TA training programs

In recognition of UBC’s Teaching Assistants and their important contributions to teaching and learning, the University is committed to providing support that addresses their needs while they develop competencies and skills relevant to their professional lives, and that enhances teaching excellence overall at UBC.

Central support for TA Training Programs at UBC commenced during the 2007/2008 academic year. The objective is to provide financial and consultative support to faculties for the development, delivery, and assessment of TA training. TA training initiatives are supported in the following ways:

  1. Financial Support from the Provost Office (adjudicated process)
  2. Consultative Support from the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT):
    • consultation and development support
    • facilitation support or training of facilitators, as required
    • resource sharing
    • sharing of participant feedback with workshop facilitators to support ongoing program improvements
    • program evaluation design support

TA Training Program Funding

UBC Vancouver faculties or their departments may apply for funding of their TA Training Programs every two years. The call for proposals was opened on March 31, 2022, for the years 2022/23 and 2023/24. The deadline to submit completed proposals is May 31, 2022.

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Expectations and criteria

TA training programs should provide graduate students with the fundamental knowledge, abilities, and skills necessary to conduct their work as Teaching Assistants. Many of these skills will be specific to the learning context. Proposals should identify the attributes and competencies that TAs will develop as a part of their training, and should be directly linked to their expected duties and responsibilities as Teaching Assistants.

All programs are requested to consult with CTLT to assist with program, proposal, and budget development.

  • For support around needs assessment, overall program proposal development, budget, pedagogical design, approaches to facilitation, and program evaluation; or to contract CTLT facilitators to facilitate or co-facilitate your TA training or engage in internal capacity building, CTLT staff are available to assist you. Please contact Dr. Shaya Golparian, Educational Developer and TA Development Program Coordinator (shaya.golparian@ubc.ca).
  • CTLT can also work with you to:
    • advise of existing programs and services on campus that can add on to or support your TA training program
    • assist in developing a schedule for implementation
    • provide training to prepare TAs in your department to facilitate training for their peers
    • discuss how your TA training program objectives are being met/addressed

All proposals for TA training program funding will be reviewed by an adjudication committee with a focus on the following criteria:

  1. The proposal clearly articulates the outcomes (knowledge, skills and competencies) that TAs will acquire as a result of the training.
  2. The proposal clearly explains how these outcomes will be achieved through particular activities in the program.
  3. The proposal clearly defines how the achievement of the outcomes will be assessed.
  4. The proposal appropriately engages with issues of Indigeneity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom contexts and course content.*
  5. The proposal defines how returning TAs will be involved (if relevant and applicable) in the implementation process.
  6. The evaluation report is complete, outlines the training delivered to date with the focus on evaluation of the program’s success, and plans for adjustments to the program based on feedback collected.
  7. The budget is appropriate and justified, with a clear and specific explanation of associated costs.

*For more information about the connections between equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and Indigenous engagement, and TA Training, please see the corresponding section below.

Connections between EDI, Indigenous engagement, and TA training

UBC’s TA Training Programs equip TAs with skills and competencies that enhance teaching excellence at UBC. Part of teaching excellence takes into account developing skills in teaching and learning about how to engage responsibly with Indigenous knowledges and topics in the classroom and to support inclusive excellence, which inspires all students to be their very best.

TA Training that focuses on classroom climate and developing tools and strategies to foster safe and inclusive classrooms supports Teaching Assistants with skills they need to:

  • Demonstrate care in the classroom
  • Navigate difficult conversations in the classroom
  • Approach Indigenous topics and histories (where applicable) with respect and responsibility
  • Support underrepresented and marginalized students in their learning

Such training ensures that TAs understand their responsibility to uphold university-wide values and approach their work in ways that enact the vision in UBC’s Strategic Plan, Shaping the Next Century,specifically: to foster a diverse community that creates and sustains equitable and inclusive campuses (Strategy 4: Inclusive Excellence) and to support the objectives and actions of the renewed Indigenous Strategic Plan (Strategy 17: Indigenous Engagement).

