DUTIES AND EXPECTATIONS
Expectations for Faculty, Course Associates, and
Teaching Assistants who hold discussion sections
Program in Human Biology
is a degree granting undergraduate major that integrates the natural
and behavioral sciences as they relate to the study of human beings.
It has three main goals:
• To provide a broad and
rigorous understanding to the biological and behavioral sciences and
• To relate these sciences to the problems that exist in the relationship
of human beings to one another and to their environment;
• To help each student achieve a high level of understanding in one
particular area of biological and behavioral sciences and its application.
The faculty expect the TAs
to provide the pedagogical backup for the courses and to act responsibly
towards the students. TAs should be familiar with all the Stanford policies
governing professional behavior. The most important faculty expectation
is that the TAs prepare themselves to teach the material. This means
understanding fully what is being taught and why it is important.
Also, the faculty expect the TAs to inform them immediately if there
are any sensitive issues either regarding students (e.g. honor code
violation etc.) or among the TAs (e.g. perception of differential contribution
to the job). This allows the faculty member to immediately attend to
these issues before they become more difficult.
The role of a teaching assistant
is to be the bridge between the faculty and the students. While the
faculty provide the material of the course, in their lectures and readings,
the TAs manage the administration of the course. This can range from
the minute details of bringing overhead pens to lecture to deciding
what to emphasize in section, to making the microphone work, to presenting
review sessions. The TAs are expected to ensure that lecture runs smoothly
everyday, arriving early with handouts, arranging the room and making
certain that the lecturer, guest or coordinator, is there. They may
also manage some of the behind the scenes work, writing and preparing
examinations under faculty guidance, arranging rooms for DRC students,
preparing section handouts.
The weekly sections taught
by TAs often constitute the period where the bulk of student learning
occurs. The more intimate sections allow students to ask questions and
really interact with the material. Students’ interaction with TAs
is usually their most direct contact with the Human Biology Program.
Some students are demanding, and although TAs may not be able to accommodate
their needs all the time, TAs should try their best to help students
succeed at learning.
The TAs expect the faculty
to support the job of teaching sections, grading, holding office hours
and all the other duties of the TAs by offering insight and information
when needed. It is particularly important for the faculty to help the
TAs understand the material and the rationale for teaching it in the
course. The faculty establish the style of the course and set the pace;
they determine what sections should be like and what course policies