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Train Department TAs

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CTL works with faculty and departments to design, implement, assist with, and evaluate programs that prepare new TAs for their teaching roles. We also support TAs as they carry out their teaching responsibilities.

Training Department TAs


Several policies govern the hiring and selection of TAs at Stanford including:

Faculty Senate Guidelines for Departmental/Program TA Training - The Faculty Senate TA Oversight Committee guidelines require departments and programs to implement and maintain an orientation, supervision, feedback, and teaching development program for TAs and to designate an Academic Council faculty member to oversee the TA training program.

Sexual Harassment Training - Stanford requires all graduate teaching assistants, course assistants, and other academic staff to complete training that addresses sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. Find out more about this requirement and how to complete the training. 

English for Foreign Students Requirement - International graduate students who plan to serve as teaching assistants or course assistants are required to complete a screening exam.

Stanford Administrative Guide - This guide summarizes the regulations regarding Graduate Student Assistantship appointments at Stanford, including eligibility criteria, types of teaching assistantships, and other policy matters. 

GAP Handbook- The Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures (GAP) Handbook outlines additional policies related to the academic progress of Stanford graduate students, from their application and admission to the conferral of degrees and retention of records.

Best Practices

The Teaching Assistant Oversight Committee (TAOC) conducted a 2008 study of Stanford departmental TA training programs and concluded that they were most effective when they included some or all of the following structures: 

  • Orientation/training seminars at the beginning of the year or quarter for new TAs 
  • A pedagogy course or opportunities for ongoing discussion with peers and faculty during the first year of teaching 
  • Opportunities for TAs to be mentored by faculty or peers 
  • Opportunities for practice or simulated teaching 
  • A midterm or formative TA evaluation, as well as an end-of-term or summative TA evaluation process 
  • A customized departmental TA handbook 
  • An archive system for TA training materials and courses 
  • Professional development opportunities 
  • Customized workshops by CTL 

What's Working in TA Training

CTL has developed a Teaching Team Resource Suite to support instructors who are working with TAs on instructional teams. This is a set of resources designed to help your teaching team set expectations, hold meetings, reflect on teaching, and otherwise collaborate effectively.


The following sections present examples of TA training practices in various departments and programs on campus. We hope these examples will inspire ideas for TA training in your department or program.

TA Handbook and Guide Examples

Pedagogy Course Examples

  • BIO 296: TA Training in Biology, by Jamie Imam
  • CEE 200: Teaching in Civil and Environmental Engineering, by Stephen Monismith
  • COMM 301: Communication Research, Curriculum Development and Pedagogy, by Jeremy Bailenson
  • DLCL 301: The Learning and Teaching of Second Languages, by Elizabeth Bernardt
  • EARTH 218: Communicating Science, by Jenny Saltzman
  • EDUC 213: Introduction to Teaching, by Sarah Wischnia
  • EFSLANG 692: Speaking and Teaching in English, by Seth A. Streichler
  • ENGLISH 396L: Pedagogy Seminar I, by Alex Woloch
  • ENGR 290: Graduate Environment of Support, by Noe Lozano and Tom Kenny
  • HISTORY 305: Workshop in Teaching History, by Nancy Kollmann
  • HISTORY 306K: World History Pedagogy Workshop, by Martin Lewis and Karen Wigen
  • LINGUIST 394: TA Training Workshop, by Beth Levin and Bonnie Krejci
  • MUSIC 280: TA Training Course, by Nate Sloan
  • PHYSICS 294: Teaching of Physics Practicum, by Chaya Nanavati
  • PHYSICS 295, Learning and Teaching of Science (EDUC 280, ENGR 295), by Carl Wieman and Gloriana Trujillo
  • RELIGST 391: Teaching Religious Studies, by Steven Weitzman
  • SOC 300: Workshop: The Art and Joy of Teaching, by Lauren Benditt and Emily Carian