All graduate students in the Field of GGD are required be a teaching assistant (TA) for one semester. Many GGD students prefer to TA for two semesters, either because they would like more teaching experience or because student costs are then paid by the department which offers the TA position. Most students will be asked to teach during the fall and/or spring term of their second year, but some will teach in their third or later years. Most students will TA for courses offered in the Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, but TA positions in other departments will equally fulfill the BMCB TA requirement.
Molecular Biology & Genetics Teaching Assistantship Guidelines
The summer before teaching begins, students will receive a message from the Associate Chairman of MBG (who makes the TA assignments) listing the courses that are given in department, along with a list of the TA responsibilities for each course. Each student ranks the courses in order of TA preference. While the Associate Chair tries to accommodate student preferences for teaching assignments, the teaching needs of the department take precedence over individual preferences.
Preference in TA assignment
- A student whose thesis research advisor is a member of the Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics
- A student in the Field of GGD or BMCB who has not previously been a TA.
- Any other student.
Exceptions will be made for pedagogical reasons. For example, if no student in the highest priority category is willing or able to TA a particular course, a student from a lower priority category will be chosen.
The University requires international students to to participate in a Language Assessment Interview by the International TA Development Program (ITADP) in order to assess competency in English prior to TAing. Only students who received a 28 or above on the Speaking portion of TOEFL are exempt from this assessment. On the basis of this assessment, some international students are required to take an additional course(s), given by the ITADP to improve their teaching skills. Occasionally, students may also be required by the ITADP to take an English-as-second language course.
Teaching offers an opportunity both to extend one’s knowledge and to develop communication skills that will serve you well in your graduate and post-graduate career. The teaching performance of each student will be evaluated by the instructor in charge of the course and copies of that evaluation will be sent to the student, the DGS, and the student’s major professor. In addition, students are urged to provide a written critique of their teaching experience, and of the course in which they served with the intention of helping to improve the course.
Each year, the Field of GGD acknowledges outstanding teaching efforts by presenting TA awards. One award is given through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). Another award, the Joe and Rita Calvo Teaching Award, is given directly by the MBG Department.