Teaching Assistants (TA)

[Message from the Director, Center for Teaching and Learning]

March 2024
Dear ICU TAs,

Whether you are starting as a TA for the first time, or you are already well experienced in this job, I would like to thank you all for joining our team in ICU’s educational activities. It is said that we have had TAs since around 1958, making ICU one of the first academic institutions in Japan to have a TA system.

The first thing that I would like to mention is that in ICU Teaching Assistants are not mere “Arbeit” or student helpers, but they are recognized and trusted as part of the teaching body of the university. In other words, in the eyes of the students, you will be seen as those belonging to the side of the faculty, teachers and instructors. So please act as a professional.

In reality, how you work as TAs in your assigned courses depends on the faculty’s decision. You may be preparing course materials, leading class discussions, or advising students on course subjects. In any way, you are expected to maintain and enhance the quality of education at ICU. Please keep in close contact with your instructor and find your way to improve your TA skills.

We also hope that you will benefit from working as a TA at ICU. Whether you will find your career in academia or in education, or whether you will be working in any other field, I believe that your work experience at a liberal arts college should help you in the future. So please do not just do what you are told to do, but maximize your opportunity by asking questions and sharing your views with the faculty, and learn from them as much as you can. I am also sure that the faculty will benefit from working with you.

Lastly, it is ICU’s utmost priority that you work in a safe and comfortable environment. If you have anything that troubles you during the course of your work, please do not hesitate to talk to the faculty in charge, or staff members of CTL.

Thank you, and best wishes.

Kei Nasu, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning

[Our TA System]

The new TA System was introduced in AY 2020. We, the CTL, played a crucial role in its development. The key features are as follows:
  • ICU hires ICU graduate students as TAs, a type of part-time educational staff. TAs are to assist with educational duties for undergraduate education; this thus serves as a training opportunity for graduate students who wish to become future educators or researchers. At the same time, the system also aims to enrich and maintain ICU’s meticulous undergraduate education.
  • An ICU 4th-year undergraduate student may be hired at faculty’s discretion if certain requirements are met; however, 4th-year undergraduate TAs may not perform exam- or grade-related tasks.
TAs are categorized into three types when they are hired. The main duties of each type are described below.
  • Apprentice Type・・・The TA’s major agrees with the course instructor’s major and the TA performs specialized and highly skilled duties under the guidance of the course instructor.
    • Assisting in design of course, revision and syllabus creation
    • Supporting group discussion
    • Helping address students' questions
    • Holding tutorial sessions after class
    • Making quizzes
    • Assisting in grading objective assignments and grade management
    • Giving presentations on one’s own research as part of the class
  • Assistant Type・・・The TA’s major does not have to agree with the course instructor’s major. The TA attends all classes and helps facilitate the smooth running of the class.
    • Assisting in preparation and maintenance of e-learning tools such as course Moodle pages
    • Operating IT/AV equipment
    • Checking attendance
  • Tutor Type・・・The TA’s major agrees with the course instructor’s major.
    • Supporting group discussion
    • Helping address students' questions
    • Operating IT/AV equipment
    • Providing support mainly outside of class through tutorials, office hours, and supplementary lessons.

[CTL’s Roles and Responsibilities for the TA System]

We support TAs who are hired under the TA System to enable them to perform their duties smoothly.
  • Conducting orientation for newly hired TAs (once a year)
  • Conducting workshops for TAs (once a year) — an opportunity to brush up skills and get to know and exchange ideas with fellow TAs.
  • Administering and analyzing TA Activity Reports (three times a year)
  • Acting as a point of contact for TAs (throughout the year)
  • Conducting TA Seminars for faculty members (once a year)
  • Managing the TA System and Guidelines
  • Managing the TA Job Descriptions that instructors create for each course
If you would like to find out more about our TA System, please visit our internal page.
(Access is limited to our faculty and staff members, part-time lecturers and TAs. Please log in with your ICU Net ID.)
TA Screenshot - コピー.png

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