Graduate Teaching Assistant Program

Learn while you teach

 

“When you take on the role of a teacher you strengthen your mastery of whatever content you’re teaching." Joel Barnes, Faculty

Graduate Teaching Assistantships provide graduate students with experiential learning opportunities working with faculty members and students in the Resident Undergraduate program in Prescott, Arizona.  For students considering careers as an educator, testing the waters as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) can prove to be an invaluable learning experience to gain some practical on-the-job skills, develop leadership skills, and help to pay for their graduate education while serving as a resource for Resident Undergraduate faculty and students.
While the duties assigned will vary by program area delivery and need, GTAs will be responsible for the following:
• Serve as a teaching assistant, co-instructor, or lead instructor in 1-2 Resident Undergraduate courses, and/or in 1-2 Limited-Residency Undergraduate courses; GTA teaching placements must occur in two consecutive terms.
• Facilitating classroom, laboratory, field, or discussion sessions.
• Reviewing and editing student papers and exams.
• Holding regular office hours and meeting with students in study and review sessions.
• Assisting faculty members with instructional preparation, delivery and assessment.
• Other duties pertaining to the instructional mission of Prescott College.
During their first term in the GTAP, GTAs are required to enroll in the 1-credit graduate cohort course on experiential learning pedagogy and teaching (as such, this course must be included in each GTA’s fall term study plan).  During the spring term they are required to participate in practicum supervision seminars on a weekly basis (1-credit of graduate practicum).  GTAs can include additional practicum credits in their fall or spring term study plan if desired (and approved by their Graduate Expert Mentor and Core Faculty).  These time commitments are manageable along with full time graduate study. On average, during the terms when a GTA has a teaching placement, they will be required to work somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty hours per week.

How the Graduate Teaching Assistant Program Works

In the first fall term of their enrollment in the GTAP, GTAs in both the Limited-Residency Master's and Resident Master's programs must enroll in the required one-credit residential graduate cohort course, Experiential Education Theory, Method, and Practice at Prescott College: Preparing for a Successful Graduate Teaching Assistantship.  GTAs in the Limited-Residency Master's program (along with Resident Master's students from the prior year) are required to enroll in a 1-credit Teaching Supervision course, which involves weekly seminars held during the Resident Undergraduate fall term.  In the spring term, all GTAs are required to complete 1-credit of teaching supervision seminars, which are also held weekly during the Resident Undergraduate spring term.  

GTAs have the option of using their Resident Undergraduate  teaching experiences to design practicum credits into their spring or fall term study plans, but this requires approval by the student’s core faculty.  The cohort course and teaching supervision seminars are taught typically taught by the GTAP Director, but may also be taught by other graduate Faculty, PhD Faculty, or PhD Associate Faculty assigned by the either the undergraduate or graduate dean.

In addition to enrolling in the 3 required GTAP courses, GTAs in the Limited-Residency Master's program may be required to enroll in the Environmental Studies, Adventure Education, Education, Counseling Psychology, or Humanities foundations course taught by the program chairpersons to new students in the first term.  GTAs in an Resident Master's program will be required to enroll in their residential courses during each term, but will not begin their Resident Undergraduate teaching until their second (spring) term.  All GTAs are required to meet all other degree requirements.  In order to remain eligible for GTA funding, GTAs must be enrolled as full time graduate students each consecutive term, be involved in 1-2 Resident Undergraduate or Limited-Residency Undergraduate courses each term, and maintain good academic standing and satisfactory academic progress throughout their programs of study.

