School of Art and Art History
Graduate Teaching Assistant Handbook (rev. 7/2010)


Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Responsibilities

GTA Selection, Conditions for Renewal, Termination

Instructional Supervision - GTA Meetings

Instructional Supervision - Observations

Salary and Benefits

SA+AH Undergraduate Program Mission Statement

WARP and the Undergraduate Curriculum in a Nutshell

Student Demographics – UF and SA+AH

Professionalism and Ethical Behavior

Course Syllabi

Hours of Work and Office Hours

Presentation of Student Work - Display Cases, Bulletin Boards, Galleries

Grading Philosophy Across the Curriculum

Class Meetings

First Day – Expectations and Suggestions

Taking Care of Administrative Tasks

Creating a Positive Classroom Environment

Setting Course Expectations and Standards

Mid-term Grades


Recommended Reading for Undergraduate Curriculum

Nuts and Bolts…how do I….where do I….?

...Meet with students - Graduate Teaching Assistant Resource Room
...Get Class Lists – How to get them, when they’re updated and available
...Manage Overrides and Adds to Your Class List
...Order Textbooks
...Reserve CIRCA Computer Labs
...Lab Policies
...Schedule Critique Rooms
...Photo Copies, Policies – at SA+AH and Target Copy
...Classroom Supplies, Policies for Each Area
...Digital Media + Photography Cage, FAD 333
...Homework – Standards for Studio Courses
...Art Supplies
...Communicate - Email Policies
...Incomplete Grade Contracts
...SA+AH Office Staff
...SA+AH Maps
...Training and Professional Development
...Critique Formats and Forms
...Lesson Plan Template
...Architecture and Fine Arts Library, FAA 2nd Floor
...The Visual Resources Center
...Slide or Data Projectors ...
...Online Courseware

...Developing your instructional style
...Additional Resources

You have a graduate teaching assistantship.  Congratulations, but what does this mean?


Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Responsibilities

GTA responsibilities typically include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • utilizing organizational skills to communicate expectations/ideas clearly;
  • stimulating class discussions and student participation;
  • stimulating student’s critical thinking and creative abilities;
  • showing concern for students;
  • using appropriate learning examples;
  • evidencing enthusiasm for teaching;
  • providing clear and concise syllabi and project sheets (past syllabi are on file in the SA+AH Office);
  • following supervisor’s instructions;
  • adhering to accepted standards of professional behavior;
  • teaching required learning objectives;
  • grading fairly and accurately;
  • being aware of the UF grade posting policy;
  • knowing how to report students’ final grades online and on time ;
  • maintaining a clean and efficient classroom;
  • providing appropriate health and safety information to students regarding materials, practices, and environments;
  • utilizing the least toxic materials that will accomplish the artist’s purpose;
  • holding office hours;
  • attend scheduled GTA meetings.


 GTA Selection, Conditions for Renewal, Termination


Each media area will meet to discuss their graduate students’ communication skills and abilities and advise the SA+AH (The Director, Graduate Advisor,and GTA Foundations Supervisor,) of their staffing preferences.

Circumstances that affect final awarding of GTAs are as follows:

Budget guidelines, which determine the number of courses and sections that can be offered.

Undergraduate course needs – based on undergraduate course sequencing.

Faculty class assignments, which are sometimes effected by enrollment figures.


All GTAs will be evaluated by the GTA Foundations Supervisor based on scheduled observations and participation in GTA meetings, quality of student work, and on-going dialogue about teaching practice.  Based on the observations, recommendations will fall into one of the following categories

GTAs who are excellent and should be reappointed

GTAs who have done a good job but not an outstanding job.  These GTAs should be reviewed with new applicants.

GTAs who have done a poor job and should not be reappointed.


Notification of Teaching Assignment, Course-meeting Times:
Graduate students will be notified of their teaching assignment by a formal appointment letter.  Ideally, notice will be provided prior to the end of the previous semester.  HOWEVER, all teaching assignments are subject to change.  Do not rely on on-line registration information for classroom schedules and times; always confirm your teaching assignment in the SA+AH main office the week prior to the start of classes.  Classrooms, class times and even classes are subject to change!