In addition, with the 2020 Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) and Inclusion Action Plan (IAP) in place, it is important to consider ways to implement and align values that support Indigenous engagement and inclusive classrooms, while being attentive to the historical, ongoing systemic barriers that students, TAs, and instructors, experiences both inside and beyond the classroom.

More specifically, goals and actions from these two plans that align with UBC’s values in teaching excellence are:

ISP Goal 7, Action 33: Create a professional development program that assists faculty and staff to foster safe and inclusive classrooms and workplace, and action.

ISP, Goal 7, Action 34: Develop and deliver Indigenous history and issues training for all faculty and staff to be successfully completed within the first year of employment at UBC and to be reviewed on a regular basis.

IAP, Goal 4b: Inclusive Teaching and Learning: Encourage and support instructors and teaching assistants to implement inclusive course design, teaching practice, and assessments.

IAP, Goal 4f: Student Learning: Review and improve mechanisms to ensure that student perspectives on the inclusiveness of their learning experiences are integrated into the improvement of teaching.

All applications to the TA Training Program Fund should identify specific measures they will take to prepare TAs to address equity, diversity, and inclusion in the classroom. Programs in which TAs will support courses with Indigenous content must also identify plans to train and support TAs to responsibly engage with this content.

Questions about EDI and Indigenous engagement on the TA training funding application are designed to help programs think through and identify the specific skills, learning objectives, plans, and actions that will be taken so that EDI and responsible Indigenous engagement are implemented concrete in TA training programs to enact University-wide values in teaching excellence and student success.

For support on how to integrate considerations relating to the UBC Inclusion Action Plan and the Indigenous Strategic Plan into your proposal, please contact Erin Yun, Educational Consultant, Classroom and Campus Climate (erin.yun@ubc.ca).

For more information and resources on these topics, please consult the following:

How to apply

For 2022, we are accepting applications from new and returning programs. Please submit completed proposals, including an application form, budget spreadsheet, and evaluation report (if applicable), to Dr. Christina Hendricks, Chair, TA Training Fund adjudication committee via TA.training.fund@ubc.ca by 3:00pm on Tuesday, May 31, 2022. Adjudication will take place in June and applicants will be notified regarding approved funding in July.

Cost guidelines

TA Training Program – Cost Guidelines for 2022/23 and 2023/24

The TA Training Program grants aim to provide support for Departments to achieve their intended aims, while at the same time balancing the desire to fund as many departments as possible within a fixed annual budget envelope. To balance these issues, the adjudication committee notes the following:

  1. Catering costs: We recognize that catering TA training events can encourage strong attendance and support informal networking opportunities. However, proposals should ensure that catering requests follow UBC Finance per diem rates when budgeting and spending for catering. If a program spends more than the per diem rates, Finance will ask the account owner to acknowledge that the items are out of policy when reviewing/approving the expense submission for reimbursement. If overall, the total TA expenses are higher than the approved funding amount, then the difference will need to be funded by the department. Also, to keep in mind per Finance guidelines: “The frequency of food and refreshments offered at meetings during University business hours should be reasonable. Discretion should be exercised regarding the amount and type and restrictions associated with funds used. For example, it is reasonable to have refreshments at meetings that generally last more than 2 hours or over a lunch period.”
  2. Faculty activity: The primary purpose of TA training program funding is to directly support TAs, and should not be used to pay for time spent by full-time, tenure-stream UBC faculty. We recognize and value the considerable in-kind support and effort that faculty provide to TA training programs, which could be recognized either as part of service, or possibly as educational leadership, depending on work done.
  3. Cost per TA: A “cost-per-TA” metric is not used as a rigid criterion in adjudicating proposals, but it is data the committee considers, with a view to consistency and maximizing the impact of the funding. The committee uses, as a broad guideline, an average of $150 per TA. Looking at funded proposals over the last few years, around three-quarters fall within a cost-per-TA range of $75 to $220, with larger departments benefiting from economies of scale such that their figure is often closer to the lower end of this band.
  4. Please be advised that the funding from this program cannot be applied to pay participants to take the TA training. Departments may consider a variety of options to encourage participation among TAs. See Promoting TA Training Programs.
  5. Support related costs: If you are relying on collaboration with other support units, please connect with them directly regarding their costs prior to finalizing your budget and proposal.
  6. For returning programs, carry forward amounts from the past two years will be deducted from your new allocation, unless the adjudication committee approves a plan for using those funds, or portion of those funds. At the end of year 1, all programs must also provide a plan for any carry forward to year 2 for the adjudication committee to consider for approval.
  7. Please note that if the TA training program goes over budget in any year, the department must make up for the deficit. Programs cannot borrow ahead from the next year’s funding to pay for previous years’ deficits.

