Graduate TAs honoured for outstanding contributions

Parthajit Mukherjee, the 2016-17 recipient of Brock’s TA Award, has come full circle as a teaching assistant and lab demonstrator over the past six years.

As a new TA in 2011, Mukherjee looked upon his graduate studies professors as role models for teaching and learning. At the same time, he sharpened his teaching skills and philosophy by attending a series of TA professional development workshops offered by the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI).

“My fascination for teaching blossomed during my early days as a graduate student at Brock University,” Mukherjee says. “Under the supervision of several veteran and young professors, I learned the tools of the trade and the value of hard work and perseverance.”

From that commitment and dedication, Mukherjee has become a role model for other TAs and for many of the undergraduate students he has taught in third- and second-year biology classes.

“Getting involved in this profession, while being a student myself, made me realize that teaching and learning are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other,” he says in explaining his teaching philosophy. “Therefore the journey towards becoming a good teacher starts by becoming an avid learner of the concepts that one desires to teach.”

Mukherjee, who is a few weeks away from receiving his PhD degree in Biotechnology, was one of the top TAs recognized at the annual TA Reception held recently by CPI to celebrate the important contributions to the University by teaching assistants, seminar leaders and lab demonstrators.

Also distinguished for teaching excellence were Harish Aggarwal, a master’s student in Applied Health Sciences who received the Graduate TA Award, and Francesca Patten, a master’s student in Classics who received the Novice TA Award.

Francesca Patten

Francesca Patten was recently honoured at the TA Reception hosted by the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation.

CPI honoured close to 100 TAs who completed TA certificate programs to further develop their teaching skills this year.  Over CPI’s 20-year history, close to 1,500 TAs have received TA certification.

TAs play an integral role in supporting student learning and student success at Brock, says Anna Lathrop, Brock’s Vice-Provost, Teaching, Learning and Student Success.

“The strength of the University is the calibre of TAs we have working in classrooms and labs across campus,” Lathrop says.

Aggarwal and Patten are teaching role models in their own right as dedicated, resourceful and student-focused TAs.

Aggarwal, a master’s student in Applied Health Sciences, is TA and lab demonstrator for two fundamental undergraduate courses — HLSC 2P07 and HLSC 3P07, Biostatics I and II.

He has a top-five list of beliefs that inform his teaching philosophy, the first of which is to give students a strong sense of accountability. He also places a high importance on fostering an inclusive personalized learning environment.

Patten, a master’s student in Classics, shares a genuine passion for the study of Classics with the large group of students she taught in CLAS 1P91: Greek Civilization.

Patten successfully creates and facilitates a supportive classroom environment through creative classroom activities. As well, Patten makes herself available to other TAs to help and share ideas for creating interactive lesson plans.

Profiles of the 2016-17 TA Awards recipients are available online.

Information about the annual TA Award nomination process is also available on CPI’s website.

Graduate TAs at CPI reception

The contributions of Brock’s Graduate TAs were celebrated during a recent reception hosted by the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation.

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