GTA Programs and Resources

GTAs are a vital component of the academic community at KU. This page contains information on GTA orientation and professional development opportunities as well as key information for what comes next: the academic job search.

Return to CTE Homepage

Continue to Teaching Resources

Continue to Faculty Programs

An accessible version of the documents on this site will be made available upon request. Contact to request the document be made available in an accessible format.

New GTA Orientation Information

Graduate Teaching Assistants play an integral role as instructors at the University of Kansas. The New GTA Orientation is intended to prepare new GTAs for their instructor roles at KU. All new GTAs must complete a mandatory New GTA Orientation offered by the Center for Teaching Excellence or an approved alternative New GTA Orientation offered by their hiring department. Information on the date and location for the upcoming CTE-led orientation can be found below.

All first-time GTAs must complete their new GTA training during their first semester of teaching. The CTE New GTA Orientation consists of three components:

1. New GTA Policy Tutorial

2. New GTA Conference Modules and Sessions

3. New GTA Follow-up Session

Find more details about the CTE New GTA Orientation and departments that have approved alternative orientations below.

The Fall 2024 New GTA Orientation Conference Sessions will held on Monday, August 19th from 9 am to 3:30 pm. New GTAs are required to attend the in-person sessions listed below. 

Schedule New GTAs on Aug. 19th

9:00-9:30         Check-in

9:30-11:00       Welcome Session

11:00-1:00       Lunch, resources, and time to work

1:00-2:30         Discussion Session

3:00-3:30         GTAC Info Session

More details about all of these session will be sent to new GTAs via their KU email when the New GTA Orientation Canvas course opens on Aug 5th. Below are more details about the Fall 2024 deadlines associated with the Canvas requirements of the orientation.

Other deadlines for New GTA Orientation

Essential Modules    By 1:00 PM CT on Aug. 19

Policy Tutorial           End of the day on Aug. 25

Breakout Modules    End of the day on Sept. 1

Follow-up session

Registration available via Qualtrics on Sept 9. New GTAs will get an email notification to sign-up for and attend 1 one-hour session between Sept. 16 and Oct 11. 

The goal of the Policy Tutorial is to introduce and familiarize new GTAs with KU policies and procedures as they relate to their duties as a GTA. The Policy Tutorial covers four broad topics: Privacy and Disability, Consenting Relationships and Sexual Harassment, Professional Expectations, and Academic Integrity.

  • All new GTAs must complete the Policy Tutorial, regardless of where they complete the conference and follow-up session (CTE Conference and New GTA Follow-up Session or approved alternative departmental orientation).
  • New GTAs will receive information about accessing and completing the Policy Tutorial two weeks before the first day of class.
  • New GTAs must score 100% on the Policy Tutorial components no later than the first day of class.

The policies, procedures and other resources references in the Policy Tutorial have been compiled into webpage here. Please note that any of the policies referenced can be found in KU's Policy Library. The University of Kansas Policy Library is the repository for all policies and policy-related documents at the university.

CTE Conference

The goal of the CTE Conference is to introduce new GTAs to best practices and provide examples of excellence in teaching. The CTE Conference is composed of two synchronous sessions and a series of asynchronous modules available through Canvas. To complete the conference, new GTAs should attend the two conference sessions, complete the two essential modules, and complete three breakout modules of their choice. See more details about the sessions and modules below.

Synchronous Conference Sessions

New GTAs will attend two synchronous conference sessions a week before classes start.

  1. Welcome Session. During this session, the Center for Teaching Excellence and Graduate Studies will welcome new GTAs to their new position and discuss resources that are available to them, what it means to be a GTA, and how redefining teaching can supercharge learning. There will be time to answer questions.
  2. Discussion Session. During this session, GTAs will have opportunity to talk with an experienced faculty member (and peers) about the content of the Essential Modules and how to apply the content in their own teaching.

Asynchronous Modules

GTAs will complete five modules through Canvas.