In developing a TA Training Program proposal, an accurate budget projection is important. The following table includes information and suggested costs for some of the most common expenses.

ItemEstimated Rate/Cost

Food / drink

$14.00 – $16.00 maximum/person, depending on the time of day and duration of activity.

See 1 in Cost Guidelines above

Student Wages (please add 10% for benefits):

It may be possible to have a portion of the wages subsidized under the Work Learn Program. Please explore this option via the Work Learn page on the Student Services website – Faculty & Staff Resources.

Although Coordinators are typically appointed as Graduate Academic Assistants, their salaries are expected to keep pace with GTA salaries. Current GTA salaries are below:

  • GTA I: $35.13/hr
  • GTA II: $33.80/hr
  • UTA I: $22.77/hr
  • UTA II: $20.33/hr

Updated September 2021

The above amounts may increase during the course of the next TA Training programs. Prior to submitting your application in May 2022, please check for any anticipated changes posted to the CUPE 2278 website, and reflect them in your budget.

Sample costs for a CTLT workshop in 2022/2023 and 2023/2024

$40.00/hour per facilitator per workshop. This includes approximately 3 hours of preparation time per workshop, for workshops up to 2.5 hours.
e.g. 2 hour workshop, 2 facilitators – total $640 (2 hr workshop @ $40/hr + 6 hr prep @ $40/hr *2 facilitators)

For any preparation time beyond 8 hours, the hourly amount is half the above amount (i.e. $20/hr) per facilitator per seminar.
e.g. 5 hour workshop, 2 facilitators – total $1300 (5 hour workshop @ $40/hr + 8.5hr prep @ $40/hr + 6.5hr prep @$20/hr *2 facilitators).

Workshops are co-facilitated. CTLT facilitators can work with a department-based facilitator to satisfy the two facilitator expectation. In workshops with few participants, 1 facilitator may be adequate.

Costs for sponsoring Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW)

$225 per spot

For more information about the costs and scheduling department specific IWSs contact Dr. Shaya Golparian, TA Development Educational Developer, CTLT: shaya.golparian@ubc.ca

Application form, budget template and evaluation report

New programs seeking funding must complete an application form and budget spreadsheet. Returning programs, must also submit an evaluation report, as well as completing a budget reconciliation of the past two years on the second page of the budget template. NOTE: for 2022, all the forms have been revised.


Please refer to the Cost Guidelines section for information on how to plan your budget.

For support with proposal or program development and completing this application, please contact Dr. Shaya Golparian, Educational Developer and TA Development Program Coordinator (shaya.golparian@ubc.ca).

Exemplary proposals

The following proposals were among those most highly praised by the 2016-17/2017-18 Adjudication Committee as examples of excellent programs, including the alignment of the program with the unique needs of their TAs. Though the forms have changed for 2022, new (or returning) applicants may still find it helpful to consider similar approaches.

Reporting requirements

For programs that were previously funded, units must also submit an evaluation report (at the end of year two of a cycle) when re-applying for funds. All programs must submit a Year 1 report at the end of year one of a two-year cycle.

