Frequently involved in information sessions and workshops
Participating offices include Co-Op and Career Services, Equity Services, the Centre for Indigenous Initiatives, Health and Counselling, Learning Support Services, Paul Menton Centre and Student Affairs
Responsible for protecting the rights of teaching assistants according to the collective agreement
Not currently involved in creating or facilitating TA training opportunities
If you are an undergraduate student and are interested in applying to become a TA, you should contact your department’s administrators to learn if they hire undergraduates as TAs and, if so, how to go about doing so. Please bear in mind that not all departments hire undergraduate TAs, and those that do often only hire them if there are insufficient numbers of graduate students available.
Your department is responsible for assigning TAs to courses (this is likely done by your graduate supervisor). In the majority of cases, once the course has been offered to a TA, the chances of changing the assignment is unlikely.
If you have significant reservations, you should contact your Departmental Graduate Supervisor with your concerns. Explain why you’re tentative about the course and ask if there is a chance to support a different course.
In the event that you cannot be reassigned, be sure to relate your concerns to the faculty member who is teaching the course and ask for their help in better understanding the content.
The assignment of duties form (indicating which tasks you will be charged with completing on a weekly basis) is available in Carleton Central once you have been assigned and accepted your course. If it has not been completed before the start of the term, it is strongly recommended that you contact the instructor to set up a face-to-face meeting and go over the assignment of duties form together.
There may be special reasons why your faculty member has not contacted you, but you are encouraged to be proactive in contacting them and clarifying their expectations – and yours – before the course begins.
The New TA Orientation, organized by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs, is only for new Carleton TAs. If you have been a TA at Carleton before, you should not attend this session. If you have been a TA at another institution and are new to Carleton, it is recommended that you attend this session to learn about institution specific groups and policies.
The New TA orientation is considered mandatory for all new Carleton TAs. If for some reason you are unable to attend this session, FGPA may record the orientation; if it is recorded, it the will be available on the FGPA website later in the term, although it cannot be credited towards your paid training hours in this format. For additional details on the orientation visit the FGPA website.
Most departments offer a graduate and/or teaching assistant orientation near the start of the fall term. These orientations may introduce you to faculty, staff and continuing teaching assistants in your department. If you cannot attend this session, you should contact your graduate supervisor or your graduate administrator in order to acquire this information.
“Paid training” hours refers to a clause (article 14) in the CUPE 4600 collective agreement (2016-2019) for teaching assistants.
As per the Collective Agreement (2019-2022), there are two kinds of paid training: compliance training and pedagogical training. Compliance training refers to mandatory, one-time training all TAs must complete in the first 4-6 weeks of employment, for which TAs are compensated for five hours of pay. Pedagogical training, by contrast, consists of ongoing, voluntary training, available to all graduate TAs with a 65+ hour TA assignment; TAs can earn up to five hours of payment for such training, each year. For more information on compliance and pedagogical training, see the next two FAQs.
Compliance training refers to one-time, mandatory training to be completed by all TAs in the first 4-6 weeks of employment (e.g. by October 15 for Fall and Fall/Winter TAs; by February 15 for Winter-only TAs; and by June 1 for Spring/Summer TAs). After completion, TAs are compensated for five hours of pay (article 23.03). Note that TAs can only complete and be compensated for this compliance training once during their tenure as a TA. For further information on compliance training, please contact Human Resources.
Pedagogical training refers to ongoing, voluntary training opportunities, available to all graduate TAs holding an assignment of 65 hours or more per term, conducted between September-November and January-March (FGPA’s deadlines are November 30 and March 30). This means that all graduate teaching assistants with an assignment of 65 hours or more have the opportunity, each academic year (September-April) in which they are assigned as TAs to complete up to five hours of paid pedagogical training. If you are an undergraduate TA, contact your department directly regarding paid pedagogical training. Training is offered in both the fall and winter terms, but it can only be completed for pay during the terms in which you are a TA. We strongly recommend completing training early in the semester, when there is time to implement what you have learned. Fall-only graduate TAs need to complete their training hours before November 30 to receive full payment; and winter-only and full-year graduate TAs need to do so before March 30.
There are a number of training options available to you via the following platforms:
While compliance training is mandatory, pedagogical training is voluntary. Payment for pedagogical training is a benefit for Carleton’s teaching assistants, providing TAs with the opportunity to enhance their teaching and professional skills while also receiving up to five hours of pay (article 23.03). CUPE 4600 negotiated for teaching assistants to be paid for pedagogical training after they have completed it. Individuals who do not (or decide not to) complete their pedagogical training will not be paid, and those who complete less than five hours will be paid only for the hours completed. This is standard policy for any working environment.
