Girl smiling with students in classs

Graduate Teaching Assistantship

Graduate Teaching Assistantship Program

Students with a GTA receive award-winning training in the art of teaching at colleges and universities—a vital skill set for an array of professional positions and for those interested in an academic career.

The Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) program in the Department of Communication Studies is open to qualified M.A. and Ph.D. students. The program is largely responsible for teaching SPCM 200: Public Speaking, is considered one of the most outstanding introductory communication courses nationwide, and has become a model in communication education for other institutions in the United States.

Additionally, GTA positions defray the costs of graduate education, making access to graduate school possible for people from all backgrounds. Consult the CSU Graduate School Assistantship Benefits, Resources, and Policies webpage for stipend and benefits information.

Instructor Training & Mentoring

GTAs are required to participate in a three-part training program that prepares them for excellence in the classroom as professional educators. This thoughtful and effective framework includes:

  1. Pre-Semester Orientation: Each fall, new GTAs arrive for a week of intensive training – more than 22 hours – prior to the first day of class and gain the necessary knowledge, skills, and answers to succeed as a university instructor in SPCM 200.
  2. Coursework in Communication Pedagogy: GTAs are required to take SPCM 675: Speech Communication Pedagogy their first semester. The course builds upon the pre-semester training to develop you as an educator in general, and a Communication Studies instructor, in particular.
  3. Ongoing Mentoring in Teaching: GTAs are mentored on an ongoing basis in all facets of university teaching beyond their first semester. This mentorship with our award-winning faculty takes many forms, such as:
  • Annual observations by distinguished faculty
  • Written assessments of teaching strengths and weaknesses
  • One-on-one conversations in teaching with class-specific faculty
  • Access to university teaching resources through The Institute for Teaching and Learning
Thomas Dunn talking to students

In addition to extensive teacher training, GTAs are also regularly assessed on their teaching skills via student course evaluation and grade distribution data, and they are required to complete a teaching portfolio.

  • Annual class visits and observations by department faculty
  • Assessment of student course evaluation data
  • Assessment of grade distribution data
  • Completion of a Teaching Portfolio as a department graduation requirement

How to Apply

All applicants to the graduate program (M.A. Thesis Track A, M.A. Deliberative Practices Track B, and Ph.D.) are automatically considered for Graduate Teaching Assistantships.

This makes the selection process quite competitive. Therefore, to receive full consideration for graduate teaching assistantships, applicants should be sure all required application materials are complete and submitted on time. Applicants with previous teaching experience or expertise should be sure to emphasize those details in their application materials.

Graduate Certificate in Teaching

Graduate teaching assistant speaking in classroom

Graduate students may also elect to participate in additional teacher trainings so they can graduate with a Graduate Teaching Certificate, which is offered by The Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT) at Colorado State University. The Institute for Learning and Teaching advances research, promotes effective practices, and provides direct support to faculty and students to enhance learning, teaching, and student success.

The Graduate Teaching Certificate program expands and enhances department opportunities for graduate students interested in pursuing teaching as a professional career and recognizes this accomplishment at graduation and on university transcripts. Historically, graduate students in the Department of Communication Studies have been among the most engaged participants in this program and report the certificate has been invaluable in securing teaching positions after graduation.

The program offers a self-directed course of study, so you can focus on the aspects of teaching in which you are most interested, whether you want fundamental knowledge about post-secondary teaching, or want to gain expertise in specific areas. You can enroll in the certification program at any time. You will create a relevant and meaningful course of study that is typically completed in one year.

The general requirements and instructions for earning a certificate are outlined on the TILT website.