff and award-winning professors to learn about facilitating discussions in tutorials, helping undergraduate students in laboratory settings, dealing with difficult students, and much more!

Are you an International Graduate Student at Western? For more information on International Teaching Assistant Day, explore our ITA Day Page.

Fall 2015 Program - Coming in July!


Previous Program: TA Day 2014 

Opening Remarks

9:00 – 9:15 a.m.

SSC 2050

Debra Dawson

 Teaching Support Centre

Linda Miller



Kevin Goodbout



David Blocker


GTA Union (PSAC Local 610)

Keynote Presentation

9:15 – 10:00 a.m.

SSC 2050

                                                      Summoning Your Inner Teacher: Some Dos, Don'ts and Maybes

Photo of Professor TsujitaProfessor Cameron Tsujita, Department of Earth Sciences
Winner of the 3M National Teaching Award 2014

Professor Cameron Tsujita received the 3M National Teaching Fellowship in 2014 for his innovative approach to teaching in Earth Sciences. He is the author of an award winning textbook on Physical Geology, winner of every teaching award at Western, and a passionate advocate for science education and outreach. He has appeared in debates on the Discovery Channel, and has helped create the Ontario Geoscience Resource Network to connect geoscience departments, museums and school teachers.

Introduction to TA Training Programs at Western

Nanda Dimitrov, Teaching Support Centre (TSC)

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.

SSC 2050

Coffee Break

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions (Choose One)

10:30 – 11:25 a.m.

Explaining Difficult Concepts in Science

SSC 2028

Facilitating Discussions 

SSC 2050

Time Management Strategies for TAs

SSC 2024

Felix Lee, Chemistry

Students often have trouble understanding abstract scientific ideas and concepts. What are some of the strategies that may be helpful when teaching a multi-ability audience?

Nanda Dimitrov, TSC

Learn about starting and guiding class discussions effectively.  Practice leading group discussions using quescussion and various brainstorming techniques.

Tracey Ropp, Learning Skills Services

To be successful in the dual roles of student and TA requires a carefully planned balancing act. Discuss time management strategies that can help you be an effective and efficient student and TA.

Concurrent Sessions (Choose One)

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Critical Incidents in the Life of a TA

SSC 2028

The First Day of Class  

SSC 2050

Helping Your Students Write Better 

SSC 2024

Karyn Olsen, TSC

In this session, some common problems in student-instructor interactions will be illustrated through discussion of short case studies.

Ken Meadows, TSC

Walking into the classroom on the first day can be intimidating for both students and TAs.  This session explores what you can do to ensure a successful beginning to the school year.

Paul Schmidt, Writing Support Centre

This session will focus on how TAs can help their students learn expectations for academic writing, and help them to become better writers. 

Lunch Break (free boxed lunch available in SSC 2032)

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions (Choose One)

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Making Connections @ Your Western Library

SSC 2028

Dealing with Difficult Students

SSC 2050

Starting Your Teaching Dossier

SSC 2024

Kim McPhee, Western Libraries

Join us to find out how the library can work for you and for your students. Learn about resources and services that can simplify your teaching and your research.

Mike Atkinson, TSC & Psychology

Many TAs experience occasional situations in which students become “difficult” or disruptive.  In this session you will discuss strategies you can use to deal with student behaviour that interferes with learning in the classroom.

Aisha Haque, TSC

Documenting your teaching in a teaching dossier will help you when you teach a course for the second time, teach a course on your own, or when you apply for jobs. In this session, you will learn strategies for starting a teaching dossier.

Coffee Break

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Effective TAing at Western: Panel of TA Award Winners

2:45 – 3:45 p.m.

SSC 2050

Graduate Student Teaching Award winners will speak about effective ways of fulfilling the TA role and about their experience teaching in a variety of disciplines.  Panelists will answer questions and address concerns you might have about teaching and learning at Western.

Panelists: Leichelle Little (Health & Rehabilitation Sciences); Jennifer Hutchison (Music); James Southworth (Philosophy); Danielle Brewer (Anatomy & Cell Biology); Melissa Jacquart (Philosophy); Kate Traill (English).

The New TA Survival Kit

3:45 – 4:30 p.m.

SSC 2050

Practical Implications of the TA Contract

David Blocker

President, GTA Union

Harassment and Discrimination Issues for Graduate Students

Terri Tomchick-Condon

Equity and Human Rights Services

Introducing the Society of Graduate Students

Kevin Godbout

President, SOGS