1. At time of application:

Departments currently receiving funding and wanting to re-apply must submit an Evaluation Report with their application in order to be considered for further funding in the next 2-year round. This report will outline training delivered to date with a focus on evaluation of the program's success, and plans for adjustments to the program based on feedback collected. An Evaluation Report template is included in the Application Form.

The example below is from the 2018/20 application round and the forms have since changed, but departments may still find this information useful to see the level of detail/depth expected.

Example of a commendable Evaluation Report

2. At mid-point (i.e. at the conclusion of Year 1):

Funding is released one year at a time. At the end of Year 1 of the 2-year cycle, the unit must submit a progress report. The report will be reviewed by the adjudication committee before the second year of funding can be released. Please see the Year 1 Report template for details about what information to include.

Example of commendable Year 1 Report

Frequently asked questions

Eligibility

Q. Can a graduate student submit a TA Training fund application?

A. Yes, graduate students may submit a TA Training fund application if at least one of the co-applicants listed is a full-time faculty member. The department head also needs to approve your application.

Q. Can two or more departments collaboratively submit a TA Training fund application?

A. Yes, though it should be noted that the TA Training fund is intended for discipline specific TA training. The departments would need to work together to make sure their disciplinary context and TAs' needs for teaching support are the same or very similar. For more general TA training, there are workshops available through CTLT and other campus support units.

Q. Can a department submit more than one TA Training fund application?

A. No, applicants should collaborate to submit one application on behalf of the department. Note that each TA can only be counted once per department when considering the overall funding request.

Developing a proposal

Q. Can this funding be used to pay TAs to attend training?

A. Funding from this source cannot be used to pay TAs to attend training. Other sources, including allocating some of their paid TA hours for training, may be used for this purpose.

Q. Can this fund be used to train undergraduate TAs?

A. Yes, you can count your undergraduate TAs in the total number of TAs you are applying for funding to train.

Q. Can TA Training Program funds be used to pay for credit courses?

A. No, TA Training Program funding cannot be used to cover the cost of credit courses.

Q. Can this funding be used to pay for faculty time involved with TA Training?

A. Funding from this source should not be used to pay for time spent by full-time, tenure-stream UBC faculty. We recognize and value the considerable in-kind support and effort that faculty provide to TA training programs, which could be recognized either as part of service, or possibly as educational leadership, depending on the work done.?

Q. Can this funding be used to pay for TA awards?

A. No, TA Training Program funds are to be used specifically for training purposes, rather than awards. If a unit wishes to institute TA awards, they will need to cover the cost.

Q. Can this funding be used to pay for supplies and materials?

A. No, departments should provide support for these operational expenses in-kind.

Q.Can funds be used to pay for catering (e.g. for workshops)?

A. Yes, but please refer to the Cost Guidelines for spending limits and more information.

Q. Are consultations (with CTLT or other units on campus) to prepare or implement the TA Training program mandatory?

A. No, consultation with other units is not mandatory. These units should be seen as a resource that departments can draw upon to develop, implement or evaluate all or some components of their TA Training program. Departments are free to choose the appropriate support unit(s) for their specific learning context. Sometimes, the TA Training adjudication committee may recommend that a department consult with a particular unit(s) for additional program support.

Q. Can I ask for funding to train TAs that we hire from other departments to TA in our department or have TAs from other departments attend some of our training sessions?

A. Generally not, though there can be exceptions. If the home department for the TAs you are hiring also has TA training, then they cannot also be counted as TAs you will be training for the purposes of this fund. However, if there are special circumstances (e.g. highly specialized training), or if the TAs are from a department that does not offer TA Training and these TAs will be TAing in your department, please contact the TA training developer at CTLT (shaya.golparian@ubc.ca) to discuss support options, including whether it might be possible to use some funding for this.

