Teaching Assistant Certificate Program


"As a new TA, I appreciated how the CTLT “lifted the veil” on the process of teaching. The certificate courses taught about improvisation, flexibility and the importance of self-reflection. Most importantly I learned that a teacher’s response to student and peer input is vital to success of all parties." ~ Kirsten Thompson 

"Having gone through two tiers of the TA certificate gave me the encouragement I needed to run my classes the way I always wanted: hands-on, interactive and through laughter. The focus is learning, not professionalism. Less stress, more slinkies is what kept my students engaged even in the early morning." ~ Cara Kronisch

About the UNBC Teaching Assistant Certificate Program

The overall aim of this program is help build a teaching and learning community, improve graduate student teaching capacity at UNBC, and to provide tangible evidence of the time and work put in by students throughout the certification process. Too often we approach teaching as a largely solitary practice. This program seeks to encourage an understanding of teaching as part of community, just like we engage in our research as part of a broader community.

Across the country, post-secondary institutions are actively engaged in systematic graduate student training, either broadly under the label of graduate student professional development or more narrowly under the umbrella of TA training. UNBC does not have a set of identified graduate student competencies, consistent with the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Key Professional Skills for Researchers (2007) and CAGS Report on Professional Skills Development for Graduate Students (2008). Our aim is not to address all ‘competencies’ but to focus on teaching related skills. However, the structure of the program is sufficiently flexible that additional workshops addressing further competencies can be added. 

As noted above, our teaching assistants play key roles in the experiences of our students. Increasingly academic job postings require candidates to submit teaching portfolios that include statements of teaching philosophy. We believe this program can help better prepare students for future success in teaching and employment opportunities. 

The certification program is open to graduate students and undergraduate students engaged in various teaching activities at the University of Northern British Columbia, and is divided into three different tiers of programming. At the end of each level participants receive a certificate of completion.

This February 2014 report unbc_ctlt_ta_certificate_program_2014.pdf  prepared by Rebecca Tallman (CTLT Graduate Student Professional Developer) Travis Reinheimer (CTLT Graduate Student Professional Developer), and Heather Smith (Acting Director, CTLT) outlines the program framework, rationale, and Graduate Student and TA Training Trends in Canadian Institutions.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the TA Certificate Program, please contact the CTLT.