Instructional Supervision – Scheduled GTA Meetings


GTA meetings are scheduled on Friday afternoons.  These meetings function to provide direct supervision and accountability for the 2000 level foundation courses.  The GTA meeting creates a place for discussion about teaching practice and issues relevant to your role as a teacher.  Meetings are designed to build reflective teaching practices, problem solve classroom or curricular issues, as well as address concerns relevant to the current semester through lectures, guest speakers or workshops.

Past GTA meetings have focused on grading standards across the SA+AH curriculum, building interdisciplinary dialogue as it relates to teaching foundations, and building lectures for studio courses.

GTA meetings are mandatory; schedule your work to avoid conflicts.


Instructional Supervision - Observations

Early classroom observations are designed to help GTAs examine their teaching for purposes of self-improvement.  Attention to the improvement of teaching may be the most important step we can take toward maintaining and improving the quality of education SA+AH students receive.  The early observation, which should be completed by the eighth week of the semester, is designed to be explicit, fair and useful during the semester and will be followed by the traditional end of term faculty evaluation.  The early observation will focus on teaching behaviors and practices over which you, the instructor, have some control.  A copy of the evaluation form is available at GTA Form 
Graduate Teaching Assistant Evaluations (.doc)

GTAs must sign-up for the following two appointments with the Foundations Coordinator at the beginning of the semester

  1. Pre-visitation email conference, at least one week prior to the classroom visitation. The Foundations coordinator will confirm the observation date, time and location and request any course material pertinent to the observation class visit.
  1. Class visitation – schedule your entire class period using Sakai

Arrange the classroom visitation for a lecture, demo or critique day.  This will provide the opportunity for you to be seen at your best. Sign up sheets for observations are posted at the Foundations Coordinators office, FAD 237

  1. Post-class visitation meeting – 30 minutes.  Schedule one week after the class visitation.

During this meeting we will discuss the class visitation.


Salary and Benefits

Graduate Assistants United (GAU) at the University of Florida represents all graduate assistants employed by the university.  GAU bargains for tuition waivers, health benefits, improved working conditions, and salary increases, and GAU represents graduate assistants in workplace disputes and protects their rights as state employees.

The current contract, union bylaws, salary, benefit and other pertinent information is available on the GAU web site and it is worth your time to read through the document.

As this information is subject to change, please confirm details at
or with the Director of Graduate Studies in the SA+AH office. 


Where do my responsibilities as a GTA fit into the School of Art + Art History
As a GTA in the School of Art + Art History, you are responsible for teaching a course within our foundation program, which occurs during the first two years of the undergraduate program.  The course you teach is one of many our undergraduate students will take in a sequence designed to prepare them for upper level course work.  Understanding where in the sequence your course is located will help you better prepare to teach your students.  Keep in mind that students must apply for their major by the end of their sophomore year for admittance to advanced study and much of the work completed in your assigned course will become part of their admittance portfolio.      


SA+AH Undergraduate Program Mission Statement

At the University of Florida, we are educating some of the most gifted and academically capable art, design, art history, art education and museum studies students for positions of leadership in their professions.  To this end, our programs provide broad-based instruction in visual arts disciplines, through a strong curriculum, as well as through professional experiences, such as exhibitions and internships.

It is our conviction that the best place for the education of artists is in the challenging academic climate found in large comprehensive universities, so that the art, springing from excited and curious minds, is created in the context of ideas.  In support of this belief, our curriculum is designed to provide our students with a rich mix of experiences, from traditional to contemporary. We strive for excellence in all of our programs of study, while providing enough flexibility to allow students to select either a general major or a focused professional curriculum. Our faculty, through a strong commitment to teaching, and with continuing professional involvement as artists, designers and scholars, offer students the benefits of their scholarship and professional experience.

The University of Florida's School of Art and Art History has the size (more than 40 faculty, 600 undergraduate majors and more than 100 graduate students), the diversity of programs and degree offerings, and the facilities to constitute a fully configured art school within the largest university in the southeast. The school shares the College of Fine Arts' mission of serving as an educational, professional and cultural resource in the visual arts for the campus, community, state and region. The undergraduate and graduate students of the school are both contributors to and beneficiaries of that commitment.

Our comprehensive curriculum prepares students for advanced study or potential employment in art related fields as diverse as museum operations, advertising, information graphics and production, and arts management. Bachelors degree, master's degree programs and a PhD in Art History are offered, and the School is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD).

