Nominations for the annual Teaching Assistant awards now open

THE BROCK PRESS/Christy Mitchell

THE BROCK PRESS/Christy Mitchell

Teaching assistants at Brock make up a significant part of our education and with their help, students are often able to grasp the course content easier. In light of their contributions to academia, CPI issued a call for nominations on Jan. 9 for the 2015 Brock Teaching Assistant Awards.

The Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI) established this award in 1998 to recognize the important contributions that these individuals bring to Brock, as well as helping students achieve their academic goals.

The following three awards are given to any eligible teaching assistant, seminar leader or lab demonstrator who fulfill the requirements:

Novice TA Award

  • Presented to the individual who shows promise in the teaching field
  • Must have less than one year experience in the position, but has demonstrated a commitment to assisting others
  • Sponsored by the CPI

TA Award

  • Presented to the individual who has outstanding contribution to teaching and learning at Brock
  • Must have one or more years of experience in the field
  • Sponsored by the CPI

Graduate TA Award

  • Presented to a graduate student TA who shows promise in the teaching field
  • Must have more than one year of teaching experience
  • Sponsored by the Faculty of Graduate Studies

Teaching assistants, seminar leaders and lab demonstrators who are interested in any one of these awards must hand in a signed hard copy of the nomination form. Three signatures should be on the form, including one from the TA, a faculty member and a student or peer.

Letters and supporting documents are also suggested and should highlight the TA’s significant contributions to teaching from a variety of sources such as students, peers, faculty members and administrators.  Second-year Digital Arts and Business student Jake Parrotta, who has had many positive experiences with the teaching assistants in his program, believes that TAs are definitely necessary for succeeding in any course.

“When I was taking an art history course, the TAs offered a number of workshops that were available in Welch Hall to help students improve their writing and studying. That was my first TA experience at Brock and it helped ease me into the course and universitystyle classes,” said Parrotta.

“It’s important to recognize the work that TAs do, especially when it can be difficult as a student to approach their professor. TAs do a good job in bridging that gap”.

Spencer Dawson, third-year Business Administration and Philosophy student, had a similar opinion about the benefits of having a TA.

“TAs and students are in an intimate classroom environment, which allows for more casual and comfortable conversation. Personally, I enjoy having a seminar component to the course with a TA, as students are more prone to speak out loud and voice their opinions,” said Dawson.

The nomination package must be received at the CPI in Thistle (TH253B) by Mar. 7. Successful candidates will receive the awards at the TA reception in April, which is sponsored by the CPI and Vice-president of Academics. Recipients cannot renominate themselves until five years after they have received an award. The selection committee also reserves the right not to select a winner for any award in the given year.

The nomination form, submission guidelines and other information can be accessed at brocku.ca/pedagogical-innovation/awards-grants/teaching-assistant-awards. Questions can be directed to cpi@brocku.ca

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