two graduate teaching assistants discussing

2015 Teaching Assistant Orientation


The annual Teaching Assistant Orientation provides an opportunity for new teaching assistants (TAs) to learn more about teaching and support services at Northern Illinois University. On the morning of August 19, 2915, the Duke Ellington Ballroom was filled with over 225 TAS as they gathered for a day of learning, preparing for their role as teaching assistants, and networking with fellow TAs. Joining them were 17 university faculty and staff who presented 19 presentations and breakout sessions.

Returning to the orientation this year was the popular and well-received panel discussion, Teaching Across the Disciplines, which featured five experienced teaching assistants who shared helpful tips and strategies about teaching and their roles as teaching assistants. Feedback for this session was positive and one participant commented, “I loved the positive energy of this event. I felt energized, ready to take on challenges, and excited to meet my students. I am happy that one of the speakers on the panel talked about the importance of self-care; to remember to sleep, eat, exercise, and see your friends.”

If you would like to participate on the panel next August, ask your supervisor to nominate you. Or, if you would like to nominate an experienced teaching assistant to represent your department as a panelist at next year’s TA Orientation, contact Tracy Miller at We’d love to have you or your department represented at the 2016 Teaching Assistant Orientation!

New to this year’s orientation were two afternoon breakout sessions. Each session featured five unique presentations from which participants could attend. The response to the breakout session was very favorable with comments like, “I really enjoyed the breakaway sessions” and “I thought the presenters for those were wonderful.”

The TA Orientation is offered each year through the collaborative efforts of the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, the Graduate School, and other departments and support units. The annual event helps graduate teaching assistants develop their teaching skills and introduces them to university resources that will support their work. The TA Orientation is always well attended and attendees consistently agree that this event will benefit their students.

If you were unable to attend this year’s TA Orientation, you can review the presentations and handouts online.

Each year our Center receives requests for more teaching assistant programs, and the TA Orientation is the first of several workshops offered throughout the year geared toward NIU’s teaching assistants. To find out more about TA workshops, look for our monthly calendar of programs.


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