TA Day: Graduate Student Conference on Teaching

Wednesday September 5, 2018
Room 40, Health Sciences Building (HSB)
9:00 AM - 4:00 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!

Fall 2017 Program

Opening Remarks

Nanda Dimitrov - Acting Director, Teaching Support Centre (TSC)

Linda Miller - Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

9:00 – 9:15 a.m.

HSB 40

Keynote Presentation

9:15 – 10:00 a.m.

HSB 40

The Languages of Teaching

Professor M.J. Kidnie - Department of English and Writing Studies
Winner of The Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching


Introduction to TA Training Programs at Western

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.

HSB 40

Karyn Olsen, Acting Associate Director, Graduate Education, TSC

Coffee Break

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions (Choose One)

10:30 – 11:25 a.m.

The First Day of Class

HSB 236

Explaining Difficult Concepts in Science

HSB 40

Time Management Strategies for TAs

HSB 240


 Ken Meadows, TSC

Walking into the classroom on the first day can be intimidating for both students and TAs. Together, we will examine what you can do to ensure a successful beginning to the school year.

 Christina Booker, TSC

Students often ask their TAs to help
them understand tricky concepts
presented in class. This session will
provide specific advice on how to help
undergraduate students succeed.

Tracey Ropp, Learning Skills Services

To be successful in the dual roles of student and TA requires a carefully planned balancing act. We will 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

Facilitating Discussions

HSB 40

Surviving and Thriving in Canadian Academia

HSB 240

Karyn Olsen, TSC & Kim McPhee, Western Libraries

This session will discuss challenging student-instructor interactions using a case study that follows a semester in the life of a Western TA. You will walk away with a key list of resources
including how to use Western Libraries to your advantage in teaching.

 Nanda Dimitrov, TSC

Learn about starting and guiding class discussions effectively. Practice leading group discussions using Quescussion and other kinds of brainstorming techniques.

Aisha Haque, TSC

This session for international graduate students will explore strategies to help you make a successful transition to Canadian academia. Topics discussed will include building a positive relationship with your supervisor,
communicating in the classroom, and clarifying expectations for TA roles.


 The New TA Survival Kit & Lunch Break

  • Pick up your FREE boxed lunch in HSB 35
  • Over the lunch break, visit with representatives from the GTA Union, Equity and Human Rights Services, Society of Graduate Students, the Wellness Education Centrem and Western Libraries outside of HSB 40. Learn more about the important resources these organizations have to offer and have your questions answered!

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions (Choose One)

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Helping Your Students Write Better

HSB 236

Dealing with Difficult Students

HSB 40

Documenting Your Teaching 

HSB 240

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. 

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

This session shares strategies for starting a teaching dossier. Reflecting on and documenting your teaching will help when you become a course TA for the second time, teach a course on your own, and when you apply for a job.

Coffee Break

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Thriving as a TA: Panel of Outsanding TAs

2:45 – 4:00 p.m.

HSB 40

Introductory Words by the Graduate TA Union (PSAC Local 610)

Claire Burrows (FIMS), Tarek Rashwan (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Adriana Soto-Corominas (Hispanic Studies), and Oleksiy Zaika (Anatomy & Cell Biology)

Experienced TA panelists will share strategies for effectively fulfilling the TA role, and address audience questions.


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