The ability to master a discipline and disseminate knowledge in a clear and concise manner is the true hallmark of a scholar. To foster the development of effective teaching skills, CMB students are provided a full-time Graudate Assitantship in undergraduate courses ranging from Genetics, biochemistry, biology and microbiology. The Graduate Teaching Assitantship carries with it the expectation of 20 hours effort/week in addition to effort required for your course work and research credits. This can include teaching laboratory sections, attending prep sessions and lectures, and/or helping to proctor and grade examinations. Students are required to teach one semester during their first year and one semester during their second year. Beginning in the third year, students are typically funded by the advisor or the advisor’s department, through a research grant or fellowship which does not have the expectation of teaching.
Teaching assistants receive guidance and learn classroom techniques from the faculty instructors in charge of the laboratory sections. Students will receive a written evaluation of their performance in addition to continued feedback from the instructors. It is also beneficial for our Program to evaluate the teaching experience of the students, so each TA has the opportunity at the end of the semester to comment on their teaching experience for that course.
Senior CMB students have recently offered to other graduate students specialized short courses in techniques they have mastered, such as fluorescence microscopy or bioinformatics analyses. This is another great opportunity to showcase emerging skills in a format that benefits current students as teacher and learner.
UVM’s Center for Teaching and Learning is an excellent resource for teaching skills, and they offer numerous workshops and retreats to help students refine their teaching ability. They also offer a Graduate Teaching Program for students interested in pursuing teaching as a career. This program enhances a student’s classroom skills beyond the standard TA experience as well as helps the student compile their teaching portfolio.