We are writing to ask that you consider sending a departmental team to a national workshop on physics and chemistry graduate teaching assistants (GTAs). As you know, GTAs play a pivotal role in the teaching mission of research universities; however, best practices for preparing/supporting GTAs are not widely known or implemented in many departments. (The need for more comprehensive career development efforts for GTAs was recently discussed here: http://chronicle.com/article/We-Must-Prepare-PhD-Students/142893/.)
The workshop, “Mobilizing the Forgotten Army: Preparing TAs for Leadership in STEM Education” (sponsored by Research Corporation for Science Advancement and co-sponsored by the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, and the American Association of Physics Teachers) offers the opportunity for a small group of departmental teams to interact together with colleagues who have expertise in supporting GTAs in physics and chemistry. The workshop, which will be held May 27-29, 2015 on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA, is designed for departmental teams consisting of one “mentor/master” TA and one faculty member. Ground costs (lodging, meals, registration) for a single team per department (up to about 15 teams) will be covered through a grant from the Research Corporation. Multiple teams from each department are welcome to apply, but only one team per department will receive financial support. Please note that applications for the workshop must include a letter of support/commitment from you, the Department Chair, as described on the workshop website: http://www.physics.utah.edu/~jgerton/CSC_TA_Workshop/.
The nomination deadline is February 13, 2015. The online nomination form and additional information can be found here: http://www.physics.utah.edu/~jgerton/CSC_TA_Workshop/apply-now.html
We look forward to working with you to identify appropriate candidate teams for this workshop. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Jordan Gerton (U of Utah) and Mike Schatz (Georgia Tech)