Archive for the ‘Kaneb Center’ Category

Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Awards

Posted on April 24, 2013 in Kaneb Center

On Tuesday, April 16, the Kaneb Center and the Graduate School held their annual awards dinner to honor the 2013 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award winners.  This award honors graduate student instructors and TAs whose teaching demonstrates excellence in the classroom or laboratory.  Chris Maziar, acting dean of the Graduate School, and Kevin Barry, director of the Kaneb Center, presented recipients with their awards following a keynote speech from Daniel Myers, vice president and associate provost for faculty affairs.

grading methods

Visit the press release for more information and the list of recipients:

Graduate Courses in University Teaching and Learning (GRED)

Posted on March 4, 2013 in Kaneb Center

Are you interested in learning more about discipline-specific teaching and learning in the university setting? The university offers short credit-bearing summer graduate courses on university teaching and learning in various fields!  Consider taking one of this year’s courses:

GRED 60612: Effective and Exciting Teaching in Social Sciences and Humanities

GRED 60640: Designing and Teaching Your First Biology or Chemistry Course

GRED 60501: Teaching Engineering Tutorials and Laboratories

GRED 60601: Preparing for an Academic Career in Physics, Math, and Engineering

GRED 60301: Multi-modal Communications: Sharing Your Research with Multiple Audiences

GRED 60642: Active Teaching and Learning

GRED 60610: How to Teach Effectively and Prepare for an Academic Career in the Humanities and Social Sciences

For more information visit : and see the 2013 brochure at

Graduate Student Appreciation Week – Book Giveaway

Posted on February 8, 2013 in Career Center, English for Academic Purposes, Graduate School, Kaneb Center, Uncategorized, Writing Center

In celebration of the upcoming Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week (Feb. 18-22) the Professional Development Team is applauding our graduate students by giving away books at several of our events. A copy of a related book will be presented to four lucky graduate student attendees selected at random. Below are all the events where books will be available, please check our calendar page for the full list of this semester’s professional development events and workshops.

Exploring Career Options

Tue Feb 19, 12:00 – 1:00pm
Location: Flanner 114
Book: Putting Your Science to Work by Peter Fiske

Dissertation Proposal Accepted: What Now?
Tue Feb 19, 3:00 – 4:15pm
Location: 200 Riley Hall
Book: Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day by Joan Bolker

English for Academic Purposes: Forms and Structures for Clearer Writing
Tue Feb 19, 6:30 – 7:45pm
Location: 303 DeBartolo Hall
Book: Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Writers by Nigel Caplan

Grad School Game Plan: Time Management
Thu Feb 21, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Location: Notre Dame Room, LaFortune
Book: Time Management for Dummies by Dirk Zeller

Providing Reasonable Accommodations to Students with Disabilities in the Classroom
Tue Feb 26, 2:00 – 3:15pm
Notre Dame Conference Center, 101-104 McKenna Hall
Book: What the Best College Teachers Do by ken Bain

Public Speaking and Communicating in the Classroom

Posted on November 5, 2012 in Kaneb Center

90% of college students report moderate to high levels of anxiety around public speaking.  As teachers and researchers, graduate students frequently find themselves in public speaking situations.  Here are a few tips to help with public speaking anxiety:

  1. Plan and practice your movement for during your talk
  2. Don’t begin until you’re ready
  3. Practice concepts, not words
  4. Exercise before your talk
  5. Do deep breathing exercises
  6. Warm up your voice
  7. Drop your hands when you aren’t gesturing
  8. Acknowledge your anxiety and address any unrealistic fears
  9. Have a gimmick in each part of your talk
  10. Mingle before your talk to increase your comfort level
  11. If maintaining eye contact makes you nervous, look at the audiences ears instead.

The Kaneb Center will be hosting a worksop titled “Communicating in the Classroom: Tips for TAs” on Thursday November 8th from 9:30-10:45am in the ND room of LaForutune.  This workshop will focus on an introduction to public speaking and teaching techniques that will enhance classroom communication.  While geared towards communication in the classroom, the tips can be translated to all public speaking situations. To register visit

Early Semester Evaluations as Teaching Evidence

Posted on October 4, 2012 in Kaneb Center

Believe it or not the Fall 2012 semester is already half over and now is the time to administer early semester evaluations.  Whether you’re a TA or an Instructor of record, conducting early semester evaluations can help you in a myriad of ways!  For example conducting, analyzing and discussing early semester evaluations may:

  1. Increase student motivation by demonstrating concern for student learning,
  2. Improve teaching abilities through ongoing formative assessment, and
  3. Improve student achievement by addressing student concerns.

