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KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– A new program to help graduate teaching assistants become better educators is being established at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville with a grant from Alcoa Foundation.

UT-Knoxville Chancellor Bill Snyder said 240 graduate teaching assistants, or GTA’s, will be coached by UT faculty members who have been recognized for their teaching and scholarly accomplishments.

“UT-Knoxville seeks to move to the national forefront in graduate teacher assistant training and improve the quality of undergraduate education,” Snyder said.

The GTA program co-directors are Dr. Jan Allen, associate professor of child and family studies, and Dr. Schuyler Huck, professor of counselor education.

GTA’s will be divided into 10-member groups which meet weekly with a faculty mentor to discuss specific teaching responsibilities and philosophies and share classroom ideas and experiences, Allen said.

UT officials also plan a future campaign to share and implement the program as a model for other universities, she said.

“We believe UT-Knoxville will be the place that others think of whenever the topic of successful GTA programs is discussed,” Allen said. “UT will demonstrate how to make an innovative, effective GTA training program into one of the strengths of a large research university.”

Huck said GTA’s sometimes think that research is more important than teaching. The UT program will offer them a new perspective, and make them more effective both as educators and researchers, he said.

“GTA’s need to know that nearly every good teacher engages in scholarly inquiry,” Huck said, “and almost every scholar looks forward to the benefits that contact with students and teaching brings to his or her scholarship.”

The program is funded by a $120,000 grant to be paid over three years by the Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Foundation.

“Alcoa Foundation is pleased to support such a worthy educational endeavor and establish a strong partnership with the University of Tennessee-Knoxville,” said Kathleen W. Buechel, Alcoa Foundation vice president.


Contact: Dr. Jan Allen (615-974-6273)

Dr. Schuyler Huck (615-974-5131)