WARP and the Undergraduate Curriculum in a Nutshell


Semester One:
WARP (Workshop for Art Research and Practice) is a nine credit hour lecture and studio course for incoming freshman art majors.  WARP is team taught by faculty who expose beginning students to a wide variety of contemporary art theory and practices. 

Designed as an exciting and challenging course, WARP exposes students to a variety of styles, approaches and debates in contemporary art.  Freshman art majors study how art functions in personal, historical and contemporary contexts, how various cultures have historically engaged in creative pursuits, and how art is affected by identity, politics and popular culture.  Through lectures, independent research, readings and discussions WARP students study the work of artists and explore the role art plays in representing and reinforcing cultural, religious or personal ideology.

Semesters Two and Three:
FOUNDATION CURRICULUM   Core Concept Studios  
The first year curriculum blends a progressive approach to conceptual development though the WARP immersion with a more traditional experience in foundation studies. 

Foundation Concepts

Course Title

+ Perceptual Drawing Concepts……….

-Perceptual Drawing

+ Two-dimensional Design Concepts…

-Painting: Color and Composition
-Printmaking: Color and Composition

+ Three-dimensional Design Concepts

-Ceramics: Form, Space, Surface
-Sculpture: Shaping Form and Space

+ Four-dimensional Design Concepts…

-Digital Imaging
-Time Based Media

+ Photographic Concepts…………….

-Visual Literacy

Semesters Three and Four:
Core Concept Studios 
The second year curriculum, instigates more intensive conceptual and technical instruction within specific areas of study. 

Studio Area

Course Title

+ Two-Dimensional

-Painting: From Observation
-Painting: Investigations in black and white
-Printmaking: Figure Ground
-Drawing: Figure drawing
-Drawing: Movement and Motion
-Graphic Design: Visual Dynamics
-Graphic Design: Letterform
-Creative Photography: Figure and Ground
-Creative Photography: Image, Order and Idea

+ Three-dimensional

-Ceramics: 3D Conceptualization
-Ceramics: Figurative Ceramics
-Sculpture: Sculptural Appetizers

+ Four-dimensional

-Digital Animation

Student Demographics – UF and SA+AH


The University of Florida is a major, public, comprehensive, land-grant, research university.  It is the state's oldest, largest and most prestigious university and ranks 15th among National Public Universities ( U.S. News & WR, September 2003)

School of Art and Art History (SA+AH) Ranked 21 in the Nation for MFA’s, by U.S. News and World Report, 2003.  There are 550 students currently in SA+AH undergraduate and graduate programs.

SA+AH offers the following degrees:

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Studio:  Ceramics, Drawing, Digital Media, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Photography
Bachelor of Arts in General Art Studies (Visual Art Studies)
Bachelor of Arts in Art History
Bachelor of Arts in Art Education
SA+AH offers only 1 minor - Art History


The total enrollment for the university in 2006 totaled 49,864 students (34,431 undergraduates with 14,664 graduate students).

  • The ratio of women to men is currently 52:48. 

Geographic Profile
The majority of undergraduates (87%) are in-state students. Approximately 2,700 international students representing over 100 countries, with the remainder representing all 49 of the other states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are enrolled. 

Ethnic and Racial Background
Asian/Pacific Islander 6.8%
African American 7.2%
Hispanic 9.6%
White, Non-Hispanic 77%

Freshman Academic Credentials
            UF's 2002 Incoming Class has an average 3.92 GPA and 1300 SAT score.
UF's freshmen retention rate of 93 percent is among the highest in the U.S.
UF ranks second among public institutions in the U.S. for the number of National Merit Scholars enrolled and ranks fourth among all colleges and universities in the U.S. for the number of National Merit Scholars enrolled.

How do I fulfill my teaching employment responsibilities?

Professionalism and Ethical Behavior 



Prepare For Your Class
Being a professional means being prepared and doing your homework as a teacher.  Know your syllabus and class content and if you do not know something start researching now!  Identify key concepts of the course and repeat them over the semester to yourself and your students, tie these concepts into the work at hand.  Remind your students of what they are learning and how it relates to art in general.  Being a professional also means organizing your lectures and keeping to the topic.  Use appropriate visual examples and handouts and if you need help ask!  When you are leading a discussion group, let your students lead.  Prepare questions in advance to stimulate critical thinking

Clarify Your Expectations
Your syllabus should address your expectations as clearly as possible.  Do you expect subject matter mastery or a general understanding of the topic?  How many assignments, how are the grades weighted, what is the attendance policy, what does an ‘C’ mean?  Many of these issues are addressed further in this handbook, but they are issues that demand your thoughtful consideration prior to the start of the semester.