These three outcomes may take years to achieve through constant evaluation, analysis and personal assessment but are well worth it.  

Specifically, as a graduate or postdoctoral student there is one more crucial reason to conduct early semester reviews: 


As a student you may have very specific and limited opportunities to demonstrate your teaching abilities during graduate school.  If you’re looking for an academic position, evidence of teaching and student learning is critical.  Early semester evaluations demonstrate your commitment to increasing student motivation and achievement and improving your teaching skills during the semester (as compared to end of the semester evaluations).  These evaluations and any evidence of your teaching abilities are collected in a Teaching Portfolio.  When several evaluations are combined they can demonstrate your commitment to teaching to possible employers.  For example, early semester evaluations can be compared to end of the semester evaluations to demonstrate improvement in the classroom.  If you only teach one course, this is one of the few opportunities to demonstrate your growth in the classroom.  If you have the opportunity to teach multiple years, evaluations from different years can be used to demonstrate improvement in the course, your teaching skills and student performance on a longer time scale.  When all is said and done there is no downside to conducting an early semester review – evidence of improvement, dedication and great teaching can go a long way.

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Interested in learning more about early semester evaluations?

 The Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning has examples of evaluations and many other teaching and learning topics on their website under the resources tab (  

 Interested in learning more about teaching portfolios and teaching / learning evidence? 

There are still a few spots open to this semester’s “Teaching Portfolio Design” series.  See the website for more details and registration.

Three Ways for Graduate Students to Use the Writing Center

Posted on September 4, 2012 in English for Academic Purposes, Fellowships and Grants, Graduate School, Hesburgh Library, International Students, Kaneb Center, Research, Writing Center

Good writers talk about their writing with other writers.  It’s as simple as that.  But finding another writer to talk to sometimes isn’t so simple.  At the University Writing Center, graduate students find attentive listeners and careful readers, ready to offer thoughtful feedback on any writing project.

Here are three ways that graduate students can make use of the Writing Center to help improve their writing.

One-on-One Writing Consultations.  We offer free, 45-minute consultations on any aspect of the writing process–from generating, organizing, and outlining ideas to drafting, editing, and polishing arguments.  Graduate students make use of this consultation service in a number of ways, for example:

  • One-time consultations on fellowship applications, grant proposals, seminar papers, scientific papers, and scholarly articles.
  • Ongoing consultations on longer projects, such as theses, dissertations, and scholarly books.

Our Read-Ahead Service is available for graduate students pursuing extended writing projects. One-time and ongoing appointments can be scheduled with a consultant using our online appointment scheduler.

Workshops. We offer a number of workshops each semester, including:

  • Dissertation Camp, a week-long, intensive writing immersion experience for graduate students at the dissertation or thesis stage. This workshop is offered during Fall Break and Spring Break in partnership with the Hesburgh Libraries.
  • Grant Writing Bootcamp, a week-long workshop focused on developing strong grant proposals, offered in conjunction with the Graduate School Office of Grants and Fellowships.
  • Commenting on Student Writing, a workshop for TAs and faculty who provide written feedback to students on their writing, offered in partnership with the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning and the English for Academic Purposes program.

Resource Library. In the Writing Center, we have a library of print resources on writing, including:

  • Current editions of all major style manuals (MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian)
  • Topic-specific writing guides (e.g. literature reviews, empirical research reports, dissertation project management, etc.)
  • Grammar and usage guides

For more information or to schedule a consultation, visit the Writing Center website.

Like our page on Facebook for updates about Writing Center news and events!

7 Tips for Succeeding as a New Teaching Assistant

Posted on July 26, 2012 in Kaneb Center

As a new TA, you may be wondering how to excel in your new role at Notre Dame. Who better to offer advice than Carrie Rodak (Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences) and Laura Taylor (Psychology and Peace Studies), two TAs with extensive experience who are also serving as Graduate Associates at the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning. Below are their seven tips for a successful start to the semester.

1. Meet with the faculty organizing the course to discuss what is and is not your responsibility as a TA – these expectations will vary significantly between colleges, departments, and faculty.

2. Establish expectations, particularly around grading: Meet with the professor, and any other TAs, early on to establish plans for grading, share rubrics, and/or discuss what happens if students contest grades.

