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Why Work For Us as a Graduate Student: Varied and Challenging Work

Posted by on Friday, January 27, 2012 in News.

Each spring the Center for Teaching (CFT) recruits graduate students and post-docs to work at the Center for the following school year. These positions are great opportunities for graduate students to refine their teaching and presentation skills, network with graduate students outside of their department or program, and develop expertise in training and supporting new TAs.  Every year, our Teaching Affiliates and GTFs tell us how much they enjoyed and benefitted from their experience working at the CFT.

One reason that is often cited is the varied and challenging work that our staff perform; from planning events to providing consultations.

  • Providing consultations promotes self-reflection as well as promotes good listening skills and boosts confidence (theirs and yours!).
    “Being able to perform one-on-one interviews with other graduate students and to converse about strengths and challenges in their classes granted me with the skills to assess myself at a deeper level of understanding because this assessment was part of the learning process instead of an unwanted criticism.” (Martha Garcia, Associate Professor, University of Central Florida, MTF 2002-03)

    “I most enjoyed working with other graduate students, going into their classes, getting feedback from their students, and discussing that feedback with the graduate students. I now work in a position split between administration and teaching, and I find myself using the observation and feedback skills I first practiced as an MTF as I work with other professors.”  (Laura Patterson, Associate Professor of English and Director of Undergraduate Writing Programs, Seton Hill, MTF 2000-01)

  • Meeting others outside of your own discipline who are working toward the same goals is eye opening. You just might find new knowledge, new expertise, and new perspectives.
    “The free association that was possible with other mentors from other disciplines was extremely valuable. Despite disparate discipline-specific cultures in the classroom, ‘outside the box’ thinking in one discipline was often discovered to be standard operating procedure in another.”  (Jonathan Sprinkle, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Arizona, MTF 2002-03)

    “I learned a lot from the other Affiliates and Fellows from different departments across campus. During TAO training you are getting paid to learn and interact with grad students who you likely would not have met otherwise!” (Kate O’Doherty, Graduate Student, TAff 2009-11)

  • Organizing and planning workshops and events provides you event planning experience as well as increasing your confidence in front of a crowd.
    “Working on the planning and organization of a graduate conference, GradSTEP, for other graduate students prepared me with indispensable administrative knowledge.” (Martha Garcia, Associate Professor, University of Central Florida, MTF 2002-03)

    “I think that being confident in speaking before a crowd, whether they be students, executives, or peers, is a skill set I improved that is always useful. By learning techniques to reach all of the audience and learning to read body language, plus seeing oneself perform on a videotape, are such valuable experiences. In my current job I am always presenting to large and small audiences and I can now do it will ease and confidence.” (Christie St-John, Ph.D., Senior Assoc. Director of Admissions, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, MTF, 1994-1995)

The CFT has two types of positions available for graduate students:

  • Graduate Teaching Fellows (GTFs) are employed for the entire academic year, engage in a variety of CFT activities around training and supporting teaching assistants across the university, and are paid $20,000 for the year.
  • Teaching Affiliates prepare and lead sessions at our annual Teaching Assistant Orientation in August, working about 80 hours total (mostly in August), and are paid $1000.

Complete information about these positions and the application process can be found here. Applications are due Friday, March 2nd. Interested applicants are encouraged to come to one of our drop-in information sessions: Wednesday, February 1, 3:00-5:00pm or Friday, February 10, 9:00-11:00am to meet current GTFs and Teaching Affiliates and CFT staff and ask questions about these positions.

(Note: In December 2011, the CFT invited former graduate student employees share their reflections on their positions with the CFT. Above are some of their unedited comments made about working at the CFT as a Master Teaching Fellow, a Graduate Teaching Fellow or a Teaching Affiliate.)



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