Many of our students serve as teaching assistants in BEE and other engineering courses. One can sign up for BEE 4980 or, depending on the situation, can get paid for the same. One has to choose between getting paid and getting credit. Interested persons should contact the relevant faculty member.
You may use up to 4 credits of teaching taken in an engineering department in place of 1 focus area course towards the 46 engineering credits in category 8.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How do I become a teaching assistant? What are the benefits of TAing?
A1. As you take a course, you’ll get a feeling about whether you might want to TA it later. If you would like to TA in that course, talk to the instructor about it and express your interest. Then follow up with a reminder to the faculty member a month or two before the class starts (or earlier, if you know TA’s are hired for a full year e.g. in BEE 2600). Some benefits of TA-ing are that you get direct experience in teaching and to some extent in course development, you develop a far deeper and richer understanding of the course material than you were able to do as a student the first time ‘round in the course, and you have a chance to develop a close collegial relationship with one or more professors, which can lead to opportunities in graduate study, research, and full time employment either directly or through letters of reference. And in addition to benefits to you, you can make a difference in the life and learning of fellow students in the BE program.
There are actually two kinds of undergraduate TA: teaching TA’s who interact with students and student work directly, and development TA’s who work with an instructor or group of instructors to develop new materials for a course. Good teaching TA’s know the course material well, but are also well organized, showing up on time and prepared for office hours and TA group meetings, and they know (or quickly learn) how to explain difficult concepts clearly and respectfully to struggling students. If your extracurricular commitments are unpredictable – athletic travel, theater productions, responsibilities back home, political activism, catering or editing work – be sure to disclose this to the instructor before accepting an invitation to TA, and ask about the possibility of working in a developmental role.
Q2. Is there any way to get paid through the Department of Biological Engineering by TAing or doing research?
A2. For research: talk with the PI (principal investigator) of your lab. For TA-ing: talk with the faculty member in charge of the course. Be sure to mention if you have a work-study option as part of your financial aid.