Eligibility Requirements

• Completion of an undergraduate degree relevant to Environmental Studies, Adventure Education, Education, Counseling/Psychology, Cultural & Regional Studies, or Social Justice/Human Rights, plus relevant certification(s) for Adventure Education such as WFR.
• Demonstrated quality of academic work and practical/field experience as appropriate given the curricular requirements in Environmental Studies, Adventure Education, Education, Counseling/Psychology, Cultural & Regional Studies, or Social Justice/Human Rights.
• Demonstrated leadership and interpersonal communications potential.
• Commitment to experiential learning for social justice and environmental sustainability.
• Evidence of character, ethics and high professional standards including, among others, respect for honest and responsible exchange of ideas, fair and equal treatment of all learners, respect for individual differences, and ability to avoid interactions that might jeopardize the fair assessment of student efforts.
• Full-time enrollment and satisfactory progress in the Limited-Residency Master's or an Resident Master's program.
• Full-time enrollment for two consecutive terms in the Limited-Residency Master's program, or for three consecutive terms in an Resident Master's program.
• GTA opportunities for 2013-2014 require students to live and work in Prescott, Arizona.

Application & Selection Process

Applicants to the Graduate Teaching Assistant Program must complete (or have completed) the standard application requirements for either the Limited-Residency Master's program or the Resident Master's program AND submit a Letter of Intent to the Prescott College Admissions Office no later than February 15th.  The Letter of Intent should be based on the GTA position description, describe the applicant’s academic background and personal/professional experience relevant to college level teaching, and identify specific courses in the Resident Undergraduate fall term course offerings she/he feels qualified to help teach. The link to a list of the Resident Undergraduate fall term courses can be found on the Prescott College web site at https://my.prescott.edu/resident-undergraduate-resources/assets/evaluations/ocu-fall-2014-course-evaluation-descriptions.pdf, and the admissions applications can be found on the Prescott College web site at http://www.prescott.edu/apply/index. The Letter of Intent can be submitted via email to admissions@prescott.edu.

Completed applications and Letters of Intent are forwarded to the appropriate Master of Arts departmental Chair and the GTAP Director for evaluation. If the applicant is deemed admissible to the Limited-Residency Master's or the Resident Master's program, the applicant is awarded provisional acceptance into the GTAP, and the file is evaluated by the appropriate Program Coordinator from the Resident Undergraduate. If the Program Coordinator determines, along with the GTAP Director, that there is an appropriate teaching assignment for the applicant, then she/he will be granted final acceptance into the GTAP.

If insufficient Resident Undergraduate courses are available for GTAs during the GTAP admissions process, the GTAP Director will consult with the deans of the undergraduate programs for other possible placements; this could include teaching or assisting with Limited-Residency Undergraduate courses, working as a tutor in the Writing and Learning Center, etc.
The Selection Committee considers all applications and provides the Director of Admissions with a ranked list of all applicants deemed eligible and qualified for a GTA scholarship.  The Director of Admissions will make the GTA offers to the admitted applicants in the order of committee ranking.  If an applicant denies the offer or otherwise does not meet the Tuition Deposit or other deadlines set by the Admissions Office, the Director of Admissions will offer that scholarship to the next applicant on the list of qualified and eligible applicants.  If the ranked list is exhausted, the Director of Admissions will proceed with offering the remaining GTA awards to other applicants on the ranked list after consulting with the GTAP Director to assure course placement availability.



2013-2014 Graduate Teaching Assistant Opportunities
Graduate Teaching Assistantships valued at $6000 each

For new students beginning their graduate studies at Prescott College in Fall 2013, a limited number of Graduate Teaching Assistantships valued at $6,000 each have been made available in the fields of Environmental Studies, Adventure Education, Education, Counseling Psychology, Cultural & Regional Studies, and Social Justice/Human Rights. A limited number of Graduate Teaching Assistantships may also be available for continuing limited- residency master’s students (i.e., those having completed 1 or 2 terms). These Graduate Teaching Assistantships last for two consecutive terms for Limited-Residency Master’s (Limited-Residency Master's) students, 3 consecutive terms for Resident Master’s (Resident Master's) students, and GTAs are required to be enrolled fulltime while they are enrolled in the GTAP.

