Why Teach in the UCSB Writing Program?
UCSB Writing Program Assistantships offer the opportunity to develop theoretical and practical experience in the teaching of writing, curriculum design, and work with students. The experiences garnered as a Writing Program TA will help you to become a better teacher in your "home" discipline and a stronger candidate on the job market. Moreover, teaching in the Writing Program will help you to refine your own writing, reading, and critical analysis strategies.
What do TAs do?
Working with an assigned supervisor who is a senior lecturer in the Writing Program, TAs are given training in and have significant responsibilities for all aspects of instruction, including grading, for one class (typically 25 students) each quarter. New incoming TAs usually begin their Writing Program assignment by teaching Writing 2, the General Education writing course required of all UCSB undergraduates.
Writing Program TAships begin with participation in Writing 501, Academic Writing: Theory and Practice, a 4-unit course that provides a foundation in composition and rhetoric theory and practice, as well as a grounding in the Writing Program's course content and pedagogical approach. While this is a Fall quarter course, it begins prior to the start of the term. For Fall 2020 this course will meet Monday, September 14 - Friday, September 25 (excluding weekends). All TAs (regardless of prior experience, travel schedules, or anything else) must be able to attend class from approximately 9:30am-3:30 pm from 9/14-9/25, then from 3-4:50 Wednesdays through the Fall quarter.
What do TAs teach?
TAs teach Writing 2, the required lower division (Area A1) course at UCSB. About 80 percent of incoming first year students take this course.
At the core of Writing 2 is the idea that qualities of good writing are situated in local contexts and academic disciplines. Good writers, therefore, learn to analyze and adapt to the expectations for writing in these different situations. Writing 2 helps students build the critical writing, reading, and analysis strategies they will use in their UCSB majors and beyond, asking students (and instructors) to investigate and develop the literacy practices used in academic disciplines.
Writing 2 classes meet two days a week for 110 minutes per meeting, and instructors hold at least two office hours a week in addition to attending selected faculty meetings. TAships in the Writing Program are 50% appointments; compensation is set by terms of collective bargaining. EE/AO
What are home department/Grad Division requirements?
All TAs must be registered in at least 8 units each quarter that they teach in the Writing Program and must be making sufficient progress toward degree. This determination is made by the home department and the Grad Division. To teach in Summer Sessions, TAs must have completed an M.A. degree. There will be no waivers of the requirement that TAs have an M.A. to teach in the summer, as this is a Summer Sessions requirement.
New TAs teach all three quarters of the academic year and are eligible for teaching in subsequent quarters, depending on need in the Writing Program.
How can I learn more?
The Writing Program is happy to talk with prospective TAs about teaching in the Program. For questions contact Madeleine Sorapure, Professor of Writing Studies and Writing Program Director (893-2462), or just stop by South Hall 1522. You can also contact Randi Browning, Lecturer and Chair of TA Training and Supervision.
I know I want to apply. What are next steps?
TA application materials are due Friday, February 14, 2020 by 4:00 p.m. Materials should be submitted to the South Hall Academic Service Center (SH 3432G, Third Floor, Grad Tower).
To apply, please include the following as indicated on the 2020/2021 Application form:
- 2020/2021 Application (note that this is a MS Word file). Please note that the second page is to be completed by the Graduate Program Advisor in your home department)
- a cover letter addressing your qualifications. Please note that this should focus on your interest in or experience with working with students in a writing class.
- a curriculum vitae
- a one-to-two page statement describing the relationship between the teaching of writing to your academic research and/or career goals
- a teaching portfolio:
- a one-page statement of teaching philosophy and instructional goals that focus on teaching writing at UCSB.
- samples of syllabi, lesson plans, handouts, course readers, and/or assignments you have designed for courses in or outside of the UCSB Writing Program that involve significant writing tasks if you have taught previously. If you include these materials, please also include a statement describing the course and the materials.
If you have not taught your own class previously, please design a sample assignment that you would like to use in a course. The sample assignment could be for a course in your own field or for a writing course.
Please understand the purpose of the portfolio is to allow you to give the strongest picture possible of your teaching and/or tutoring experience. We do not expect that most TAs will have the opportunity to design courses of their own. If you have questions about assembling a teaching portfolio, you may want to bring your materials to Madeleine Sorapure (South Hall 1522, firstname.lastname@example.org) or to Randi Browning (Girvetz 1318, email@example.com) for a consultation.
Returning TA Application Procedures
I've loved teaching in the Writing Program. Can I reapply for a second year?
Yes! TAs who have taught successfully in the Writing Program are very welcome to reapply for an appointment.
To reapply, you'll need to submit:
- The first page of the 2020/2021 Application (please note that the second page is to be completed by the Graduate Program Advisor in your home department). Note: Returning TAs do not need to submit a portfolio or writing sample.
- A reapplication cover letter. This letter should include your teaching philosophy, a brief discussion of the feedback/evaluations you've received from students, what you've gained from your Writing Program teaching experience and why you hope to continue.
We will also consider recommendations on your performance from past TA supervisors.
As a returning TA, what classes might I teach?
In addition to Writing 2, returning TAs may also seek assignments in Writing 1, Writing 50 (special research topics), or in the ACE Program (Academic Communities for Excellence) for EOP students. Those interested in teaching in the Engineering Writing sequence (1E, 2E, 50E) must have fulfilled the requirements for Writing 252.
I've heard about Teaching Associates. What are those, and how might I become one?
Teaching Associates serve as mentors to new teaching assistants and work on curriculum development (including creating new curriculum, developing assessment projects, and other creative activities) in the Writing Program. Teaching Associates will assist with instruction for Writing 501, held September 14-25, 2020.To become an associate, you must:
- possess a Master's degree or equivalent training
- be in good standing with your home department
- have 3-6 quarters of teaching experience in the Writing Program
- have a verbal recommendation of a Writing Program supervisor based on your teaching and service record
I've got those things. How can I apply?
To submit an application to become an Associate TA, please submit the following documents:
- 2020/2021 Application (please note that the second page is to be completed by the Graduate Program Advisor in your home department)
- Reapplication cover letter. A reapplication cover letter for this position should include your teaching philosophy, a brief discussion of the feedback/evaluations you've received from students, what you've gained from your Writing Program teaching experience and why you hope to continue. You should also discuss ways you have or plan to contribute with new assignments or participation in activities such as TA Orientation.