Job Training Information for Departments
At the University of Toronto, students working as teaching assistants, teaching laboratory assistants, graders, and course instructors are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 3902, Unit 1. Depending on the nature of the teaching appointment (teaching assistantship or course instructorship), graduate students receive first-contract training to support their pedagogical development. It is the responsibility of the hiring department to provide the job training. However, the Teaching Assistants’ Training Program (TATP) offers several services to support departments in meeting this mandate.
As per the 2021-2023 Collective Agreement between CUPE 3902 Unit 1 and the University of Toronto, first-time Teaching Assistants shall receive 4 hours of paid job training. TAs can request additional training, up to 4 hours, for each subsequent appointment. As of September 1, 2014, all TAs who are asked to lead tutorials are required to receive training that focuses on a particular tutorial category.
As per the 2021-2023 Collective Agreement between CUPE 3902 Unit 1 and the University of Toronto, first-time Course Instructors are entitled to 6 hours of paid job training. CIs shall be paid for their participation in such training at the SGS II rate by the hiring department in addition to their regular contract stipend.
Understanding the Training Process: Job Training for Teaching Assistants
Identifying A Tutorial Category
Instructors who have been assigned TAs should contact the appropriate designate in their division/department to determine the process for categorizing tutorials and identifying TA training. In most cases, this contact will either be an Associate Chair Undergraduate or Graduate, or a faculty or staff member charged with overseeing TA contracts in the division/department.
At the University of Toronto, the term “tutorial” is used to identify interactive and participatory sessions primarily led by TAs. During tutorials, TAs are responsible for gauging student understanding and providing formative feedback, in line with assessment structures and guidelines set by the Course Instructor.
These categories include:
- Discussion-Based Tutorials
- Review Q&A Tutorials
- Skill Development
- Critical Reading and Reflection
- Supporting Student Writing
- Problem Sets
In cases of tutorials with 100+ students, TAs are also entitled to training on how to scale their learning activities for larger groups (see the Thresholds for Additional TA Training table in Appendix D of the Report of the Joint Working Group on Undergraduate Tutorials).
Identifying Training Options for TAs
By TATP Hybrid
By TATP Hybrid Tailored
TATP Training Options for TAs
TATP Online Training Modules:
TAs can self-enrol for the following online asynchronous training modules. Each module should take approximately one hour to complete. Online Training Modules FAQ for Administrators.
Self enrolment links below:
- Policies & Procedures for Teaching Assistants at the University of Toronto*
- Discussion Based Tutorials
- Review and Q&A Tutorials
- Laboratories and Practicals
- Skill Development: Critical Reading and Reflection
- Skill Development: Supporting Student Writing
- Skill Development: Problem Sets
- Introduction to Quercus
- Online Course Design & Management
- Online Technology for Student Engagement
*All first time TAs should complete this module
2-Hour Synchronous Training Sessions:
A Note about CUPE 3902 Unit 1: As stipulated in the collective agreement between the TA union and the University, a CUPE 3902 union steward must be allotted 30 minutes to speak at the end of any training session for first-contract TAs facilitated by the TATP. A CUPE 3902 representative will be present in all TATP 2-hour synchronous training sessions (this includes departmental-specific training sessions).
TAs must register prior to attending one of the 2-hour synchronous online or in-person training sessions hosted by the TATP. In-person training sessions will take place in the Blackburn Room, on the 4th floor of Robarts Library (130 St. George Street). Online sessions will be hosted on Zoom. Registration now open.
- Key instructional techniques
- Time management
- Communicating with students
- Effective student support
- Working with your Course Supervisor
2-Hour Departmental-Specific Training Sessions
For departments with more than 30 TAs who require first-appointment training, a 2-hour synchronous online or in-person training session can be booked with the TATP. Please book your training session no less than 3 weeks in advance and provide 3 possible dates for your session. Our preference is to offer training online. If there is a strong preference to hold an in-person, on site training session, you must adhere to all University of Toronto health and safety policies, and book a room with sufficient room for all of the TAs who require training. All TATP facilitators will be masked, and it is our strong preference that attendees are masked as well.
Understanding the Training Process: Job Training for Course Instructors
CI Training Options
Course Instructors are eligible to attend training as soon as they have a contract to teach from their hiring department (which, in some cases, may be prior to the beginning of the term in which they are teaching).
The TATP will not develop or deliver customized in-department workshops for first-time Unit 1 Course Instructors. Hiring departments have several options for making paid training available to first-time CIs. These options include:
Combined by Department and TATP
Additional Paid Training for TAs and CIs
As per the 2021-23 Collective Agreement, in addition to the first appointment training for TAs and CIs, the University shall provide 2 hours of work-related paid training per academic year in which they hold at least one teaching appointment.
Departments should communicate to their TAs and CIs about this training entitlement. TAs and CIs are not required to participate in this training. The 2 additional hours of paid training are completely optional.
Training in the following subject areas will be considered work-related training for all appointments:
- Pedagogy and inclusive pedagogy
- Anti-oppression and anti-racism
- Intercultural competency
- Accommodations and crisis referrals
In addition, the following training will be considered work-related for teaching appointments that require remote delivery:
- Online technology
- Online course design and management
A Note on Attendance Records from the TATP
As of the 2021-22 academic year, the TATP has been providing records of attendance for all students who participate in our programming. If a student completes an asynchronous online module, or attends an online or in-person session, an electronic record of attendance will be made available to them either via Quercus or email. A record of attendance from the TATP can confirm that the student has completed the number of hours of training identified on the record of attendance.