2000 GSA Annual Meeting -- Reno, Nevada

Abs. No. 52680


Author(s): FEISS, P.G., Arts and Sciences, College of William and Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187, pgfeis@wm.edu; MACDONALD, R.H., Department of Geology, College of William and Mary, rhmacd@wm.edu; MILLIMAN, J.D., School of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, milliman@vims.edu

Keywords: education, future-faculty, workshops, teaching-assistants

Two National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) workshops on 'Preparing Graduate Students for Teaching: What Departments Can Do' were offered in 1999 at the autumn GSA and AGU meetings. These workshops, which involved more than 60 faculty members and graduate students from 27 universities, focused on strategies that a department or program could use to better prepare their teaching assistants (TAs) and to enhance the preparation of future faculty. The workshops included sessions on various teaching preparation programs, issues related to departmental involvement, issues related specifically to the geosciences, planning for an optimal program from different perspectives, strategies for providing feedback to graduate student instructors, teaching portfolios, and assessment. Current departmental practices include before-semester orientations or workshops for teaching assistants, regular meetings with the laboratory coordinator or another faculty member, mentoring programs (including use of a head TA), workshops led by graduate students, departmental TA guidebooks, micro-teaching sessions, informal discussions and dinners, field trips, TA questionnaires, end-of-semester interviews with teaching assistants, courses in the department or university on teaching, and various evaluation methods. Each team at the workshop also discussed the results of a survey completed by their graduate students on various topics related to preparation for teaching. The overall survey results suggest that while graduate students in doctoral programs are more likely to consider future teaching than students in masters-only programs, relatively few (compared to students in masters-only programs) thought that they received adequate preparation for teaching. Most students reported an appropriate level of supervision, and approximately half thought their institution rewarded good teaching. Workshop participants also developed a preliminary plan to institute or refine a departmental program to prepare their graduate students for teaching.

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