3. Make a game plan and set aside time for your TA duties – this is especially useful if you are paired with other TAs. If you know you’ll be grading homework that’s due every Thursday, set a time every week to complete that task (for example, Friday 1-3pm). If you’re running a discussion section and you need to prepare ahead of time, outline that time in your schedule. Setting these blocks of time in your schedule will promote a routine to help you successfully fulfill your duties as a TA, student, and researcher.

4. Attend the first class—even if you aren’t required. This is a rookie mistake frequently made by TAs who are only responsible for grading and office hours and end up sad because no one comes to their office hours. Students are much more likely to use your office hours and ask for help when needed if they know who you are! Introduce yourself and show them you aren’t some scary robot grad student. For example, one undergraduate student told Carrie, “I’m so happy that you are a ‘normal person’” – undergraduates can have some silly misconceptions of graduate students so address that by introducing yourself on the first day. This will make you much more approachable while demonstrating that you care about their education.

5. Lead a lecture: Ask for a copy of the syllabus in advance, review the topics, and schedule a meeting with the professor to discuss the possibility of leading a lecture or facilitating an activity for the class.

6. Seek student feedback: Even if you get formal Course Instructor Feedback (CIF) reports for the course, prepare a short questionnaire (see Kaneb Early-Semester Feedback Workshop) and ask students to provide feedback that you can incorporate into your teaching portfolio.

7. Attend a departmental orientation session or the university-wide Preparing to TA at Notre Dame orientation session offered by the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning.

Stay tuned for more from Carrie and Laura as they contribute additional blog posts and lead workshops for TAs throughout the fall semester!

Using the Summer to Your Advantage

Posted on July 12, 2012 in Career Center, Fellowships and Grants, Kaneb Center, Research

Summer is a great time to explore opportunities for Professional Development. A recent article on The Chronicle of Higher Education suggests the following ways you can develop over the summer:

  1. Identify grants and fellowships appropriate to your career stage and your research interests – try using the Graduate Fellowships Database and Pivot. Mark deadlines on your calendar and begin drafting your proposals. Make an appointment with the Associate Program Director of Grants and Fellowships.
  2. Read widely in your field. Ask faculty for journal recommendations and subscribe to the table of contents for the most important journals related to your work. Identify journals that you should strive to publish with in the coming years.
  3. Set up a group of students that want to work towards a common goal – whether it’s a reading group, a presentation skills group, or a dissertation writing group, a built-in network that keeps each other accountable and gives feedback is invaluable.
  4. Explore different career avenues. Complete informational interviews with people in a number of different fields that interest you. Get connected with the alumni organizations here at Notre Dame and your undergraduate institution.
  5. Find opportunities to gain teaching experience outside the university. Volunteer with a local museum, institute, or school. Think creatively about ways you can share your knowledge and skills with the public.
  6. Prepare (or polish) your job search materials: CV/resume, cover letter, dissertation abstract, teaching portfolio, etc. Get in touch with the Career Center and the Kaneb Center for advice.

There’s still plenty of summer left – use it to explore the Professional Development checklist!

Ethics Café Announced

Posted on June 14, 2012 in Career Center, Graduate School, Hesburgh Library, International Students, Kaneb Center, Reilly Center, Research

The Graduate School and Reilly Center are teaming up to host an Ethics Café six times per academic year beginning fall 2012. Cafés seek to encourage conversation, debate, and interaction. The Ethics Café at Notre Dame will offer faculty, students and staff a space to learn about ethical issues pertaining to responsible conduct of research, professional conduct, engagement with the public, and other worldly matters. Be on the lookout for more information!

Fundamentals of Course Design – back by popular demand!

Posted on May 10, 2012 in Kaneb Center

The Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning will be offering a repeat of the workshop series “The Fundamentals of Course Design” for graduate students and post doctoral students from 9:30-11:30, June 5-7 2012.  This three-part series focuses on the theory and practice of designing courses for enhancing student learning.  Participants will receive an introduction to the importance of thoughtful course design, suggestions for creating and evaluating well-defined goals, and best practices for constructing a syllabus.  Each workshop during the series will offer structured time for participants to develop learning goals and assessment materials specific to a course of their choosing.  To maximize this learning experience, we highly recommend that you come with a course in mind and attend all three sessions.  Registration is capped at 30 participants and is quickly filling up so register today!  For more information and registration please visit