Departmental TA Training and the TAC Program

The OID TA Training Program assists TAs at UCLA in improving their teaching and advancing their professional development.

Many UCLA departments require their TAs to complete a 495 Seminar designed to prepare them for the TA role. Those seminars are organized, developed, and taught jointly by a faculty member and an experienced graduate student holding the title of a TA Consultant (TAC). 

Departmental TA Training Seminars:

The format of the TA training seminar varies by department, and is specifically tailored to fit the discipline. In most departments, this seminar carries the course number 495 and is a requirement for all new TAs at UCLA. TAs enrolled in these seminars will often practice teaching in microteaching sessions, discuss pedagogical strategies, hear advice from experienced TAs, and learn about departmental procedures and guidelines. In addition to teaching techniques that are discipline-specific, new TAs are introduced to general principles of good teaching.

Currently, more than 40 UCLA departments offer a TAC position supported by OID. The TAC is nominated by their department and hired by the Office of Instructional Development. For more information about the application process:

  • Interested departments click here
  • Potential TACs click here

Responsibilities of a TAC:

• Co-develop and teach (or co-teach) the departmental 495 seminar

• Attend the Central Seminar in the fall 

Leading the 495:

The TAC’s primary job is to help graduate students in the department learn how to be better teachers, and how to deal with the responsibilities and conflicts that may arise for the TA. The TAC leads a 495 TA Training Seminar, in which TAs develop their teaching skills and learn about departmental and university resources and policies. The TAC is also available for individual consultation with the TAs, and may observe classrooms to provide feedback and advice on how to improve teaching skills. 

This seminar will be designed and implemented under the guidance of the departmental 495 faculty advisor. 

TAC Central Seminar:

All TACs are required to attend the Central Seminar in the Fall quarter, led by the TA Training Program Coordinator. The seminar guides TACs in thinking about the goals and objectives of being a departmental consultant for new TAs. The discussions center around the difference between thinking about one's own teaching versus guiding new TAs to become effective instructors. Each year, the Central Seminar brings together the best TAs nominated by their departments with the collective objective of raising the standards of pedagogical instruction for undergraduates at UCLA.

Limitations of the job:

TACs should not be involved in activities that are not related to TA training, whether for their department or in any other capacity. For example, TACs should not be involved in administrative tasks, such as hiring TAs or assigning them to positions. The TAC should not be involved in creating course materials for undergraduate classes or other course development activities, including writing tests or organizing course content. Observations or evaluations of a TA made by a TAC should not be part of the TA's official teaching record, and should not be used in the process of hiring or assigning TAs to their job positions.