Minding Your Responsibilities
You expect your students to come to class and time and so should you.  Regularly being five or ten minutes early for class, lets your students know that you start class on time, and gives you the opportunity to handle any preliminary issues with individual students prior to class.  Lead by example; it is your job!

Other teaching responsibilities include holding office hours, responding to email or phone messages, filling out paperwork (incompletes, withdrawals, grades, evaluations, etc.), making necessary accommodations, and minding students’ academic integrity just to name a few. 

Treating Students with Respect
The teacher-student relationship is formal and focused on the students.  Your professional detachment will help reinforce the reality that you encounter students because you have a job to do.  Your behavior in the classroom and with your students should focus on that goal.  Students may and frequently do ask questions about other instructors.  Your professional impressions are appropriate, but any discussion about personal information is inappropriate.

Treating your students with respect also includes getting to know your students, learning their names, their strengths and weaknesses as learners.  As studio instructors it is expected that you are mindful of your conduct even as you deliver individualized assistance.  Always behave in a manner consistent with your authority.


Battling the ‘Friendship’ Temptation
It is a natural inclination to want to be liked by your students.  However, it is important for you to understand the difference between being a friendly professional and treating students as friends.  One recognizes that the teacher-student relationship is a structure of authority and one does not.  As a teacher you are required to evaluative, your students work in a fair and objective manner.  Your ability to do this with professional detachment is undermined by personal or informal relationships. 

Communicate!  Communicate with your students and with your faculty.  Be proactive, and deal with difficulties as soon as they occur.

Course Syllabi


Graduate Teaching Assistants are required by the university to prepare a syllabus for each class.  A course template details the goals, objectives and topics for each course will be provided.  The GTA should not veer from this template.  The syllabus shall be distributed during the first class meeting, and a copy of the syllabus for each class must be placed on file in the School of Art and Art History office each semester by Friday of the second week of classes.  This is required by SACS and our accreditation agency, NASAD.

Specific guidelines required on the syllabus are provided each semester along with other course support material.

Hours of Work and Office Hours

Each GTA is expected to work 13.33 hours per week to fulfill the assistantship requirements.  In addition to conducting classes during the assigned course schedule GTAs are required to hold one regular scheduled office hour each week and attend a one-hour GTA meeting.  GTAs must notify students in class, preferably in writing on the course syllabus, at the beginning of the term of their office hours.

Office Hours
Adapted from Unruh, 1986
The GTAs office is an important extension of the classroom.  This is one of the few places where the protective shield of impersonality at the University can be broken.  GTAs should hold one office hour per week.  This can be held in the GTA Resource Room (FAD 209) or lab as needed.  GTAs have office hours but students are not necessarily required to come in during those times.  Usually office hours are scheduled before the semester begins and announced to the students during the first week.  One alternative is to check with the students about convenient times before scheduling.  Some professors may ask that you schedule your office hours at times that alternate with theirs, thus increasing the time that one or the other of you is available to students. 
How do you get students to come in?  Let them know frequently that they are welcome.  Invite them individually.  A comment on a paper (e.g., "Please see me about this.") brings about a 75% response.  Stress the importance and value of office visits both to you and to them.  Most GTAs deal with freshmen and sophomores who are not accustomed to personal contact at the university.  If those first few who come in have positive experiences, the word will spread.  Some TAs make at least one office visit a course requirement.  Others find that posting the answers to quiz or homework problems on or around their door is an effective means of attracting students to office hours.

Helping Students Individually
Adapted from Unruh, 1986
Getting students to come to your office is not always a problem; you may find that many students will come in for many different reasons.  You may find yourself helping a student with the material for your course, with the logistics of a course that contain unfamiliar material, or with a personal problem.  You should be aware of ways to facilitate a helpful tutorial or counseling session:

  • Try to be as approachable as possible.  The best thing to do when a student comes in during your office hours is to make her/him feel welcome.  It is very easy to make students feel that they are intruding; it takes only a little bit of care to create a relaxed, pleasant atmosphere in which communication is natural and easy.
  • Rely on the student to tell you what s/he has come to see you about.  You may suspect some hidden problem, but you should not press the student to disclose it.  You can help students if they actively request your help, but your responsibility need not extend further than their requests.
  • Listen to your students when they come to your office.  Give them your undivided attention.  This is all part of making students feel welcome and encouraging communication.  The best way to show that you are listening is to ask questions—it also shows students that you find their concerns important.  Students often fear that they are wasting your time, by listening attentively and responding thoroughly, you can help allay their anxiety.


