Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Certification Program

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The Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Certification Program is designed to introduce first-time teaching assistants to the techniques and skills necessary to be effective instructors in the university environment and promote excellence in undergraduate education at Mississippi State University. The GTA Certification Program consists of the following three components:

 

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Orientation (for both US and international students)
  • Microteaching Simulation | Classroom Certification (CC) Evaluation (for GTA2/GTA3 certification)
  • Classroom Communication and Culture (CCC) Workshop (for international students only)

A student cannot participate in the Microteaching Simulation / Classroom Certification Evaluation component until all other GTA Certification Program requirements have been completed.

All graduate students who plan to serve as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) must participate in the Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Certification Program prior to beginning the first teaching assignment at MSU. Students must satisfy all program/evaluation requirements necessary to obtain the level of certification (GTA1, GTA2, GTA3) corresponding to the duties/responsibilities of the teaching assistantship appointment.

Certification Levels for Graduate Teaching Assistants

By participating in the Teaching Assistant Certification Program, graduate students can become certified at one of the following levels that correspond to the duties/responsibilities of the teaching assistantship appointment:

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant 1 (GTA1): Graduate students will assist in such tasks as preparing examinations, grading papers, preparation of class lectures, maintenance of class records, and tutoring students outside formal classes. Does not require the Microteaching Simulation/Classroom Certification. A GTA who initially received assignment to a GTA1 level appointment may later complete the Microteaching Simulation/Classroom Certification Evaluation in anticipation of a change in duties/responsibilities that require direct contact with students. A GTA who has already obtained GTA1 level certification is not required to attend the CCC Workshop (if applicable) or GTA Orientation again.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant 2 (GTA2): Graduate student may have some of the same duties as GTA1. Other responsibilities include making presentation in laboratories/ classrooms, conducting lectures, and leading discussion groups. These tasks involve direct contact with students. These students are not instructors of record. Requires Microteaching Simulation/Classroom Certification Evaluation.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant 3 (GTA3): Graduate student will teach for credit as the instructor of record and/or as the person primarily responsible for assigning grades. Mississippi State University Academic Operating Policy and Procedure (AOP) 13.09 Credentials for Teaching, states "Graduate teaching assistants may serve as instructors of record only for undergraduate courses. These graduate students must possess a masters in the teaching discipline, or at last 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline and obtain classroom certification from the Graduate School. Graduate teaching assistants must receive direct supervision by a faculty member experienced in the same teaching discipline, regular in-service training, and planned periodic evaluations. Graduate teaching assistants cannot serve as instructors of record for graduate level courses regardless of qualifications." Requires Microteaching Simulation/Classroom Certification Evaluation. Additional paperwork may be required for verification of teaching credentials, including submission of transcripts from each institution attended.

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Orientation
Held semi-annually prior to the beginning Fall and Spring semesters

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Orientation provides students who are planning to become new teaching assistants with an introduction to effective teaching methods and tools and serves to educate TAs about University policies and resources. The TA Workshop emphasizes the importance of providing high-quality instruction at Mississippi State University.

All first-time GTAs, both domestic and international, are required to attend the Graduate Teaching Assistant (TA) Orientation. Failure to complete the GTA Orientation will render a student ineligible for a teaching assistantship award.

Microteaching Simulation/Classroom Certification Evaluation
Held semi-annually immediately following the Teaching Assistant (TA) Workshop

The Microteaching Simulation Classroom Certification Evaluation is the tool used to determine whether GTAs are equipped with the skills needed to deliver high-quality instruction to undergraduate students at Mississippi State University. Prospective students from GTA2/GTA3 certification prepare a 10-15 minute interactive mini-lesson that would be presented to students as part of an assigned course and deliver the mini-lesson to an evaluative panel of graduate faculty members. Classroom Certification is required of all teaching assistants whose responsibilities involve direct contact with students such as giving presentations in lectures or laboratories, conducting lectures, and leading discussion groups.

Waivers to allow classroom laboratory teaching (GTA2/GTA3 levels) without successful completion of all Teaching Assistant Certification Program component requirements (Classroom Communication and Culture (CCC) workshop/Classroom English Certification (International Graduate Teaching Assistants only), Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Orientation, and Microteaching Simulation/Classroom Certification WILL NOT be issued.

A student cannot participate in the Microteaching Simulation/Evaluation for Classroom Certification segment until all other Teaching Assistant Certification Program requirements have been completed.