P691G – Graduate Student Professional Development Seminar

Structure of Our Program


  • A one-hour session to explicitly think about what it means to be a physics Ph.D. student and how that is different from being an undergraduate
  • A 90-minute “crash course” on TA training so that they are ready for day one.

During the Semester

  • A one hour a week session with some amount of readings and other assignments to be completed outside of class.
  • The workload is intentionally small – need to be respectful of the other demands on graduate-student time.
  • The seminar sessions during the semester are run in a very workshop-like fashion with students actively involved during the class sessions. We want our GTAs to teach in a student-centered active manner and feel it is important to model this behavior in the seminar as much as possible.


A Note on Vocabulary

The terminology when discussion courses to prepare GTAs to help undergraduate students can get a bit cumbersome. We will use the following convention:

  • Facilitator – The instructor(s) for the GTA training program which including both the faculty member of record and graduate student assistants. We think that having graduate student assistants for GTA training programs are invaluable as they provide real-world perspectives and advice.
  • Instructor – The instructors of record under which all GTAs work in our department.
  • Participant – A new GTA who is in the TA training program.
  • Student – An undergraduate student.