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Talk: A Comprehensive Model for Graduate Teaching Assistant Training

Presented by Michael Ferrara, University of Colorado Denver

Mathematics is an increasingly inextricable part of all STEM disciplines (c.f. National Research Council, The Mathematical Sciences in 2025, 2013) with over 300,000 students at 2- and 4-year colleges enrolling in Calculus I each year. As such, undergraduate student success in mathematics courses is a necessary part of addressing the above issues of recruiting and training the next generation of STEM professionals. The research literature shows clearly that students’ perceptions of mathematics are strongly impacted by effective pedagogy.

In response to this reality, the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) has undertaken a complete redesign of its TA training program with support from an NSF IUSE grant (#1539602 ,PI M. Jacobson, co-PI and co-lead M. Ferrara). In addition to a more robust pre-semester and in-semester TA training seminar, the program includes mentoring of new TAs by faculty and peers, peer coaching centered on facilitating active learning, observations at local schools to understand the pipeline to college, and a spring-semester seminar on critical issues in undergraduate mathematics education. In this talk, we will give an overview of the program, and share initial findings from the first year of data collection from the research associated with this project