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Maseeh Colloquium: Preparing Future College Instructors: The Role of GTAs in Successful College Calculus Programs
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 2:00pm


The Maseeh Mathematics and Statistics Colloquium Series* presents

Preparing future college instructors: the role of Graduate Student Teaching Assistants (GTAs) in successful college calculus programs
by Jessica Ellis, Ph.D. Candidate, University of California San Diego and San Diego State University 

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 at 2:00pm
Neuberger Hall Rm. 454 | Portland State University
Refreshments served at 2:00pm in presentation room
This event is free and open to the public 

In this presentation I detail two studies that have shaped my research program, both coming out of the Characteristics of Successful Programs in College Calculus (CSPCC) project. The first investigates the profile and experiences of students who initially indicate intent to pursue Calculus II (a proxy of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) intention) and then no longer do so after taking Calculus I. Results of this study indicate that students who switch are less engaged during class, even when in the same class as their persister counterparts. Additionally, a significant amount of these students are taught by Graduate-student Teaching Assistants (GTAs). In the second study, I contrast Graduate-student Teaching Assistants’ (GTAs’) Calculus instruction to that of other instructor types, and examine the various professional development experiences GTAs have that successfully prepare them as future professors. This study is rooted in a sociocultural approach to learning how to teach and becoming part of a community. By drawing on both quantitative and qualitative methods, I connect components of GTA professional development programs to instructor’s conceptions, their practices, and their students’ success. I conclude by articulating future directions for my emerging program of research