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  1. Erica Miller
  2. https://www.ericarmiller.com/
  3. Assistant Professor
  5. Virginia Commonwealth University
  1. Mary Beiseigel
  2. Associate Professor
  4. Oregon State University
  1. Mary Pilgrim
  2. Assistant Professor
  4. San Diego State University

Mathematics Graduate Teaching Assistant Professional Development Focused on ...

NSF Awards: 2013422, 2013563, 2013590

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Undergraduate, Graduate

Our project, Engaged Learning, Inclusive Teaching and Equity Professional Development (ELITE PD), is focused on mathematics graduate teaching assistants (MGTAs) and their learning about engaged, inclusive, and equitable teaching practices. Relying on findings in the research literature, we designed the ELITE PD program for MGTAs with the following objective in mind: to provide extended and scaffolded support for MGTAs as they learn how to support active, engaged students and enact inclusive, equitable teaching practices. Our plan is to implement the ELITE PD program at multiple institutions in order to study the impact of the program on MGTAs’ teaching practices, their views of teaching, as well as the impact on MGTAs’ students. We will compare the ELITE PD program at multiple institutions to understand how aspects of the program work in different contexts. The overarching questions for this project are: (1) How can the ELITE PD program support MGTAs to transform their teaching practices to be more engaging, inclusive, and equitable? (2) What identifiable aspects of individual, institutional, and departmental cultures inhibit or support sustainable change? Our goal is to generate new knowledge about PD opportunities for MGTAs, what works in which contexts, and to explicate a theory of change for MGTAs’ teaching practices. In this video, we will discuss our ELITE PD model as well as how we are developing PD materials that are adaptable for different contexts and modalities.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (13 posts)
  • Icon for: Erica Miller

    Erica Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 10, 2021 | 08:54 p.m.

    Thank you for viewing our video! 

    We are in the first year of developing the ELITE PD program and are excited to work with our first cohort of graduate students next Fall. Currently, we are working on developing the materials for our Introductory PD (during the pre-semester fall orientation),Graduate Teaching Seminar, and the Introduction to Active Learning & Equity course. We are also collecting baseline data to better understand the current beliefs and practices of graduate students as well as the culture within our departments. 

    Through the STEM for All Video Showcase, we would love to engage in a discussion of how others are preparing graduate students to implement teaching practices that promote active learning as well as equity and inclusion. In particular, we want to know:

    1. What types of teaching professional development opportunities are available to graduate students in your department?
    2. What does your department do to promote teaching practices that focus on active learning as well as equity and inclusion?
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Bernard Yett
  • Icon for: Barry Fishman

    Barry Fishman

    May 11, 2021 | 04:35 p.m.

    Great project, Erica (and killer acronym!). I really respect how you are helping these students learn not only about pedagogy, but also about some of the systemic and contextual issues that will help them be better advocates for good teaching in the future.

    In doing this work, have you connected to work in other disciplines? Engineering education in particular is really well-developed, and has some overlapping topics.

  • Icon for: Erica Miller

    Erica Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 12:39 p.m.

    Thanks, Barry! We worked hard on that acronym. 🤣

    We are familiar with some research that has been done related to graduate student professional development in the Sciences, but we are familiar with the engineering education literature. Any specific citations or authors that you could suggest we read would be greatly appreciated! We are actually meeting with Natasha Speer this week to discuss the possibility of organizing a conference on STEM graduate student professional development for teaching.

  • Icon for: Paige Evans

    Paige Evans

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 06:42 p.m.

    Hello Erica,

    I enjoyed your video.  The figures were well done and impressive. Approximately how many attend the PDs on a regular basis?

    If you have any time this week, check out our video,


  • Icon for: Erica Miller

    Erica Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 12:46 p.m.

    Paige, what an amazing project! I was so inspired by the work you are doing. At one point you mentioned that you asked students to draw what an engineer looked like and then saw how that drawing changed to look more like them. We did a similar activity last fall with our graduate students where we asked them to draw a mathematician and then had a follow-up conversation about what their drawings say about how mathematicians are perceived and what stereotypes we may hold. This type of stereotype and identity analysis has also been done with elementary students around the world: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1017523230758

    We are welcoming our first cohort into the ELITE PD programs at Virginia Commonwealth and Oregon State this fall. VCU has a smaller graduate program, so we expect to have 5-10 students in our first cohort. OSU has a larger program, so I think they are expecting around 10-15 students in their first cohort.

