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GTA Orientation Sessions

Welcome and Introduction

Dixie L. Thompson, Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, and Hunter Hammock, President of the Graduate Senate, welcome the participants and share their experiences with teaching. View the recording of this session.

Dixie L. Thompson, Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School

Hunter Hammock, President of the Graduate Student Senate

Creating an Effective Teaching Practice

This presentation focuses on evidence-based teaching strategies that you can incorporate into your teaching practice. Evidence-based teaching strategies are supported by classroom research and show substantial improvements in student learning. These strategies emphasize connecting with students to promote engagement, modeling behavior to achieve learning outcomes, and assessing for student learning and improvement. Programs and resources from Teaching & Learning Innovation are available for those wanting to advance their teaching skills. View the recording of this session.
Robert Jacobsen

Robert Jacobsen, Teaching and Learning Innovation

Robert Jacobsen, PhD, wears many hats around the university. As a lecturer in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Jacobsen teaches introductory geology and geoscience education. Through his course on planetary geology, students learn to use Earth’s geology to understand the geology of our solar system. Jacobsen also works with Teaching & Learning Innovation as the UT Institutional Leader of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, & Learning. In this role, Jacobsen leads programs for graduate students and postdocs focused on evidence-based teaching practices in STEM. Through these programs, participants become more authentic and effective instructors. Finally, Jacobsen is the Assistant Director of the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium. The consortium exists to support STEM learning opportunities at UT and in the community. Each year, Jacobsen coordinates funding for undergraduate research and community partnerships focused on K-12 education.

Title IX: Your Role as a Mandatory Reporter

As a GTA at the University of Tennessee, you are federally mandated to report Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating, and Domestic Violence, and Staking (Prohibited Conduct) to the Office of Title IX. This presentation will explain what it means to be a mandatory reporter and what steps GTA’s must take to fulfill their obligations under the policy. View the recording of this session.
Laura Bryant

Laura Bryant, Office of Title IX

Laura Bryant, Ph.D., MSSW serves as the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Prevention, Training, and Evaluation in the Office of Title IX. In her role, Laura oversees the university’s comprehensive approach to preventing sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. Laura has worked at the university for eleven years, and before serving in her current role, Laura was the Director of the Center for Health Education & Wellness in which she directed student prevention efforts, care, and support via 974-HELP, and threat assessment. Currently, Laura serves as a member of the Commission for LGBT People and serves on the College of Social Work Advisory Board where she is also an adjunct professor.

Student Success Center

Vice Provost Amber Williams will share how UT enhances the undergraduate experience through developing the potential of each student scholar through a positive psychology framing. Dr. Williams will also overview innovative initiatives like the Vol First Year Experience, Vol Study Center, Vol Success Teams, UT Success Academy, and Vols Start Back. View the recording of this session.
Amber Williams

Amber Williams, Division of Student Success

Vice Provost Amber Williams leads UT’s Division of Student Success and develops programming and initiatives that enhance students’ strengths in alignment with their goals and dreams. During her first year at UT, Vice Provost Williams initiated the New Vol Experience, a reimagined six-week experience to transition new Vols to UT. UT also launched Vol Success Teams, where each new student was assigned a three-person network to help navigate their UT experience. And finally, the Vol First-Year Experience is a transformative academic opportunity for first-year students to engage with faculty, staff, and peers. Students who participated in these programs reported higher academic and social belongingness levels and are more comfortable utilizing UT resources.

Disability Related Accommodations

The number of students with disabilities who request accommodations continues to grow at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This presentation explains the accommodation request process and the role of faculty in the provision of accommodations for qualifying students with disabilities. View the recording of this session.
David Ndaiye

David Ndaiye, Student Disability Services

David Ndiaye serves as the director of Student Disability Services at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In this role, David oversees the overall function of the department and collaborates with other units to ensure equitable access to the university’s experience for students with disabilities. He began his career in the disability field as a graduate assistant, coordinating testing accommodations for registered students with disabilities. After spending some time in the private sector, he joined Student Disability Services at UT in 2008.

UT Libraries

This presentation will provide an overview of UT Libraries’ resources, services, and spaces to support Graduate Teaching Assistants. Topics will include library instruction and consultation opportunities; approaches to incorporating collections, electronic resources, and librarian-created teaching tools; and highlights of library spaces to foster teaching, learning, and innovation. The session will provide resources for in-person, online, and hybrid teaching environments. View the recording of this session.
Anna Sandelli

Anna Sandelli, UT Libraries

Anna Sandelli is Associate Professor and Head of Teaching and Learning Programs at the UT Libraries, where she oversees a department focused on information literacy, online learning, and student success. Her teaching has included first-year and transfer student undergraduate instruction, as well as graduate student instruction for the School of Information Sciences, and workshops for a variety of student and faculty audiences, in in-person and online environments. Anna has served on a number of university-wide and professional committees involving experiential learning, inclusive teaching, and transfer student initiatives. She recently served as a faculty leader for the inclusive teaching track of UT’s 2021 Course Redesign Institute and has been recognized as an American Library Association Emerging Leader. She has published and presented on transfer student initiatives, using ethnography to explore student-created learning communities, and the development of a library certificate focused on cultural competency and inclusive teaching.

Academic Integrity & Classroom Behavior

The Academic Integrity and Classroom Behavior presentation by Student Conduct & Community Standards will introduce participants to academic and behavioral issues and Code of Conduct processes at the University of Tennessee. Topics include academic integrity, frequent academic misconduct issues and trends, classroom behavior issues and trends, and campus resources. Detailed Conduct process information will be provided. View the recording of this session.
Shaun McComas

Shaun McComas, Student Conduct and Community Standards

Shaun McComas has served students at UT in Student Conduct & Community Standards since 2016. Shaun’s primary focus has been working with faculty, staff, and students to address behavioral and academic misconduct on campus while maintaining responsibility for office assessment, evaluation, and administration of Maxient’s student conduct database software. Prior to joining the office, Shaun worked as a counselor for a local alcohol and drug treatment facility providing treatment and counseling as part of a multidisciplinary team to individuals with substance use disorders. Shaun’s professional experiences paired with his Social Work education allow him to approach Student Conduct with compassion, understanding, and attention to environmental factors to promote student development.

Bryan Blackwell

Bryan Blackwell, Student Conduct and Community Standards

Bryan has a passion for serving, assisting, and working alongside students as they navigate UT successfully. Bryan joined the Student Conduct & Community Standards team in March of 2021 and serves as a coordinator. In this role, he provides oversight to graduate assistants and adjudicates academic and student misconduct with a functional area of athletics. Bryan is committed to fostering a culture of accountability and integrity for all students’ interpersonal growth and development. Bryan’s mantra is all about helping students overcome barriers as they matriculate into well-rounded adults embracing new challenges in the world.

Policy, Privacy, & Instructor Responsibility

This presentation will focus on key academic policies and deadlines that instructors must know when teaching a course. FERPA, CPOS, attendance tracking, and grading will be covered. View the recording of this session.
Jennifer Hardy

Jennifer Hardy, Office of the Registrar

Jennifer Hardy is the Deputy Registrar and Residency Coordinator at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her work history includes administrative experience at public and private schools and at small and large institutions. Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in Classics from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in Classics from Vanderbilt University. She has been at UT since 2006.

Closing Comments

Ernest Brothers, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, provides a few words to close the New Graduate Teaching Assistant/Associate Orientation. View the recording of this session.

Ernest L. Brothers, Associate Dean of the Graduate School