Q. Can I ask for funding to develop a TA Training handbook or online resource/module for my TA Training program?

A. Yes, graduate students (not faculty or staff) can be paid to work on developing a handbook or resources for your TAs. It may be useful to frame this as a "one time cost," especially if it has a large impact on the budget that puts pressure on the cost per TA consideration. Note: you cannot, however, request funding to pay for related supplies (e.g., photocopying, binders), which should come from the department as in-kind support.

Q. Can I pay TA mentors using this fund?

A. Yes, you can pay them as mentors that support TA training, similar to the way graduate student facilitators may be paid. You can either pay them hourly per the GTA rate or a lump sum honorarium, that is proportional to the work expected and at the appropriate GTA rate.

Q. Can I pay those who are not members of the UBC community (i.e. not UBC faculty, staff, students, etc.) to lead TA Training sessions for us?

A. Yes, departments are encouraged to consult with/work with those who have knowledge of your discipline and practices in your discipline in development and/or implementation of your program. For example, you can reach out to a practitioner in your discipline who does field work to lead a TA Training session on how to TA in the "field".

Q. What are some examples of graduate student duties for TA Training that this fund can pay them for?

A. Examples of graduate student duties include:

  • Coordinating the TA Training program
  • Facilitating sessions
  • Consultation with others, such as the department EDI committee or CTLT, as part of developing or coordinating their TA Training program
  • Mentoring other TAs
  • Conducting TA Training program evaluation
  • Developing TA Training handbooks and resources
  • Preparing the application for funding or the report forms after the funding period

Submitting a proposal

Q. How do I submit my proposal?

A. All completed proposals (including application form, budget, and evaluation report as necessary) must be submitted via email to the TA.training.fund@ubc.ca by the application deadline.

Q. May I submit a proposal without the approval of my department Head?

A. No, you need the approval of your department Head or relevant unit leader prior to submitting your proposal. It is important to give that person ample time to review your proposal. You should seek their input and feedback well ahead of the submission deadline. Note: while signatures are no longer required on the application form, you must indicate that the unit leader is in support of the program and has agreed to provide any in-kind support listed on the budget spreadsheet.

Managing funded proposals

Q. How will I receive the funds once approved?

A. After adjudication is complete, you will receive a letter and funding summary indicating the amount of approved funds. Generally, the funds are transferred from the Office of the Provost and VP Academic into the department's designated TA Training Worktag on Workday. If this is a new program, the department will be asked to set up a designated Worktag before funds can be transferred. Your department's finance/administrative manager will be copied on relevant emails.

Q. Do funds granted from the TA Training Program need to be in a separate account?

A. Yes, funds granted to the department must be in a Worktag dedicated solely to TA Training funds. All related TA training program expenses must be charged to this Worktag. Any unspent funds must remain in this Worktag.

Q. Can the department keep any carry over funds from the previous funding year?

A. In general, carry over funds will be deducted from your next allocation, unless the adjudication committee approves a plan (in your Evaluation/Year 1 report) for using those funds, or a portion thereof.

Q. What if a program spends more on their TA training than their allocation from the funding program?

A. If a department goes over budget in any year, they must fund the deficit before the next year's allocation. Programs cannot borrow ahead from the next year's funding to pay for a previous year's deficit.

Program evaluation

Q. What types of evidence should we collect for program evaluation?

A. To support continuous improvement for all TA Training programs, detailed feedback is to be collected from all training events, in order to show evidence that the programs are meeting their objectives. Further evaluation data can come from end of year surveys or focus groups. The data you collect as part of your evaluation effort should be incorporated into both the Evaluation Report of the past two years and the mid-point Year 1 Report to demonstrate progress, provide evidence of impact, and guide any future changes to be made to the program.

Currently funded TA training programs

A list of TA training programs that received funding for 2020/22 can be viewed here.

Contacts

For questions relating to program development and implementation:

Dr. Shaya Golparian
Educational Developer and TA Development Program Coordinator
Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology
shaya.golparian@ubc.ca

For questions about the submission process:

The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT)
TA.training.fund@ubc.ca

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