Graduate Student Development

In collaboration with UT’s academic departments and graduate student support organizations, the GSI program, offered by Learning Sciences, provides opportunities to advance graduate students’ pedagogical, academic, and professional progress. The GSI Program is an initiative of the Office of the Provost, the Graduate School, and Learning Sciences.

Becoming a College Teacher

Our resource website: Becoming a College Teacher provides pedagogical support for instructors in a variety of areas such as lecturing, discussion, and assessment. The instructional content is focused on evidence-based teaching strategies, and features video clips of exemplary instructors.

GRS 097: Fundamentals for Teaching Assistants

In collaboration with the Graduate School, the College of Liberal Arts (CoLA), and the College of Natural Sciences (CNS), Learning Sciences offers a semester-long, zero-credit hour, professional development seminar aimed to support first-time Teaching Assistants (TAs) in their instructional duties. In this seminar, TAs will learn strategies for leading effective discussions/labs, be part of a community of TAs interested in brainstorming and troubleshooting with each other, and receive personalized support to become more confident and effective instructors.

College of Liberal Arts

Any graduate student serving as a TA in CoLA who is leading a discussion session for the first time in is eligible to apply the semester of their first discussion section teaching appointment.  Learn More about the program and submit an application for Fall 2015.

College of Natural Sciences

Similarly, any graduate student serving as a TA in CNS who is leading a lab or a discussion session for the first time in is eligible to apply the semester of their first lab/discussion section teaching appointment. Learn More about the program and submit an application for Fall 2015.

Teaching Preparation Certificate for Non-Classroom Teaching Assistants

In collaboration with the Sanger Learning Center, Learning Sciences offers a series of active learning sessions each semester that are designed to help non-classroom TAs (TAs who act as graders and hold office hours but do not lead lab/discussion sections) develop skills specific to their teaching roles. These sessions address issues such as efficient grading and communication with students, and they provide opportunities to practice teaching and develop a teaching statement for the job market. A certificate of completion will be awarded upon participation in three of the four sessions. Learn More about this opportunity and register to attend.

Individual Consultation

GSIs commonly find instructional coaching helpful during their teaching career at UT-Austin. Learning Sciences staff devoted to GSI-specific teaching needs are available to support and advise you on all aspects of teaching such as syllabus and instructional activity design, effective classroom management, and even strategies for inspiring (or re-inspiring) you and your students.

Email consulting requests to

What one participant had to say:

"Thank you so much for taking your time to brainstorm with me about my TA sessions. You were very kind and you are excellent at your job. Today I tried for the first time some interaction during my discussions - on the lines we discussed and I will keep trying...there is room for improvement."

Midterm Assessment Consulting

Frequent feedback from students helps instructors meet students’ needs. Learning Sciences staff are available to meet with GSIs interested in designing their own feedback instruments, or to discuss the use of other assessment tools. Our staff can also assist with planning formative and summative assessments, creating rubrics, analyzing exam questions, and interpreting results.

Email consulting requests to

What participants had to say: 

"I can't thank you enough for taking the time to meet with me and for being so helpful. I also appreciate how comfortable and easy you made the whole experience. I was nervous going in and you immediately gave me the sense that you were going to help me and you did."

"This is excellent information, you did an excellent job, thank you. I am very pleased to see these constructive remarks and I see some directions for improvement."

Teaching Philosophy Working Groups

A teaching philosophy is a reflection on your beliefs about teaching and learning and how you put those beliefs into practice. They are increasingly required by faculty search committees. Learning Sciences staff can assist you with preparing these documents by sharing handouts about how to construct these. Learning Sciences is also available to hold working group meetings for groups of interested graduate students, in which our staff will share tips and strategies for successfully crafting a teaching philosophy and facilitate peer workshops of teaching philosophy drafts.

Email consulting requests to

What one participant had to say:

“Thanks for your detailed feedback on our teaching philosophies earlier in the semester. It is hard to get candid and detailed feedback on things like that, but I am amazed at how much attention you and your colleague gave to my statement. This feedback has been a huge help for me.”

Academic Employment at UT Austin

Graduate students may be appointed as a Teaching Assistant, Assistant Instructor, Graduate Research Assistant, Academic Assistant, Assistant (Graduate) or Tutor (Graduate) for up to 14 long semesters while pursuing a graduate degree at The University of Texas at Austin.

Visit the graduate student employment website for more information.

If you have any questions please email: or call (512) 232-5181. 

Visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to get more information about upcoming opportunities (such as presentations offered at UT Austin about effective teaching techniques, fellowships for graduate students, etc.) and to connect with other graduate student instructors.