Center for Teaching and Learning

Frequently asked questions

What is the TA/RA Conference on Teaching, Learning and Research?

The TA/RA Conference is designed to help you prepare for your roles and responsibilities as a TA and/or RA at UW, and to provide you with an opportunity to develop your skills as a scholar teaching and conducting research in your discipline. The conference is intended to supplements activities conducted in individual departments, and many departments recommend specific workshops for their TAs and RAs to attend.

When does the TA/RA Conference take place?

The TA/RA Conference takes place every September.  For the dates of this year’s conference please visit the TA/RA Conference Homepage.

Where does the TA/RA Conference take place?

The TA/RA Conference takes place in buildings on central campus. The ITA Program sessions are on Friday afternoon (9/16/16) in Mary Gates Hall and in Johnson Hall. On Monday morning (9/19/16) conference check-in/registration and the opening plenary are in Kane Hall, and the workshops all day Monday and Tuesday are in buildings on or near the Quad.

How do I find out the location of the workshops I have registered for?

If you have pre-registered for the conference:
At check-in, you will receive a conference packet with a schedule indicating the rooms for the workshops that you have selected. You can pick up your packet in Kane Hall Room 225 on Monday (9/19/16) between 8:15 and 10:45. After that and all day Tuesday (9/20/16), you can pick up your packet and schedule at the Center for Teaching and Learning, Gerberding Hall Room 100. TAs participating in the International TA Program workshops on Friday afternoon can get their packets in Mary Gates Hall Commons (11:30-1:15) and in Johnson Hall Lobby (1:15-4:00).

If you have not pre-registered for the conference:
At check-in, we will give you a list of all workshop offerings and their locations.  You can use this list to plan your schedule and find the workshops you would like to attend.
NOTE: When you get to a workshop, please check to see if there is space in the room. If there is space, you are welcome to participate in that workshop. If not, you will need to find another workshop that does have space.

Who should attend the TA/RA Conference?

Workshops at the TA/RA Conference are designed for UW graduate students, including those who are:

  • New to teaching
  • Experienced at teaching, but new to UW
  • Experienced at teaching at UW, but are preparing for a different kind of TA role than they have held before
  • Anticipating an appointment as an RA

Workshops are led by experienced graduate students, faculty, and staff from departments throughout the university. These facilitators draw on their experiences as graduate TAs and RAs. Workshops are designed to provide a forum for discussing effective teaching and/or working in a research setting, allowing you to raise questions and concerns and to interact with workshop facilitators and fellow graduate students.

How do I know if I should take conference for academic credit?

For information on registering for GRDSCH 615 A: TA/RA Preparation to receive academic credit for the conference, please visit Registering for Academic Credit for the Conference.

Is there a fee for attending the conference?

There is no fee for attending the conference. However, if you are registering for one academic credit through GRDSCH 615: TA/RA Preparation, you may or may not incur tuition costs, depending on the number of credits you’re enrolled for already, whether you’re a full time or part time student, and other factors. For more information, see the Office of Planning & Budgeting’s online tool: Tuition and Fees Records.

What can I do if I would like to change my conference registration?

If you know you’d like to change your workshops before registration closes on August 8, you can re-register for the conference and we will delete your first registration record.  You will then receive an updated registration confirmation email.

If you decide you would like to change your workshops after registration has closed (after August 8), you will be able to change your schedule when you come to the conference. After you check in, come to the on-site registration table — and we’ll give you a handout with the schedule and location of all the workshops. Then you can adjust your schedule as you’d like. If you go to a workshop and it’s already full, please go to another section of the same workshop.

What should TAs/RAs do if they cannot attend?

If your department requires you to attend conference workshops but you are not able to attend, please notify your department. If you would like to meet with a CTL consultant to talk about workshop topics you’re particularly interested in and to pick up a conference packet, please email to set up an appointment.

What if Conference workshops conflict with department events scheduled for the same day or time?

Department events take precedence over the TA/RA Conference. Many departments have recommended specific conference workshops for their graduate students to attend. Contact your department to find out which workshops your department recommends.

You are invited to attend as much of the Conference as possible at those times when workshops do not conflict with department meetings or events.

If TAs or RAs miss the conference in September, can they attend another workshop later in the year?

The TA/RA Conference takes place once a year, so graduate students should plan to attend in September even if their appointments don’t begin until Winter or Spring Quarter.  If you are appointed as a TA or RA mid-year and would like to find out more about Conference topics and get some of the materials, please email us at

What should I do if my TA or RA appointment is not yet finalized?

Any graduate student is welcome to attend the Conference with or without a TA or RA appointment. You are also welcome to attend the Conference in future years.

How are new graduate students informed of the Conference?

Departments email their TAs and RAs to let them know about the Conference, what workshops the department recommends, and how to register.  Attached to the department email is a TA/RA Conference invitation letter from the Center for Teaching and Learning.

How does the TA/RA Conference relate to the International TA Program?

The International TA Program begins at the TA/RA Conference and continues during the academic year. The program consists of two parts:

  • International TA Program Workshop sessions at the Conference
  • Ongoing support during the academic year, including workshops for groups of TAs and individual consultations as requested by the TA and/or by the TA’s department.

Who is required to participate in the International TA Program?

The Graduate School requires all TAs who are not native speakers of English, except those who received a Bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution, to participate in the International TA Program. For more information about the requirement, see Graduate School Memo 15.

How can TAs who are not native speakers of English satisfy the spoken English proficiency requirement? 

Proficiency in spoken English may be demonstrated by submitting a spoken English proficiency test score or by passing English 105. For more information, please see Information for TAs who are not native speakers of English.

For other questions, please contact