Conferences & Orientations

The 2017 Graduate Teaching Assistant Orientation was a success! Please click the hyperlinks in the schedule below  for immediate access to session presentations and materials.

2017 TAO Schedule – Monday, August 21st 2017
12:30 1:00 Orientation Registration Smith Hall Entrance
1:00 1:30 Plenary Session Smith Hall
Facilitators: CTAL, Ann Ardis (OGPE), Faculty TBD  Smith 130
Agenda: Welcome, Campus Resources, High-Impact Practices
1:40 2:20 Breakout Sessions I Gore
Classroom Management & Building Community Classroom Assessment Techniques
& Student Feedback
Communicating Clearly
2:30 3:15 Discipline-Specific Sessions Gore
Physical Sciences Arts & Humanities Health Sciences
Engineering & CIS Social Sciences Mathematics
3:15 3:45 Ice Cream Social GoreRotunda
3:45 4:25 Breakout Sessions II Gore
Developing a Professional Persona Time Management Helping Students Develop Critical Thinking
4:35 5:00 Capstone Session Smith Hall
Faciliators: CTAL, CIRTL, TA Fellows  Smith 130
Agenda: What are your next steps?, CIRTL, TLCs


About the 2017 TA Orientation

I think TA orientation program is one of the most helpful programs that help TAs – especially for those who have never been a TA before. – Participating new TA

CTAL-Teaching_Assistant_Orientation-082415Every year, the Center for Teaching & Assessment of Learning, organizes a half day event to provide information and resources to new graduate Teaching Assistants. Transitioning into the role of a new Graduate Teaching Assistant can often create feelings of uncertainty. The Graduate Teaching Assistant Orientation is designed to ease the stress of this transition by providing incoming graduate TAs with necessary information regarding what to expect. The event helps orient TAs to their instructional roles and responsibilities at the University of Delaware and introduces them to effective practices and central aspects of learning and teaching. Following orientation, our graduate students understand many of the tasks for the academic year ahead and are armed with the resources and knowledge that lead to success. Graduate Teaching Assistant Orientation is primarily for those graduate students who have been newly appointed as TAs for the academic year.

Graduate students who have excelled at being TAs and are recommended by their department help facilitate sessions. They serve on a general panel alongside professors and lead area-specific sessions. This is the favorite aspect for many new TAs.

I thought it was well-organized and offered an opportunity to discuss ideas with other TA’s, as we got to know each other. – Participating new TA

I liked when we had the opportunity to present specific concerns we had to our TA Fellows, and they helped us see what the best course of action would be in such situations. – Participating new TA

