Module 1: Administrative Information

Module 1 Objectives

To complete this module, please read the Overview, review the Readings, complete the Assignment, and review the Evaluation questions.

During this module, you will:

    • Learn about the University, the Department, and the PWP’s policies, procedures, and culture
    • Define the term, teaching assistant, as it applies to the Professional Writing program
    • Review the three kinds of knowledge necessary for TAs in the Professional Writing Program.

Module 1 Overview

In this module, we will cover administrative information necessary for your TA position through reading existing handbooks, guides, and handouts. Although this may not be the most exciting aspect of our Inquiry Guided TA Training Program, it is vital to have a clear understanding of the policies and procedures that all instructors must follow. As a TA in the Professional Writing Program, you are joining a group of dedicated and dynamic instructors. Becoming part of the team will provide you with resources and additional support.

In addition, it is critical to understand your purpose as a teaching assistant at NC State. Many people have misconceptions about their roles and responsibilities. In this module we will clarify any expectations as well as provide tools to deal with obstacles TAs often encounter (e.g., stress, lack of time).

The Professional Writing Committee defines the three kinds of knowledge teachers of Professional Writing courses need are experiential, conceptual, and pedagogical. These knowledge bases can be acquired and demonstrated in somewhat different ways for the three professional writing courses. The Professional Writing Committee has developed the following policy for teacher qualifications (April 1995).

Knowledge Base 1: Experiential Knowledge

A teacher must have familiarity with the texts, contexts, and practices appropriate to the specific and different emphases in 331,332, and 333. This familiarity may be acquired in two ways:

  • Work experience in an industry, business, or research environment that provides experience with the documents, audiences, and purposes typical of those encountered by engineers, managers, and scientific research personnel. Such experience can include writing, editing, and using these documents.
  • Formal study of the ways writing is used in these contexts. At NCSU, appropriate study consists of the following:
    For 331: ENG 512, Theory and Research in Professional Writing
    For 332: ENG 512, Theory and Research in Professional Writing
    For 333: ENG 515, Rhetoric of Science and Technology

Knowledge Base 2: Conceptual Knowledge

A teacher must have knowledge of the relevant rhetorical and communication theory and research that explain and generalize the specific workplace practices and put them in social and historical context. Such knowledge is usually acquired by formal study. At NCSU, appropriate study consists of the following:

  • ENG 511 Theory and Research in Composition
  • ENG 512 Theory and Research in Professional Writing
  • ENG 515 Rhetoric of Science and Technology

Knowledge Base 3: Pedagogical Knowledge

A teacher must have knowledge of the pedagogical techniques, strategies, and materials appropriate for advanced students in technical, scientific, and business-oriented disciplines. Such knowledge can be acquired in two ways:

  • Inquiry Guided TA Training Program and extensive observation of experienced teachers in ENG 331, 332, and 333 and practical classroom experiences.
  • Prior teaching experience in professional writing. Such experience should be at the advanced (upperdivision) level, not in a community or two-year college.

Module 1 Readings

You may also consider joining the ATTW (Association of Teachers of Technical Writing) listserv at the ATTW site.

This is also a good time to familiarize yourself with the CoAT (Certificate of Accomplishment in Teaching) program’s requirements and offerings as well, as your TA training in Professional Writing works hand-in-hand with this program. Please remember that to complete the CoAT program, you will take the required Introduction to Teaching Workshop, the Teaching Philosophy and Peer Review Workshop, and one additional workshop of your choice. You will sign up for the CoAT program using their registration form.

Module 1 Assignment

Critical self-evaluation is vital to self-improvement. Throughout the IGTT Program please keep a journal, either electronically (on your computer) or via traditional diary format (in a notebook or journal). Most of this exercise is “reflective on action” but some is speculative, since its intent is to make you think of what will happen in the classroom. You may be asked to share parts of your journal with your mentor and/or peers throughout the semester. 

Journal Assignment for Module 1

Post a response to the following questions in your journal and be prepared to talk about it with our group:

  1. What are your biggest concerns about being a TA?
  2. What do you expect from the Inquiry Guided Training Program? From your TA mentor? From your fellow TAs? From other Professional Writing Instructors?
  3. Any questions about policies and procedures?

Module 1 Self-Evaluation

Are you comfortable with the following items?

  • setting up your own website (Wolfware/Moodle)
  • using e-reserves
  • using Webmail
  • ordering textbooks
  • making copies
  • accessing rosters
  • completing course evaluations
  • entering progress reports
  • entering grades
  • other administrative functions