Former GSAs consistently tell us about the positive impact that the position had on their professional careers. Among the benefits they list are these:
In my teaching, being a GSA…
- helped me be a better teacher
- helped me win teaching awards
- introduced me to the scholarly literature on teaching and learning
On the job market, being a GSA…
- helped me to secure a full-time tenure-track professorship
- improved my skill at discussing teaching issues, during the job search and beyond
- prepared me for a presentation for my on-campus visit
- helped solidify my desire to pursue a teaching-centered, academic career
- enabled me to demonstrated my dedication to teaching and the liberal arts mission, despite going to graduate school at a large research university
In the professoriate, being a GSA…
- made my transition from TA to assistant professor much easier
- gave me experience that I am using in a national leadership role
- made me an effective co-chair of a college-wide committee on learning and teaching
- helped me mentor colleagues in all fields
- enabled me to write scholarly articles on teaching in my discipline
Outside of academe, being a GSA…
- prepared me to be an engaged and contributing member of my chosen community
- was a stepping stone towards my current career in which I provide professional development to elementary and high school teachers in the U.S. and internationally
- gave me a different set of professional skills that has helped me to adapt to a major life change
In their own words, this is what former GSAs have said about how the position has helped them in their careers and why you should take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to jumpstart yours!
(click here for full testimonies)
I cannot say enough positive things about my work at the TRC and how much that work was appreciated by others not only during my time there, but also now, years later, as I continue to draw from my experience and to build on it and help others by mentoring scholar-teachers in all fields.
—Sid Brown, Director of Environmental Studies Program & Associate
Professor of Religion, Sewanee University
Though it has become somewhat of a cliché, working at the TRC for my final year of graduate school, was, as the famous commercial says, ‘priceless.’ …I can honestly say that it helped me to secure a full-time tenure-track professorship.
—Jacqueline Bussie, Assistant Professor, Religion and Philosophy,
Having worked with several similar centers in other universities (Stanford, UMass Lowell), I can say that the TRC at U.Va. is unusually successful in accomplishing its mission of improving pedagogy.
—Christopher Carlsmith, Associate Professor, History, University of
….because I had done various workshops and presentations in my capacity as a GSA, I was very comfortable discussing my teaching (and pedagogical issues generally) when I was seeking academic employment. In fact, I adapted a workshop I had done as a GSA (on developing student reading skills) as a presentation for my on-campus visit.
—Michael Cholbi, Assistant Professor, Philosophy, California Polytechnic University
Regardless of whether I return to academia or continue working as a landscape architect, being a GSA prepared me to be a thoughtful, engaged, and contributing member of my chosen community.
—Courtney Cook Spearman, M.A., Architectural History and Landscape Architecture
As I prepare to graduate, I look back on my year at the TRC as an invaluable experience that helped solidify my desire to pursue a teaching-centered, academic career.
—Ryan Emanuel, Ph.D. Candidate, Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
I truly believe that consulting with other teaching assistants has made me a more effective classroom teacher.
—Amanda Hege, Ph.D. Candidate, Psychology, University of Virginia
During my time as a GSA, I ran a workshop series called “Becoming Tomorrow’s Professor Today” which guided advanced graduate students through the process of designing and implementing their first stand-alone courses. As a result, I now think of new course design as one my strengths, and I am frequently told that my syllabi are detailed and my courses well-structured.
—Dustin Kidd, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Temple University
In 2005, I was identified in the ISI College Guide as one of the best professors at the College of William and Mary. This would not have been the case without my work as a GSA.
—Emile Lester, Visiting Assistant Professor, Political Science and International
Affairs, University of Mary Washington
One of the many benefits of working as a GSA was that I was afforded the very rare opportunity to observe a lot of teachers in action. … [this] has been invaluable to me in my current position in the Physics Department at Wake Forest University …
—Janna Levin, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Physics, Wake Forest University
My experience as a GSA made my transition from TA to assistant professor much easier. I continue to find uses for my TRC experience: this year I’ll revise the statement of teaching philosophy I wrote as a GSA for my tenure dossier!
—Erin McGlothlin, Assistant Professor, Germanic Languages & Literatures,
Washington University in St. Louis
… my interviewers were always visibly impressed with the experience I gained working at the TRC. Few job applicants can say that they have spent a year (or more) focused on improving teaching effectiveness across a University.
—Wendy Morris, Assistant Professor, Psychology, McDaniel College
The president of a liberal arts college at which I recently interviewed was particularly interested in this experience, as it demonstrated my dedication to teaching and the liberal arts mission, despite going to graduate school at a large research university.
—Cedar Reiner, Ph.D. Candidate, Psychology, University of Virginia
The regular workshops I facilitated as a GSA were a stepping stone towards my current career in which I provide professional development to elementary and high school teachers in the U.S. and internationally.
—Mark Salata, Independent Science Education Consultant
Given the unexpected changes in my life and career path, it is fair to say that my prospects for any professional satisfaction would have been very minimal if I had not been a GSA, an experience for which I continue to be grateful.
—Jennifer Secki Shields, Chairperson, Seminar for Science, Theology & Ethics,
VA United Methodist Church
Many job candidates can provide strong teaching evaluations to a search committee, I think, but far fewer can provide clear evidence of their commitment to student learning and to their own development as a teacher. My time at the TRC was an excellent experience, and I’d highly recommend the GSA position to anyone.
—David Sigler, Assistant Professor, English, University of Idaho
The experience was very helpful in becoming an effective teacher, which has been central to my success in getting an academic position…. Moreover, the TRC was a warm, supportive place to work, with lots of creative ideas and events. I would highly recommend the experience for grad students who want to excel as teachers.
—Willie Young, Assistant Professor of Humanities, Endicott College