  • Essential Modules.
    • The goal of the Essential Modules (Creating a Motivating, Respectful, and Welcoming Learning Climate and Evaluating Student Learning) is to provide GTAs with an overview of best practices of teaching.
    • Essential Modules will be available one week before the synchronous conference sessions and will prepare new GTAs for the Discussion Session.
    • These modules should be completed before attending the Discussion Session.
  • Breakout Modules.
    • The goal of the Breakout Modules is to provide you with an overview of best practices of teaching based on your specific role.
    • GTAs are required to complete three breakout modules. New GTAs can choose from several topics for the modules, including Guiding Discussions, Guiding Necessary Conversation in the Classroom about Systemic Difference, Lecturing, Teaching in a Science Lab, Problem Solving in the Technical Classroom, and Teaching in the U.S.: What to Expect as an International GTA.
    • Modules will be available a week before the semester starts and should be completed the first week of the semester.

Alternative Orientation

GTAs in some departments are exempt from the CTE Conference and the CTE New GTA Follow-up Session (described below). New GTAs in the departments of Chemistry, Communication Studies, English, French, Francophone & Italian Studies, and Physics and Astronomy should complete the Policy Tutorial above and an approved alternative orientation provided by their department. GTAs in all other departments must complete all three requirements (Policy Tutorial, Conference, and Follow-up Session) in addition to any departmental training sessions required by their hiring departments. Students must complete their mandatory training by the end of their second full month of working as GTAs. See the table below for the requirements of departments that have exemptions.

GTAs in the departments (below) need to complete:

Policy Tutorial

CTE Conference

Orientation in the hiring department

CTE Follow-up Session






Communication Studies










French, Francophone & Italian Studies




GTAs have access to CTE option

Physics & Astronomy




GTAs have access to CTE option


The goal of the Follow-up Session is to provide GTAs with an opportunity to discuss challenges they may be facing and to develop a plan to make any adjustments that might be needed to improve student learning.

  • Follow-up Sessions are an hour long and will be held during weeks five through eight of the Fall and Spring semesters.
  • Session registration will be available during the fourth week of the semester.
  • To complete this component of the orientation, GTAs must register for and attend one session of their choice.

Direct any questions about New GTA Orientation to Kaila Colyott at

    • Score 100% on all four Policy Tutorial quizzes in Canvas
    • Attend the Conference Welcome Session
    • Complete two Conference Essential Modules in Canvas
    • Attend the Conference Discussion Session
    • Complete three Conference Breakout Modules of your choice in Canvas
    • Attend a one-hour Follow-up Session

    Professional Development Opportunities & Workshops

    We're thrilled that Fridays on Fourth is back for the Spring semester. Every Friday from10AM to 4PM the 4th Floor Graduate Study Lounge of the Watson Library is transformed into a hub of productivity, inspiration, and camaraderie.

    What awaits you:

    • ✨ Extended hours
    • ✨ A tempting spread of snacks
    • ✨ Insightful workshops at 12PM and 3PM (Available in-person or via Zoom)
    • ✨ Tailored research and writing consultation services
    • ✨ The familiar, soothing ambiance of a lo-fi coffee shop

    New This Semester: Graduate Student Hours!

    🗣️ When: 11AM to 3PM every Friday

    📅 Upcoming Dates for Teaching Focused Hours: March 22nd and April 26th

    👩‍🏫 Meet CTE's Graduate Student Developer Specializing in Teaching and engage in conversations about:

    • 👥 Grading efficiently and equitably
    • 📝 Creating interesting assignments
    • 🚪 Getting students to "office hours" 
    • 💬 Encouraging participation in classroom discussions
    • 🌐 Navigating the academic job market

    Stop by to discuss teaching practices or preparing for the academic job market by crafting a reflective teaching statement, composing a diversity statement, or putting together a compelling teaching portfolio.

    Join us for a Friday on Fourth - a day of growth, connection, and support tailored for graduate students. Check out the info page for additional details and a schedule of upcoming workshops.

    We can't wait to welcome you! 🎓✨ #FridaysOnFourth #GradStudentSupport #TeachingHours

    Coming Soon!

    CTE staff members are available to consult with graduate students on any topics related to teaching and learning.

    Classroom practice. We are happy to meet with you about specific situations that arise in your class, whether you would like to learn more about lesson planning, discussion leading, classroom dynamics, or to discuss particular challenges.

    Teaching and the job market. If you are preparing for the academic job market and would like resources for or feedback on your teaching statement, diversity statement, teaching portfolio or teaching demonstration, we encourage you to reach out. 

    Email Kaila Colyott at to schedule an appointment to discuss classroom practice, to review your teaching related job market materials, or to chat about teaching in general.

