Professional Development for International Teaching Assistants and Graduate Researchers

TitleProfessional Development for International Teaching Assistants and Graduate Researchers
OtherUBC Continuing Studies
Duration1 Year
Project Summary


In Term 1, 2004, 22.7% of graduate students at UBC were international students, and these numbers are increasing every year. UBC has a responsibility to ensure that these graduate students, if they are TAs will not only be able to provide effective and culturally appropriate instruction to undergraduate students but also will be able to adapt to the Canadian academic environment to be successful in their own graduate studies. For 15 years, the Professional Development for International Teaching Assistants program has provided an important and unique service to the UBC community, complementing the Instructional Skills Workshops offered by TAG. Two UBC departments (Earth & Ocean Sciences / Physics & Astronomy) now require TAs, who receive poor evaluations in their first semester, to take this program and they highly recommend the program to international graduate students who wish to be considered for teaching assistant positions.


  • To support and strengthen UBC's commitment to internationalization by preparing international graduate students for teaching and research assistant positions in their departments.
  • To build effective teaching techniques and cross-cultural communication skills among international teaching assistants as TA positions become more and more competitive.
  • To develop successful academic communication and teamwork practices among international graduate researchers who will be representing UBC at seminars, meetings, and professional conferences.
  • To improve the learning experiences of thousands of UBC undergraduate students, in all faculties, who receive instruction from international teaching assistants.


  • Weekly interactive workshops on effective teaching, presentation, and intercultural communication skills, instructor and peer evaluation, feedback, and video analysis.
  • Classroom and research laboratory observations and one-on-one coaching to build effective teaching and communication strategies to fit the Canadian educational environment and the distinct requirements of each academic field.
  • Email list-serv for discussion and follow-up as another means of support.
Funding Details
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2005/2006
Year 1: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorHelena Hensley
Year 1: Funded Amount53,326
Year 1: Team Members

Helena Hensley, Centre for Intercultural Communication, UBC Continuing Studies
Jane Hutton, Centre for Intercultural Communication, UBC Continuing Studies