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Teaching Assistant Orientation (TAO)

TAO 2014 was held on Thursday, August 14th. Check back in the Spring for information regarding next year’s TAO.

What Is TAO?

Many graduate students are awarded teaching assistantships, and while teaching assistant (TA) duties vary across departments, they all demand considerable skill and knowledge.  These duties can include grading, consulting with students during office hours, leading discussion or problem sessions, teaching labs, or giving lectures.

“I went into this with no specific expectations. I feel like it was much more helpful than I anticipated! My leader made it a fun, relaxed experience. It was more than just a ‘required’ orientation for me, as I feel more prepared and confident about being a TA this year for the first time.”
- 2009 TAO Participant

To assist new TAs as they prepare for their duties, the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching offers its Teaching Assistant Orientation (TAO) each August.

  • Sessions at the orientation offer effective strategies for the varied teaching duties assumed by TAs and provide information on campus resources available to TAs.
  • Participants at TAO also receive an opportunity to practice their teaching skills and receive feedback on their teaching from experienced teachers.
  • Participation in the orientation can make students’ work as TAs easier and will be a valuable addition to their curriculum vitae, especially if they intend to pursue an academic career.

Who Should Attend TAO?

  • Graduate students who will begin teaching assistant (TA) duties during the 2014-15 school year are invited to attend TAO.
  • You may be required to attend TAO by your department.  Please check with your department to find out its TAO attendance policy.
  • If you do not know if you will begin your TA duties during the 2014-15 school year, then you should check with your department to find out.
  • If you will not be a TA during the 2014-15 school year, then you should defer your attendance of TAO until the beginning of the academic year in which you actually begin your TA duties.

When is TAO?

TBA for Fall 2015

 9:00-9:30     Check-in & Registration

 9:30-11:45    Disciplinary Focus Session 1: Join other new TAs in your discipline
                    and learn about effective teaching methods relevant to topics like:
                    holding office hours, grading papers, running a lab, or teaching your own

12:00-12:55    Lunch (provided)

1:05-1:50     Expert TA Panels (in each disciplinary focus session)

2:00-4:15      Disciplinary Focus Session 2: Learn about, and practice effective
                    teaching methods relevant to topics like: Leading review sessions, Grading
                    Papers, Running a Lab or Teaching Your Own Course.

Where Should I Park?

PARKINGPlease allow yourself PLENTY of time to get to campus and to find parking. We suggest that you give yourself at least 20 minutes to park and find your way to Buttrick Hall.

  • Vanderbilt parking: If you haven’t already, it would be wise to get your semester parking permit from Traffic and Parking so you can park for free in a designated Vanderbilt parking lot. Visit the Office of Traffic and Parking Web site to see designated lots.
  • Visitor parking: If you don’t have your VU parking permit, there are several Central Parking lots available for your use. Visit the Office of Traffic and Parking Web site for more information on and the location of Visitor Parking lots.

Where Can I Find Out More?

For more information, contact the CFT at 615-322-7290.


From the CFT Blog