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TIC Welcomes You! New Graduate Student Orientation Review 2022

The Teaching Innovation Center (TIC) supports instructional design and inclusive pedagogy through using evidence-based practices and the latest research. It also centers on providing resources and support to those already established and in training (e.g., graduate students in the School of Life Sciences or SoLS).
TIC recently supported that goal by welcoming 74 incoming graduate students (both master’s and doctoral students) to SoLS early in August for a new student orientation. Most of those students are incoming teaching assistants (TAs) for online and in person undergraduate courses. Those incoming students are the next generation of researchers, instructors, etc. who will shape teaching, learning, and mentorship.
Incoming graduate students at round tables in Hayden Library participating in the new student orientation
The in-person orientation held in Hayden Library was an opportunity for students to network and engage in professional development as new and incoming TAs. For some, it was reported that it would be their first time being a TA, thus this experience was beneficial and provided a sense of comfort in becoming a TA; it also provided ASU specific resources for those who have taught before.  
Incoming graduate students at round tables in Hayden Library participating in the new student orientation
Incoming graduate students participated in hands-on experiences to learn how to navigate potentially challenging and realistic situations that might arise when teaching or leading instruction. The TIC community modeled how to promote inclusion and equity through its presentation and training session. They also highlighted how they can serve as a guide and resource to incoming students.
TIC also invited seven current SoLS graduate students to participate in a live panel that could provide insight to incoming students. All of whom participated are interested in advancing teaching and learning and have taught a wide variety of courses at ASU in SoLS.
Based on the results of an exit feedback form, over 88% of respondents had an overall positive (satisfied or extremely satisfied) experience with the orientation, almost 80% of respondents indicated that they learned quite a bit, and over 82% of respondents found the orientation applicable to their upcoming instructional role within SoLS.

Furthermore, most incoming students found the interactive panel to be the most helpful part and wanted to learn more directly from those who had done this before them. For instance, one student reported: 

“I like the TIC speakers; their expertise was apparent in how they communicated”. 

Another student shared: 

“I really appreciated all the work and time that went into generating this orientation! Even though I’m definitely 50/50 on whether I’m confident or horrified about TAing starting next week, it was good to hear all this information”.

Overall, even as seen by student responses to this orientation, a central theme prevailed during this new student orientation – one that is central to ASU’s mission and to TIC’s dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion: our incoming graduate students are critical to creating inclusive learning spaces for all undergraduate students and can learn from their peers and colleagues. Thus, a space in which incoming students can interact to learn about how they contribute to that mission is pivotal and highly relevant.
This opportunity has created a new network of TAs who can liaise with the TIC to enhance teaching, learning, and their professional development as early biologists, educators, etc. TIC in collaboration with SoLS hopes to host another training session next year that will continue to support inclusive teaching and learning at ASU.


Erika Nadile, a PhD candidate in SoLS, collaborated on the development and implementation of this orientation with her fellow TIC team members (Holly Basteyns, Nicholas Ferrara, Tiffany Lewis, and Jana Reisslein) and SoLS colleagues. She would like to give a shout out and big thank you to her colleagues who were able to share their insight: Sam Santos, Taya Misheva, Olivia Davis, Cassi Lyon, Amalie Strange, Annie Weaver-Bryant, and Abby Howell. She looks forward to working more closely with the incoming graduate students.


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