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Graduate students

2016 Graduate Student Teaching Conference

Friday, August 26, 2016, 8:30 - 1:30 - Fulton 511

  • 8:30 a.m. Light Breakfast
  • 9:00 a.m. Plenary: Tom Mogan, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
  • 10:00 a.m. Concurrent Sessions #1
  • 11:15 a.m. Concurrent Sessions #2
  • 12:30 p.m. Lunchtime Sessions

The Center for Teaching Excellence is committed to providing equal access to its events and programs. Individuals with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may contact

Concurrent Session Descriptions

Advice for Teaching Assistants

This open discussion with a panel of experienced TAs will cover the challenges and opportunities of serving as a Teaching Assistant at Boston College, along with practical strategies for managing the responsibilities of your role.  

Advice for Teaching Fellows

This open discussion with a panel of experienced TFs will cover the challenges and opportunities of serving as a Teaching Fellow at Boston College, along with practical strategies for managing the responsibilities of your role.  

Teaching Natural Sciences in the Lab

Science Teaching Assistants generally have more opportunities in the laboratory setting for direct contact with individual students than do instructors who teach in a traditional classroom. Lab TAs need to exercise good judgment when interacting socially with students, handling students with special requirements, or dealing with attendance and grading issues. In this session, we will present a variety of scenarios that a lab TA might encounter and then discuss the options and resources available for managing each situation.

Facilitating Better Class Discussions

Whether you’re faced with a sea of silent students or trying to get a runaway conversation back on topic, leading class discussion can be one of the most challenging -- and enjoyable -- parts of your work as an instructor. In this session, we’ll talk about the components of a successful discussion and consider concrete strategies for getting a conversation started and keeping it on track.


Using Technology to Build Classroom Community

Although Sherry Turkle and others have warned about the ways that technology can lead to social isolation, educational technologies can also be used strategically in order to build a greater sense of community among your students. In this lively session, we’ll look at a number of technologies that can be used in and outside the classroom in order to encourage students’ collaborative engagement with the materials and each other.

Identity Matters in the Classroom

As college classrooms welcome an increasingly diverse student body, we as instructors are faced with the challenge of creating learning environments that give all our students--no matter their background or identity--the opportunity to succeed. In this session, we will talk about the factors that can impact student success and discuss strategies for creating inclusive classrooms, including strategies for welcoming students with disabilities. We will also touch on the ways our own identities as instructors can matter in the classroom and how we can navigate students’ varied reactions to us.

Tips for Grading Effectively and Efficiently

Grading is often believed to be one of the least enjoyable parts of our roles as instructors, but it is also an incredibly important component of the learning process for our students. Learning the skills of effective grading can help you give more meaningful feedback to students so they can take more ownership of their learning process. In this session we’ll share ideas for how to more efficiently manage your grading load while still providing useful guidance to students about their progress.

Teaching One-on-One

Many TAs and TFs find that some of their most important teaching work happens when they’re working one-on-one with students in office hours or review sessions. In this session we’ll talk about your responsibilities as an instructor in those one-to-one contexts (and what makes them different from a tutoring session) and strategies for helping students get the most out of their time with you.

Representing Your Teaching on the Job Market

Whether you’re entering the classroom for the first time or starting your final year at BC, if you intend to pursue a teaching career in higher education, it’s never too soon to start thinking about how you’ll represent your teaching on the job market. In this session we’ll talk about the kinds of materials that are most often requested by search committees and strategies for showcasing your strengths as an instructor even when you haven’t had much teaching experience.

Troubleshooting Challenging Classroom Moments

Even experienced instructors can sometimes be caught off guard by unexpected student comments or other behaviors in the classroom. In this session we’ll talk through some typical “challenging” scenarios and also leave plenty of time for open discussion of participants’ questions and ideas.

Experiences of Underrepresented Instructors at BC

For instructors who identify as belonging to historically underrepresented groups -- who don’t fit their students’ assumptions about who a “typical professor” should be -- the classroom can present unique challenges. In this open discussion with a panel of experienced TAs and TFs who identify as underrepresented in various ways, we’ll talk about some of those challenges and share strategies for responding to them.

Experiences of International Instructors at BC

Whether they are brand new to the U.S. classroom or long-term participants in U.S. higher education, international instructors can face particular challenges in the classroom. In this session, a panel of experienced international TAs and TFs at Boston College will talk about their own experiences in the classroom, what has surprised them most about American students, and their own strategies for navigating teaching at BC.