Teaching Assistant Handbook

Compiled by Prof. Gary E. Ford, September 1999
Revised by Prof. Richard R. Spencer, July, 2000

TA Orientation and Training

Campus TA Orientation

All new Teaching Assistants, and all TAs new to the Davis campus are required by the Office of Graduate Studies to take part in the campus-wide TA orientation prior to beginning their teaching duties. Experienced TAs who have yet to attend an orientation also should plan on attending. Those graduate students who may not be serving as TAs until winter or spring quarters are welcome to attend the fall program. The program provides graduate students with an introduction to the important roles teaching assistants play in undergraduate instruction and to value of the experience as an integral part of their graduate education. This orientation program begins with a general assembly during the first week of the Fall Quarter and is followed by a variety of TA Training Workshops. During the Winter quarter, there may be additional workshops offered.

The Fall 2008 Orientation will be held on TBD. New TA's must register online prior to the orientations at http://trc.ucdavis.edu to receive an email reply which serves as their entry ticket. TA's who are international students (including international students from English-speaking countries), or for whom English is not their first language should attend an additional session: Monday, September 26 at 9:30-10:50am or Tuesday, September 27 at 9:30-10:50. These sessions will be held in 226 Wellman Hall. Please contact if you are unable to attend the orientation.

International Student SPEAK Test

To assist departments in making informed TA appointment decisions, and to help better prepare international students who may be eligible to serve as Teaching Assistants, the University requires that all international graduate students take the SPEAK Test for spoken English proficiency prior to beginning duties as Teaching Assistants. [Note: International TAs from English-speaking countries may be granted waivers from this requirement upon written request from their department chair to the Office of Graduate Studies.] For more information and the testing schedule, follow the link below:


If you have any questions about either the Fall TA Orientation or the SPEAK Test Program, please contact the Teaching Resources Center by phone at 752-6050 or by email .

Course Orientation

When you received your course assignment for a quarter, you will be directed to contact the faculty member in charge of the course. You should make this contact as soon as possible to receive an orientation to the course and your responsibilities. In meeting with the instructor, the following topics should be discussed:

  • Your general responsibilities in assisting with the course.
  • Whether or not you will be expected to attend lecture or discussion sessions.
  • Your assignment and schedule for staffing a laboratory section.
  • Your responsibilities for preparing laboratory materials.
  • Your responsibilities and schedule for preparing problem sets, their solutions, and grading guides.
  • Your responsibilities in supervising an undergraduate reader.
  • Your responsibilities and schedule for administering and grading examinations.
  • Your responsibilities for course administration, including management of student records and the course web materials.
  • Your office hours and location.
  • The time and location of meeting with the instructor and the TAs assigned to the course.
  • An estimate of your time required each week to meet the assigned responsibilities.
  • Procedures for evaluating your performance.

ECE TA Training Course

The ECE TA training course (EEC390) will be offered in Fall 2008 on Fridays, TBD. It is required of all ECE TAs who have not previously taken the course. It is open to all other interested students.

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