  • Icon for: Stan Yoshinobu

    Stan Yoshinobu

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 10:08 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your project, and this looks to be a very promising program to support graduate student teaching.  I especially appreciate the focus on equity and inclusion. 

    How supportive are the departments of this work? And is that a necessary preliminary step to get such a program going? 

  • Icon for: Erica Miller

    Erica Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 12:50 p.m.

    Great question, Stan! From previous projects, we know that department support of graduate student professional development is critical, which is why our research focuses on both the individual (graduate students) and the department. While all three of our departments are supportive, we also all have different constraints. For example, master's students at SDSU do not have tuition waivers, so we have to think about equitable ways to provide them with professional development without burdening them financially. As part of our project, we plan to meet regularly with our department leadership to make sure we are meeting their needs and keeping their support.

  • Icon for: Mary Pilgrim

    Mary Pilgrim

    Assistant Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 12:53 p.m.

    Hi Stan! We have found that the support of our departments has been an important aspect of getting this program going. I teach the PD course at SDSU, so the fact that we have such a starting course (that also counts for teaching credit) demonstrates some commitment. I think support is important when considering sustaining change. 

    I think we will be reaching out to you also to talk about how you constructed your IBL PD sessions. :) 

  • Icon for: Margie Vela

    Margie Vela

    Senior Program Manager
    May 12, 2021 | 01:19 a.m.

    This is an excellent project! I have been working in STEM diversity programming for over 10 years and have worked with many students whose math instructors have made a difference in their academic pathways. Great instructors can open up the STEM pathway for students when they work from an equity perspective. 

    I am curious about the departments where this program is being implemented. Do math faculty in these departments receive the same training as the graduate students do? If not, what are the challenges you think one would face in developing a similar PD model for faculty?

  • Icon for: Erica Miller

    Erica Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 12:58 p.m.

    Great question, Margie! Currently, faculty in our departments do not receive the same training as graduate students, but there are different professional development opportunities for them to engage in (through the university-wide centers for teaching and learning). I know that some researchers (e.g., Zareen Rahman & Eileen Murray) have thought more deeply about faculty professional development. One important difference that I would foresee is thinking about how PD designed for novice teachers (graduate students) would need to be adapted for more experienced teachers (faculty). We are engaging with graduate students at the time when they are really just forming their own personal teaching philosophies and practices, whereas faculty have many years of experience and beliefs that have already been formed. We also have the advantage of building our PD into the "normal" graduate student experience (e.g., attending orientations, taking classes) but there may not be a similar expectation for faculty to be continually engaged in professional development. So I would expect that buy-in and willingness to participate would be another challenge that would be faced when developing a similar PD model for faculty.

  • Icon for: Jonee Wilson

    Jonee Wilson

    Assistant Professor
    May 13, 2021 | 11:21 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this important work! I love that you all are using Gutierrez's framework as a structure for outlining practices that you plan to incorporate into the work with the graduate students. I would love to hear about the "body/emotions" component. In particular, what are some of the types of practices that are planned to be implemented in the PD that would fall under this component of the framework? Also, are there instructional moves that you all are hoping to support the graduate students in incorporating into their own classrooms? 

    This component reminds me of one of the practices (Supporting A Nurturing Environment) that we have developed rubrics for on our project and I am wondering if there is any overlap between the two concepts.

  • Icon for: Lindsay Palmer

    Lindsay Palmer

    Graduate Student
    May 14, 2021 | 02:39 p.m.

    Such fascinating work! I am a dual-titling PhD student and I feel that my department in the social sciences has a scarcity of resources about pedagogy. In my other department, we have a course dedicated to feminist pedagogy and teaching. At the university level, there is a teaching insitute that provides graduate students with workshops and some training. I would love to see teaching and pedagogy formalized into graduate coursework more broadly. 

  • Icon for: Erica Miller

    Erica Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 17, 2021 | 11:41 a.m.

    We agree, Lindsay! We especially think it's important for pedagogical training to be part of mathematics students' graduate experience since the majority of students who earn a Ph.D. in mathematics end up in teaching-intensive positions. Thankfully, more mathematics graduate departments are offering pedagogy courses and I hope that a similar trend is happening in other departments across campus.

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.