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Achieving Harmony: Tuning into Practice
Tuesday, June 16 • 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Tuning into GTAs: Querying perceived expectations and challenges in acting as educational leaders in their departments

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Teaching and learning centers (TLCs) at Canadian universities face the challenge of providing contextually relevant educational development (ED) support to the campus from a typically central location (Taylor & Bédard, 2010). Often, they provide training to graduate teaching assistants (GTAs), and some centers have begun to go further, taking a distributed leadership (DL) approach through a network of discipline-specific GTAs acting as mentors to their peers. This allows for local and discipline-specific peer support, increases the reach of a TLC, and may foster a culture of teaching and learning in departments with such lead GTAs. For the lead GTAs themselves, there is the opportunity to develop leadership and pedagogical competencies, and to leverage the experience towards their CV. The value of GTA peer support has long been acknowledged (see Puccio, 1986), and the importance of DL for ED is gaining attention (see Christensen-Hughes & Mighty, 2010). While the idea is theoretically sound, how harmonious it will be in practice is not covered in the literature. The purpose of this 60 minute interactive session is to query participant interest in, and perspectives on, the idea of a lead GTA-type program for educational development in the disciplines. General themes to be developed through group activities are: (1) expectations of such a position (support, benefits, etc.), and (2) perceived challenges in taking a leadership role (e.g. departmental culture, existing GTA roles, etc.).
While the main audience for this session is GTAs, opinions from faculty members, administration, and TLC staff would also be valuable.


Tuesday June 16, 2015 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Cypress 2 Room

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