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Iowa State University

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Teaching Assistant Handbook

Welcome to Iowa State University and congratulations on your appointment as a teaching assistant! We hope this handbook will be a useful resource as you become acquainted with your program and department, with Iowa State, and with the complex tasks you will perform as a TA.

This handbook is the result of a great deal of work on the part of many people: the Teaching Assistant Training Advisory Committee, members of the Graduate College, and staff at the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). It contains our best efforts at collecting the information and advice needed to assist you in your job as a TA. However, this is general advice on situations affecting teaching assistants campus-wide, so be sure to check with your department for specific policies related to your training and the expectations of your position. Our intention is that this handbook will provide a supplement the training and advice that you receive from your department or program, as well as offering insights and suggestions from other TAs.

The TA Handbook is available as a PDF including information about teaching appointments at ISU, teaching tips for new teachers, as well as advice on grading and classroom management.

Below are additional online resources that provide information on issues relevant to international TAs, links to service and professional development opportunities, and lists of reference materials useful for new teachers.


Resources for International TAs
Services and Professional Development Opportunities
Useful Books and Websites for TAs

The Graduate College Handbook is another resource you might consider researching, especially the chapters on Graduate Student Financial Support and Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities. Check out the Iowa State University Fact Book for more information about the students you will be teaching: ISU's Undergraduate population.

In addition to this handbook, information and support for TAs is available from CELT in the form of workshops, discussion panels and faculty forums. Also, CELT organizes the University Teaching Seminar which offers workshops especially for TAs each August before classes begin, and CELT’s Learning Technologies staff offer seminars, workshops, and consultation on effective use of technology in teaching and learning. You may also be interested in applying to CELT’s Preparing Future Faculty Program, which provides teaching, mentoring, and learning opportunities that give postgraduates an advantage in a competitive academic job market. We invite you to participate in the programming we offer and to let us know how we can improve our services to TAs.

We hope you read this handbook and refer to it often as you continue to gain experience as a teaching assistant. Best of luck in both your studies and your teaching, and in making the most of your graduate education at Iowa State University.