SSN Commentary

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University of California, San Diego

Originally published in Inside Higher Ed on May 8, 2024.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 135,000 graduate students work as teaching assistants in higher education institutions across the country. Those students have a direct impact on the quality of instruction for millions of undergraduates. They teach sections, grade assignments, mentor students in office hours, and sometimes design and teach entire courses from scratch.

In my career as a graduate student and now a faculty member in the University of California (UC) system, I have witnessed the growth on our campuses and beyond of the infrastructure dedicated to training these students for their teaching responsibilities. The expansion of teaching centers, the creation of teaching certificates, and the establishment of a broad range of programming on pedagogy and student learning have enabled graduate students to carry out their instructional roles with increased confidence and competence.