    Writing a Reflective Teaching Statement

    Download the Teaching Statement Reflective Guide as a document or create your own copy of the guide as a Google document.

    Research: Purpose, formatting, and general guidance

    • Is a narrative that includes your conception of teaching and learning, a description of how you teach, and justification for why you teach that way.
    • Demonstrates that you have been reflective and purposeful about your teaching.
    • Communicates your goals as an instructor and your corresponding actions in the classroom.
    • Provides an opportunity to point to and tie together the other sections of your job portfolio (i.e., other teaching documents, teaching or awards section of CV).
    • Provides the reader a window into your class.

    Pulled from: Cornell University Graduate School. Teaching Philosophy Statement.

    • No required content or set format
    • Generally 1 to 2 pages, single spaced (2-page limit unless otherwise specified)
    • Use present tense in most cases
    • Avoid technical terms and always describe what specifically you mean when using broad teaching terms: critical thinking; active learning; diversity, equity, and inclusion
    • Include teaching strategies and methods to help people “see” you in the classroom
    • Make it memorable and unique
    • “Own” your philosophy (i.e., “I use X pedagogy to reach Y goal in my courses” instead of “The use of X pedagogy is the only way to reach Y goal.”)

    Pulled from: Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning. Philosophy of Teaching Statement.

    • Begin with the ending. Articulate the precise skills students will gain in your courses and the reasons those skills are important in the discipline.
    • Make distinctions. You will likely find yourself teaching two kinds of courses (those aimed at majors that draw upon your research and those that fulfill core requirements for graduation that your department must offer). Discuss how your objectives and approaches vary in these two types of courses. Or how they will vary depending on the students you will teach.
    • Be specific. Describe your teaching objectives and then tell a story or two about how your objectives play out in the classroom. The story may focus on an enlightening moment, or a moment of failure that led you to develop new teaching methods. Or focus in detail about a creative strategy you use in the classroom.
    • Cite your sources. Whatever the source (your own experience as an undergrad, a mentor, a book or article) it reflects well on you to explain how and why you developed your teaching principles.

    Pulled from: Lang, J.M. (2010, August 29). 4 Steps to a Memorable Teaching Philosophy. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    • Even if you have not had the opportunity to create the syllabus, you should draw upon your experiences as teaching assistant (e.g., how do you communicate expectations, what teaching methods do you employ in labs/discussions/office hours and why, how do you assess student learning through grading/reflections/providing feedback)
    • Think of other transferable experiences like tutoring, coaching, or mentoring that illustrate what you would be like as a teacher. How do these experiences inform what you will do in the class? Why? What experiences do you have to draw from to demonstrate these skills? Never say you lack teaching experience.
    • If you have time, seek out teaching-related opportunities, such as giving guest lectures or mentoring junior colleagues.
    • If you really have no teaching experience (and even if you do), imagine and describe what you will be like as a teacher, propose courses that you could teach, and provide concrete techniques that you will employ in the classroom. Use your experiences as a learner to create an image of who you want to be as an instructor, and rely on scholarship about learning and disciple-based education research in your field.

    Pulled from: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center. Teaching Statements.

    This rubric is based on data collected from a survey of 457 search committee chairs across many disciplines. The survey found there was broad agreement among chairs about the desirable characteristics of a teaching statement. The five dimensions of the rubric were created using the characteristics chairs described for successful teaching statements.

    O’Neal, C., Meizlish, D., & Kaplan, M. (2007). Writing a statement of teaching philosophy for the academic job search (pdf). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.

    CategoriesExcellentNeeds some revisionUnsatisfactory

    Goals for student learning:

    What knowledge, skills, and attitudes are important for student success in your discipline? What are you preparing students for? What are key challenges in the teaching-learning process?

    Goals are clearly articulated, specific, and go beyond knowledge level, including skills, attitudes, career goals, etc. Goals are sensitive to the context of the instructor’s discipline.

    They are concise, not exhaustive.

