Continuing professional development in learning and teaching for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs): An institutional response.

Mary McCulloch


Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) are being employed in higher education in a number of roles and with a number of responsibilities regarding learning and teaching and enhancing the student experience. This is in addition to their primary role as researcher. Research training is being provided variously at national, university and departmental levels. Support for GTAs’ learning and teaching role and for their further development in this role is often provided in an ad hoc manner at departmental and university levels (though increasingly also through the support of Higher Education Academy subject centres). This paper outlines the approach that a large research-led university has taken to the continuing professional development of its GTAs. This is examined in terms of the initial support provided to GTAs as well as a more advanced level of support, encapsulated in an accredited Masters level course. The paper concludes with a proposal for research into the learning experience of the GTAs as well as for further research which will examine ways in which the university may support a larger number of GTAs in addition to other staff on hourly paid contracts.

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