Teaching Assistants’ Training Program

The Teaching Assistants’ Training Program (TATP) offers in-person (training, workshops, microteaching, consultations) and online webinars (resources, tip sheets, videos, training modules) support for members of CUPE 3902, Unit 1, at the University of Toronto, as well as professional development opportunities such as special events and two certificate programs. The TATP also administers two teaching awards to acknowledge teaching excellence in teaching assistants and graduate student Course Instructors.


Pre-arrival Teaching e-Orientation Program

With the support of a provostial International Student Experience Fund (ISEF) grant, the TATP is working with the Centre for International Experience (CIE) to develop the Pre-Arrival Teaching e-Orientation program for international students. Through virtual discussion spaces, themed resource hubs, and live online webinars facilitated over a four-week summer time frame, incoming first-year students will connect with seasoned international teaching assistants (ITAs) on topics such as: the importance of intercultural teaching and learning in the classroom; teaching in the Canadian higher education context; or professional development opportunities to make the most out of their teaching experience. Two ITAs, hired for August 2019-2020, also led a workshop on “Developing Intercultural Competencies for Use in Diverse Classrooms” for the TATP and produced a report with recommendations based on focus groups with ITAs.

Transferable Skills and Non-academic Careers

Exploring ways to respond to the current needs of TAs and graduate student Course Instructors (CIs), the TATP has participated in broader university conversations around transferable skills. TATP ran workshops with Student Life’s Grad Step-Up and the Graduate Professional Development Conference (GPDC) and supported the SGS’s Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) by acting as judges and offering two workshops and one webinar on preparing an effective 3MT presentation. TATP staff and trainers delivered sessions in Music [DMA], English, German, Chemistry, and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology to support transferable skill development.

As a provider of mandatory training for TAs and graduate student CIs, as well as teaching-related professional development opportunities for graduate students, the TATP has become a gateway for those interested in pursuing educational development (ED) as a career. Since 2017, TATP has offered sessions and resources related to pursuing a career in ED and co-facilitated a half-day workshop (Educational Development: Getting Started) and networking lunch for the Council of Ontario Educational Developers (COED).

Universal Design for Learning

The TATP continues its work on guidelines and best practices for Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in its programming and resource development. UDL is now embedded throughout all TATP staff training and sessions, promoting equitable and inclusive teaching and learning. Working with U of T’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities (AODA) Office, and Accessibility Services. UDL-focused workshops were offered for certificate participants, including core workshops, and for various departments and units (e.g., OISE). TATP is also participating in the newly established institutional Community of Practice focused on UDL application across higher education.

In a joint programming initiative with CTSI and ACT Support, the TATP offered a four-part webinar series on UDL and Quercus, Strategies for: 1) Structure and Navigation, 2) Assessment and Feedback, 3) Student Engagement and Community Building, and 4) Inclusive approaches to teaching, learning and assessment, and accompanying resources. These sessions were also offered for instructors through CTSI programming on repeated occasions.

Visit Re:Think to read TATP graduate student staff members reflect on the move to remote/online learning:


The TATP continues to explore and deepen their work on graduate student development through U of T partnerships with Rotman School of Management, Student Life, the Centre for International Experience, School of Graduate Studies, the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office, and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Office. As a result of the TATP’s UDL advocacy (consultations and sessions) with U of T partners, Accessibility Services (UTSG) inserted a discussion of UDL practices into their guides and resources.

TATP’s reach beyond U of T can be seen in their work with the Southwestern Ontario Educational Development & Grad Support Meeting (a TATP initiative), roundtable sessions on teaching at the college level (with Professors and Deans from Humber, Sheridan and Conestoga colleges) and in teaching-focused positions and delivering sessions at the inaugural Life Sciences Career Expo (both postponed until 2021).

For metrics on the numbers of TAs and graduate student CIs who attended TATP training sessions and workshops, as well as session titles and departments, see Appendix E (coming soon).

“I believe creating the online Course Instructor [Training] Camp brought our team even closer together, strengthening the connections we have at the TATP, and also helped build and strengthen relationships with graduate CIs who completed the camp.”
Matthew Patience, Course Instructor Coordinator, Teaching Assistants’ Training Program, PhD Candidate, Department of Spanish & Portuguese