    Goals are articulated but may be too broad or not specific to the discipline. Goals focus on basic knowledge, ignoring skills acquisition and affective change.Articulation of goals is unfocused, incomplete, or missing.
    Enactment of goals (teaching methods): What teaching methods do you use? How do these methods contribute to your goals for students? Why are these methods appropriate for use in your discipline?Enactment of goals is specific and thoughtful. Includes details and rationale for teaching methods. The methods are clearly connected to specific goals and are appropriate for those goals.  Specific examples of the methods in use within the disciplinary context are given.Description of teaching methods not clearly connected to goals, or if connected, not well developed (seems like a list of what is done in the classroom). Methods are described, but generically; no example of the instructor’s use of the methods within the discipline is communicated.Enactment of goals is not articulated. If there is an attempt at articulating teaching methods, it is basic and unreflective.

    Assessment of goals (measuring student learning):

    How do you know your goals for students are being met? What sorts of assessment tools do you use (e.g., tests, papers, portfolios, journals), and why? How do assessments contribute to student learning? How do assessments communicate disciplinary priorities?

    Specific examples of assessment tools are clearly described. Assessment tools are aligned with teaching goals and teaching methods. Assessments reinforce the priorities and context of the discipline both in content and type.Assessments are described, but not connected to goals and teaching methods. Description is too general, with no reference to the motivation behind the assessments. There is no clear connection between the assessments and the priorities of the discipline.Assessment of goals is not articulated or mentioned only in passing.

    Creating an inclusive learning environment, addressing one or more of the following questions:

    How do your own and your students’ identities (e.g., race, gender, class), backgrounds, experiences, and levels of privilege affect the classroom?  How do you use  multiple teaching approaches? How do you integrate diverse perspectives into your teaching?

    Portrays a coherent philosophy of inclusive education that is integrated throughout the statement. Makes space for diverse ways of knowing and/or teaching approaches.

    Discussion of roles is sensitive to historically underrepresented students. Demonstrates awareness of issues of equity within the discipline.

    Inclusive teaching is addressed but in a cursory manner or in a way that isolates it from the rest of the philosophy. Author briefly connects identity issues to aspects of his/her teaching.Issues of inclusion are not addressed or addressed in an awkward manner. There is no connection to teaching practices.

    Structure, rhetoric and language:

    How is the reader engaged? Is the language used appropriate to the discipline? How is the statement thematically structured?

    The statement has a guiding structure and/or theme that engages the reader and organizes the goals, methods, and assessments articulated in the statement. Jargon is avoided and teaching terms (e.g., critical thinking) are given specific definitions that apply to the instructor’s disciplinary context. Grammar and spelling are correct.The statement has a structure and/or theme that is not connected to the ideas actually discussed in the statement, or, organizing structure is weak and does not resonate within the disciplinary context. The statement contains some jargon.No overall structure present. Statement is a collection of disconnected statements about teaching. Jargon is used liberally and not supported by specific definitions or examples. Needs much revision.

    Reflect: Reflective prompts taken directly from the rubric

    • What knowledge, skills, and attitudes are important for student success in your discipline?
    • What are you preparing students for?
    • What are key challenges in the teaching-learning process?
    • What teaching methods do you use?
    • How do these methods contribute to your goals for students?
    • Why are these methods appropriate for use in your discipline?
    • How do you know your goals for students are being met?
    • What sorts of assessment tools do you use (e.g., tests, papers, portfolios, journals), and why?
    • How do assessments contribute to student learning?
    • How do assessments communicate disciplinary priorities?
    • How do your own and your students’ identities (e.g., race, gender, class), backgrounds, experiences, and levels of privilege affect the classroom?
    • How do you use multiple teaching approaches?
    • How do you integrate diverse perspectives into your teaching?
    • How is the reader engaged?
    • Is the language used appropriate to the discipline?
    • How is the statement thematically structured?

    Review: Improve your statement through feedback

    Use the rubric (in the research section of this page) to review your own draft and make modifications.

    Ask your teaching mentors for feedback (you can even provide them the rubric to communicate what you are hoping to achieve in your statement).

    Schedule a consultation with CTE (Email Kaila Colyott at or request an appointment with a Graduate Writing Coach.

    Example Teaching Statements

    You can find discipline-specific Teaching Statements here. Each example is considered to be "excellent" in at least one rubric category.

    Resources categorized by the dimensions of the rubric
    Goals for student learning
    Enactment of goals (Teaching methods)
    Assessment of goals (Measuring student learning)
    Creating an inclusive learning environment
    Structure, rhetoric, and language

    Coming soon

    Coming Soon

    Coming Soon

    Coming Soon

    Coming Soon