Meet the 2017 TA Fellows

Jason Bourke I am a PhD Candidate Urban Affairs and Public Policy. My dissertation research looks at the relationship between political economy on economic development policy and their evolution over time. I was a teaching assistant for the first two years of my program. In the first year, I was a TA for LEAD 100 and 404 and in the second I was a TA for UAPP 110. I currently teach a section of UAPP 110, an introduction to public policy course titled, “Changing the World and Public Policy.”
Mike Habegger I am an instructor and research assistant in the Department of Political Science and International Relations where I have taught Politics of the Developing World and Political Communication. My research explores how what people do on social media transforms liberal conceptions of democracy and international relations.
Em Rowe I am a fifth year PhD student in the Department of Sociology. My research interests include sexuality, gender, and qualitative methodology. During my time at UD, I’ve TA’d quite a few classes, ranging from Black Middle Class to Women and Violence. Additionally, I’ve taught my own section of Social Problems and I will be teaching Introduction to Sociology in the Fall 2017 semester.
Hasan Eruslu I am a third year doctoral student and teaching assistant in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. I hold a master’s degree from Bogazici University in Istanbul/Turkey and have been teaching mathematics since 2006.
Samuel Cogar I am a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics where I study qualitative methods for inverse scattering theory under the advisement of David Colton and Peter Monk with funding from the Department of Defense. I have served as both a teaching assistant and an instructor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
Nicole Ray I am a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering; my research focuses on studying the movement patterns of healthy adults and developing innovative rehabilitation tools for stroke survivors. I have been a TA for a junior-level machine design course. I also enjoy working with students to solve technical problems.
Paolo Cavaliere I am a Ph.D. student in the Urban Affairs and Public Policy program at the University of Delaware. I hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Emergency Management from the University of Perugia, Italy. At the University of Delaware, I work as a Teaching Assistant in Leadership. I have  built a strong background in emergency management with the Italian Red Cross, where I’ve served in both the Civilian and Military branches. My research interests are focused on disaster preparedness, Nonprofit Organizations, disaster policies, aspects of leadership in emergencies, climate change adaptation and mitigation, disaster risk reduction, public participation in emergency management.
Zachary Suriano I am a doctoral candidate in Climatology in the Department of Geography. My current research examines the temporal and spatial variability of snowfall and snow melt within the Great Lakes region, with a particular emphasis on relationships to synoptic-scale weather conditions. I am an active member in the UD chapter of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL), have instructed multiple laboratory courses, and frequently teach as a guest lecturer.
Rayanne Luke I am a second-year graduate student in the Department of Mathematical Sciences this fall. My research interests include the intersection of math and medicine as well as modeling in epidemiology. Additionally, I have been a TA for Calculus I both semesters in the 2016-2017 academic year. When I’m not doing math, I’m usually out for a run on the trails of White Clay.
Scott Kubik I am a second year graduate student working toward my Master of Music in Teaching.  I hails from Long Island, New York and have worked with music students ranging in age from Pre-K through Senior Citizens.
Janice Hudson I am a doctoral student in the Geography Department. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (2010) and my Master of Science from the University of Delaware (2015). My research interests include biogeochemical cycling, forest microclimatology, and ecological climatology.
Cara Cuccuini-Harmon My name is Cara Cuccuini-Harmon and I am a fourth year PhD student in the Human Development and Family Science department. In 2017 I received the University Graduate Student Teaching Award. At UD I have taught 7 courses and developed 2 courses in lifespan development, child development, and early childhood education. My teaching philosophy includes connecting theory to practice, developing student’s analytical thinking, and a focus on writing development.
Caitlin Hutchison I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in art history with a specialization in the early medieval art of northwestern Europe. During my tenure at the University of Delaware, I have served as a Teaching Assistant for several courses in the Department of Art History and have taught my own courses in Early Medieval Art and Ruler’ Images, as well as a First Year Experience (FYE) seminar as part of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Passport to the Liberal Arts program. In 2015, I received the Department of Art History’s Anna R. and Robert T. Silver Award for Excellence in Teaching. Over the past several years, I have also served as a New Student Orientation advisor and regularly mentor undergraduate students in Art History.
Morshed Hasan I am a doctoral student in the Mechanical Engineering Department. I am primarily interested in researching mechanical degradation of polymer electrolyte membranes to enhance the durability of PEM fuel cells. I choose to teach as an opportunity to share my learning with students, as well as to learn from them. I love traveling, photography, soccer, and cricket.
Rebecca Boyer-Andersen I returned to UD as an adult student about 10 years ago to obtain a degree in the Med Lab Science department.  After that I worked in a hospital lab, and in industry, before deciding I was ready for another round of schooling.  I started last fall as a graduate student in the Biology department — loved TA-ing– and have since switched to Education, as I hope to make a contribution in the field of Science education.
Christine Banos I am a Biochemistry PhD graduate student in my 2nd year, and I work in Dr. Zhihao Zhuang’s group.  I was a TA for general chemistry lab for two semesters, then I held a help session for honors general chemistry, and finally did lab prep for elementary biochemistry lab.
Andrew Jenks Hi, I’m Andy, a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science and International Relations whose work centers on the intersections of disability theory and politics. I have TA’d a wide range of courses: from introductory classes of 220 students, to small, writing-intensive classes with 16 students. The ability to give quality, constructive feedback is one of the most important parts of being a TA and one of the most important parts of the job in my opinion. Outside of school I am a Team USA Paralympian which has taught me how to juggle graduate studies and being a TA while traveling and competing during the semester.

Past TA Orientation News

CTAL-Teaching_Assistant_Orientation-082415Over 200 new TAs participated in the August 2015 TA training. During an introductory panel, students heard from both experienced graduate TAs and professors on what both faculty and undergraduate students will expect from them. Two other sessions followed — the first one being exclusively moderated by TA Fellows according to area of study, and the last session focused on three themes: Assessment Techniques, Technology in the Classroom and Strategies for Classroom Management. Professional staff from the Center for Teaching & Assessment of Learning, Academic Technology Services and the Library organized those workshops. You can find the complete schedule as well as schedules for previous orientations here.

Some lessons from the offered sessions:

The scenarios that were played out were extremely helpful. I learned more about FERPA, what to do before, during and after a student is observed being academically dishonest, and also how to make ice breakers not the most torturing aspect of a session. – Participating new TA


I learned that the way one carries him/herself and their attire is what will help to establish authority especially since the students one teaches may be close in age. – Participating new TA

How to deal with students distracted by cell phones/internet during class; have a routine, to give students signposts and meet expectations throughout semester; review previous content before class in order to anticipate student questions. – Participating new TA


There are many ways that a young TA can make herself/himself be taken more seriously by the students whom they are teaching. These include dressing professionally, being punctual, a firm command of class material, and clear and fair expectations. – Participating new TA

Very good suggestions on how to deal with specific questions in set scenarios. – Participating new TA

I learned how to be an efficient TA. – Participating new TA

See in particular the session on Arts & Humanities as well as the session on Physics & Engineering for examples of what was discussed during those sessions.


Past TA Conferences provided opportunities for TAs to learn more about teaching and learning in higher education.


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