Leadership of TA and PLA development within the Morgan Teaching and Learning Center is transitioning this summer. Professor Natalie Farny is stepping down as Associate Director after two years of stellar leadership in a period of growth. Natalie expanded workshops for TAs, PLAs, and graders well beyond the foundations of ethical and legal obligations and effective grading, to include active learning methods, creating inclusive learning environments, facilitating group work, and helping students develop metacognitive learning strategies. During the period spanning FY16-FY18, the number of participants in these workshops more than doubled, now serving more than 300 assistants per year. Natalie also analyzed options for TA feedback and evaluation systems and piloted new processes with several departments.
Professors Mike Johnson (MA), Rudra Kafle (PH), and Zoe Reidinger (BME) have been selected as the team of new Associate Directors, effective July 1. The team approach aims to foster cross-fertilization of good practices across campus. Each brings wealth of experience working with TAs and PLAs as well as new ideas and interests for supporting their professional development and effectiveness. Mike has served as a teaching mentor within the Mathematical Sciences Department since 2013, working with PLAs, TAs, and faculty colleagues to provide high quality instruction across the department. He is interested in the use of classroom technology to benefit both students and instructors. Rudra has been a key player in transforming introductory physics courses at WPI into a studio format. He has also developed a physics pedagogy course for TAs and PLAs in the department, and as co-PI of a PhysTEC grant is working to prepare future middle school and high school physics teachers. Zoe has contributed to the planning and delivery of TA and PLA training since winning the TA of the Year award as a PhD student. Through several teaching grants and work with colleagues as well as TAs and PLAs, she aims to understand how different students experience academia and work toward a fully inclusive model of teaching. Congratulations to all!