The teaching assignment for each GTA will be determined on a term-by-term basis.  Teaching or assisting with Resident Undergraduate courses is the preferred option, and there will be opportunities for GTAs to help design and teach the Resident Undergraduate First Year Curriculum.  Opportunities may also exist for GTAs to teach in the limited residency undergraduate program.  Environmental Studies GTAs may be involved with general courses such as research methods, ecology, etc. or more specific content such as watersheds, fire ecology, etc.  Adventure Education GTAs might work with courses involving outdoor leadership, wilderness education, etc. as well as more specific skills and field experiences such as rock climbing, whitewater rafting, etc.  Education GTAs would help teach course in topics such as experiential education, curriculum design theory and application, authentic assessment, and environmental education.  GTAs in Counseling Psychology, Cultural & Regional Studies, and Social Justice/Human Rights will help teach foundational courses that are relevant to these academic field(s) and draw on the individual’s background and expertise.   

During the first term, GTAs should generally expect to serve as teaching assistant in 1-2 classes led by an Resident Undergraduate Faculty or experienced instructor.  GTAs may be approved to serve as lead instructor in a course in their second term.  While there is no guarantee of future teaching assignments, GTAs will be eligible to apply for other teaching opportunities once they have completed the GTAP.

Graduate Teaching Assistant Model and Roles

In the GTAP model, the role of Faculty (whether Resident Undergraduate or Limited-Residency Undergraduate) is that of a master teacher and the GTA is an apprentice.  Faculty and Instructors who have a GTA may serve as a practicum supervisor for their GTA at the GTA’s request, but are not obligated to do so.  If it is decided that the Faculty should serve as a practicum supervisor (a joint decision made by the Resident Undergraduate/Limited-Residency Undergraduate faculty, the GTA, and his/her core faculty) the Faculty member is required to fulfill all of the supervisor obligations and will receive payment per Limited-Residency Master's guidelines.  When a GTA teaches a course as a lead or co-instructor, the GTAP Director works with the appropriate Faculty, Instructor, or administrator to assign a suitable faculty person to supervise the practicum, if necessary.  It is important to note that the Limited-Residency Master's model designates the Graduate Expert Mentor as the student’s primary mentor and evaluator of his or her graduate work.  As such, Resident Undergraduate/ Limited-Residency Undergraduate Faculty are not expected to serve in this role with their GTA.  They serve as a master teacher with their apprentice GTA in the context of a specific course.  In general, the written work generated by a GTA during his/her teaching assignment will be submitted to and evaluated by the GTAP Director (and if practicum credits are involved, their Practicum Supervisor).  Finally, GTAs have the option of designing their graduate study plan(s) to allocate some credits as practicum that focus on their GTA teaching experiences.

As part of their teaching responsibilities, each GTA will hold a limited number of office hours (approx. 2-3 hours per week) to help their students with class assignments and offer other course-related advising.  Faculty can work with his/her GTA to structure these office hours to suit specific needs (and if feasible, make his/her office available to the GTA for this purpose).

Beyond their official teaching assignments in the Resident Undergraduate and/or Limited-Residency Undergraduate program(s), GTAs are expected to engage with the Resident Undergraduate, Limited-Residency Undergraduate, and Resident Master's programs in ways that enrich their graduate studies and support Faculty.  As GTAs familiarize themselves with the courses being offered in an upcoming term, they will contact selected Faculty and explore ways they can contribute to courses as a guest speaker and/or a visiting student.  Sharing a course syllabus with a GTA is an easy and efficient way for Faculty to facilitate this process.  GTAs engage with specific classes to learn more about a particular topic, or to observe first-hand the Prescott College style of education.  Finally, since one of the primary goals of the GTAP is to strengthen the bridges between the Resident Undergraduate, Limited-Residency Undergraduate, and Limited-Residency Master's programs, GTAs are encouraged to collaborate with Faculty and students and experiment with new ways to integrate beyond the established program structures.

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