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs is responsible for monitoring paid training hours, which includes managing the TA Management System in Carleton Central. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact their office.
The New TA orientation facilitated by FGPA in September accounts for one hour for new teaching assistants (continuing teaching assistants should not attend this orientation). Departmental orientations, which vary in length, are also eligible so long as attendance is kept. Peer Feedback, Peer Mentoring, Microteaching, TA Articles, (online) workshops, information sessions, and many other activities are also eligible for paid training. For an extended description of training options, please check out the “TA Training” tab on Carleton Central, our TA Training webpage and the Graduate Professional Development Events Calendar.
The mandatory five hours of compliance training and the optional five hours of pedagogical training that teaching assistants can pursue are in addition to their regular hours (260 for the full year or 130 per term). Teaching and professional development training are traditionally not included in the assignment of duties, and your faculty member is not responsible for assigning them (although they may ask you to seek out training for particular activities or skills).
Carleton University is one of the few institutions that provides compensation to teaching assistants for developing their development as teachers and professionals. Our commitment of five hours of paid training, each year, to support your personal, pedagogical, and professional development is significantly higher than other Ontario post-secondary institutions.
Paid pedagogical training is available because CUPE 4600 and Carleton University believe that teaching assistants play an integral role in the education of our undergraduate population, and because we want our teaching assistants to succeed personally and professionally. For this reason, all teaching assistants, not only new ones, are encouraged each year to participate in the diverse range of training options available to them in order to create a more informed and educated teaching community.
The training you receive will serve you in a number of capacities. You will learn skills that will serve you in your current and future TA roles, and in any other future teaching role. You will gain valuable insights into the mechanics of your profession, thus improving your odds on the academic market, should you choose to pursue academia as a career. If you plan to work in a non-academic setting, the skills you will learn about effective communication, problem-solving, facilitating and training, and so on, are transferable and will give you a competitive edge. Getting involved in teaching and professional training will help you in a variety of roles, now and in the future.
We suggest seeking out the sessions and programs that are most applicable to the skills related to your TA duties as well as those you are interested in developing for your research and future career. With more than twelve training options, there are options for all different kinds of assignments. Bear in mind:
If you are a new TA and don’t know what course you’ll be TAing for, we encourage you to postpone beginning training until you know your assignment (excepting, of course, orientation sessions). Until you know what you will be asked to do, you can’t know what you need training on. Training is offered throughout the year through TLS, and several other offices on campus. It is imperative that you pursue training that benefits your needs in order to ensure that you maximize your time.
No. While you are free to sign up to participate in training available to all graduate students (see the Graduate Professional Development Events Calendar), such training will not be tracked and will not count towards completing your five hours of paid training. To earn their five hours of paid training, TAs must complete their training in the semester(s) in which they are working as a TA.
Workshop topics are often time sensitive. The goal is to provide training early in the term when teaching assistants require it most. For this reason, TLS workshops are scheduled for the first 4-6 weeks of each term. Several other forms of training (especially the flexible options, such as the TA Article), do not have fixed timelines and may be more appropriate later in the term.
The process for capturing session attendance is largely manual, which means that it is time- and labour-intensive. TLS strives to capture attendance within one week’s time of the session in question, and other departments on campus have similar turnaround times. During busy periods (e.g. September and January orientations, the fall and winter TA Training Day events, etc.), however, departments may often need more than a week.
In general, please give departments two weeks to enter attendance before you contact anyone. If two weeks have passed and your attendance at the session is still not showing up on your TA Transcript, then it is time to contact someone. If your session was with TLS (held in 404 or 422 Dunton Tower), please contact TLS directly. If your session was with Co-Op and Career Services, Student Affairs, Health & Counselling, or Mitacs, please contact FGPA directly. If you don’t know which department hosted your session, then you should contact the session facilitator directly.
Please note: You are strongly encouraged to track your progress independently of the TA Management System in order to ensure its accuracy. In the event of a discrepancy, you are responsible for ensuring your training is captured in Carleton Central.
For those sessions available in Carleton Central, click on the TA Training link located under the Student Support Services tab to view all of the available opportunities. For those TLS sessions not available in Carleton Central, contact TLS. For professional development workshops, contact the contact person listed on the workshop in question.
If a registered participant de-registers from a full session, the first five individuals on the waitlist will automatically receive an email informing them a space has become available. Please note: If you receive an email, this does not guarantee you a space in the session! The first individual to log into Carleton Central, open the session from their list of upcoming sessions, and click the register button will assume the vacant space.