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Thursday, June 23 • 13:45 - 14:45
PK07.01d - The Benefits of Employing Undergraduate TAs in a Large, First Year Course

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Introductory Psychology is a large course at many universities. Several years ago, we redesigned our course and added weekly small group active learning sessions. As a result, we found ourselves in need of 32 TAs to facilitate these new “learning labs”. With not enough grad students available to cover these positions, we turned to our 4th year Honours class to find additional TAs.

We were especially pleasantly surprised to realize several non-academic benefits as a result of pairing a 4th year psychology student with a group of first years just starting out at university. But, along with this surprise came a need for different avenues of support for our mentors.

This brief presentation will highlight some of the unexpected benefits of using undergrad students to mentor their first year peers, as well as the program that we use to ensure that these TAs are providing a high quality learning experience for the introductory students. Unlike the grad TAs with whom they work as part of our instructional team, these undergrad TAs are carefully selected and receive thorough training in teaching and learning.

By the end of this lightening presentation, audience members will understand the rationale and process by which we select, train, support and supervise our team of facilitators as well as the unique benefits we found working with undergraduate TAs. I hope that this exposure to one particular TA training program will provoke audience members to think further about how to support the professional development of TAs, including how best to assess their professional development.

avatar for Jill Atkinson

Jill Atkinson

Adjunct Associate Professor, Queen's University
Jill Atkinson is Adjunct Associate Professor at Queen`s University, Kingston, Canada. She is Chair of the Undergraduate Psychology program. She teaches an advanced undergraduate seminar and practicum course in Applied Research in Higher Education, and redesigned Queen’s’ popular... Read More →

Thursday June 23, 2016 13:45 - 14:45 EDT
UCC 37