Mentoring Sessions


The purpose of mentoring and pedagogical training in Lower Division Studies is to enhance teaching and professional development among graduate teaching assistants, as well as to encourage conversations among all instructors, lecturers, and faculty in our department. Through presentations, conversations, and resource sharing, our teaching staff can focus on issues of interest to the GSU community and apply best practices in teaching. Our primary goal is to emphasize multiple views and methods for teaching in all aspects of Lower Division, including composition and literature courses.


Our conversations may center on creating good syllabi, assignments, and grading rubrics; teaching with technology; enlivening courses with new materials; interacting with students and developing effective classroom presentation skills; developing a teaching portfolio; observing and providing feedback on teaching; and balancing teaching responsibilities with other aspects of professional life (such as exams, coursework, writing, research, and job search). We welcome active participation by all of our teaching staff and rely on the community to propose new topics and provide materials for sharing and discussion.

The Plan

Our teaching staff gathers as a whole community four times a year for staff meetings, pedagogical presentations, and training sessions. These meetings are held in August, October, February, and April of each year and are required of all graduate teaching assistants and instructors.


Each graduate instructor is responsible for attending a staff meeting and two training sessions on each of the four training days to meet their mentoring obligation (eight sessions for the year). Lower Division will sponsor a few additional, individual training sessions during the year for added professional development or to serve as makeup sessions for those who miss a training day due to an unavoidable conflict.


During each session, GTAs should take some notes and reflect on how to integrate new knowledge into their teaching practice. In the teaching reflection document included in the annual teaching portfolio, GTAs reference the training sessions that they attended throughout the calendar year. The teaching reflection is where you demonstrate how you have incorporated the ideas from training into your own pedagogy.


Instructors participating in our Shadow Mentoring program (new GTAs and their individual mentors) have a reduced training session obligation for the year. They complete all mentoring obligations in the fall and attend all four staff meetings and group training sessions during the year, but are required to attend concurrent mentoring sessions only in the spring.


We welcome session proposals for all of our training days. Any of our teaching staff who plan and lead a session will be exempt from attending additional training that day (i.e., leading a session is equivalent to attending two training sessions).  This is an excellent opportunity to build your CV and teaching credentials as well. It is said that “teaching teaches the teacher.”


The LDS administrative staff welcomes your input and feedback as we strive to find the best ways to build community, offer excellent instruction to all students, and enhance our teaching credentials. Share ideas and your vision for training and mentoring with Dr. Michael Harker at or Andrea Jurjević at