TA Day: Graduate Student Conference on Teaching

Wednesday September 9, 2015
Room 40, Arthur and Sonia Labatt Health Sciences Building (HSB)
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Map to TA Day

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 

Opening Remarks

9:00 – 9:15 a.m.

HSB 40

Debra Dawson


 Teaching Support Centre

Lorraine Davies

Associate Vice-Provost


Keynote Presentation

9:15 – 10:00 a.m.

HSB 40

The Art of Keeping A Large Group of Students Motivated

Quazi Rahman

Professor Quazi Rahman
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Quazi Rahman is an award winning professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Western.  His innovative approach to engaging students has been recognized by the R. Mohan Mathur Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest teaching honor annually awarded by the Faculty of Engineering in 2015, the University Students’ Council’s Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2014, as well as OUSA’s Award of Excellence for Outstanding Achievement in Undergraduate Teaching, a province-wide award that recognizes educators who excel at unlocking the potential of Ontario’s university students, also in 2014.

Dr. Rahman has also been on the USC's Teaching Honour Roll  every year since 2006.  Dr. Rahman is a licensed professional engineer in the province of Ontario, Canada and a senior member of the IEEE. He is a contributing author of a number of refereed journal and proceeding papers, and book chapters in the areas of wireless communications, and study of software applications in the Electrical Engineering domain, and is also involved in  research on Teaching Pedagogy.

Introduction to TA Training Programs at Western

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.

HSB 40

Nanda Dimitrov, Teaching Support Centre (TSC)

Coffee Break

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions (Choose One)

10:30 – 11:25 a.m.

Explaining Difficult Concepts in Science


HSB 236



HSB 40

Time Management Strategies for TAs

HSB 240

Derek McLachlin, Biochemistry

If the professor didn’t clearly explain a tricky concept in class, students often ask their TAs to help them understand. This session will provide specific advice on how to succeed!

Nanda Dimitrov, TSC

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

A PDF copy of this presentation is available here.

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

HSB 236

The First Day of Class

HSB 40

Helping Your Students Write Better

HSB 240

Karyn Olsen, TSC

In this session, common problems related to student-instructor interactions will be illustrated with a case study: A Semester in the Life of a Western TA.

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 HSB 35)

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions (Choose One)

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Making Connections @ Your Library

HSB 236

Dealing with Difficult Students

HSB 40

Starting Your Teaching Dossier

HSB 240

Monica Fazekas, 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, 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 classroom learning.

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 Veteran TAs

2:45 – 3:45 p.m.

HSB 40

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.

The New TA Survival Kit

3:45 – 4:30 p.m.

HSB 40

Practical Implications of the TA Contract

Indranil Chakraborty

President, GTA Union

Harassment and Discrimination Issues for Graduate Students

Terri Tomchick-Condon

Equity and Human Rights Services

Introducing the Society of Graduate Students

Tamara Hinan

President, SOGS

Please register in advance: 

If you have any questions, please contact us at tsc@uwo.ca, or 519.661.2111, ext. 80346.