Finally, you should realize that you won't always be able to provide the answers or information that are needed.  If you are helping a student with the material for your own course, there is nothing wrong with saying, "I don't know, but I can find out for you."
In a situation in which a student is asking for more personal counseling, remember that you are not always the best-qualified person for the student to be talking to about a problem.  If you feel that the student needs more specific advice, you may be able to suggest someone who can provide it. 

  • If it is an academic issue, refer the student to Dana Myers, Undergraduate Adviser. 
  • If it relates to personal issues refer the student to, Peabody Hall, 392-1575.  When in doubt you should always consult the faculty member with whom you are working, especially if you feel that a student may be having serious emotional difficulties or some other kind of serious problem.

While not as many people will take advantage of office hours as could, on occasion you may encounter students who are overly-dependent on you either for assistance with course material or for companionship and counsel.  It may be necessary to set limits with these students.  You might try encouraging them to tackle assignments on their own before coming to you for help, or explain to them that you have limited time to spend with each student and must, therefore, restrict the frequency and duration of office visits.  As indicated above, seriously troubled students who seek your assistance may be referred to the University's professional counseling services.


Presentation of Student Work - Display Cases, Bulletin Boards, Galleries


The exhibition of student work in the display cases and bulletin boards is frequently the only way fellow teaching assistants and faculty will be able to see your student work.  This increases communication of ideas and concepts among faculty and graduate instructors.  In addition, the Foundation coordinator and area faculty use this exposure to evaluate teaching effectiveness.  Non-participation reflects poorly on your willingness to participate in the discipline of teaching.

There are glass paneled display cases on the first and third floors of FAC.  These can be reserved by instructors for the display of student work.  See Bonnie Rutledge in the Art Office, Room 108, to sign up to use the display cases.

The flat screen monitor in the FAC lobby can present time based student work, please check with the SA+AH office for file format requirements.

The display case in the basement of FAC is available for instructors of sculpture classes to display student work.

There are bulletin boards with sign up sheets on the first and third floors of FAD.  Instructors can sign up for two week blocks throughout the term.

Classes in Digital Media Art can present student work through course blog's, provide the Foundation coordinator and area faculty with access to the blog for frequent review of student work.


Additional Student Gallery Space
On Campus

University Gallery
The University Gallery is located across from FAB and is host to the Annual Student Juried Art Exhibition and MFA shows in the spring.

Focus Gallery
The Focus Gallery is a University of Florida student and faculty gallery space located on the first floor of FAC.  The Focus Gallery hosts one alumni show per year and MFA shows in the spring.  Students interested in exhibiting work in The Focus Gallery should contact Amy Vigilante at the University Gallery in advance of desired show date.

WARPhaus Gallery
Located at WARPhaus, in a renovated warehouse the gallery provides exhibition space for undergraduate and graduate students and curated exhibitions.  A call for proposals is shared via the SA+AH listserv each semester.

Reitz Union Gallery
Mon-Fri 9-9, Sat-Sun 9-5 (and when Reitz Union is open to the public)
Admission is free
The “gallery” of the J. Wayne Reitz Union provides exhibition space for the artwork of University of Florida students, faculty, staff and alumni and presents educational and cultural exhibitions to the University of Florida community.  The Reitz Union Board (RUB) Arts Committee and the Office of Student Activities administer the gallery.  Information about exhibitions and applications for exhibition space are available in Room 330 of the Reitz Union.

Off Campus

Oak Hall School
The Oak Hall School Art Center Gallery is located in Oak Hall Elementary School at 8009 SW 14th Ave. Gainesville, FL 32607.  The Oak Hall Gallery provides exhibition space for college level students to show their work.  Students interested in showing work at Oak Hall should contact Robert Ponzio at 352-332-3609 or email


Grading Philosophy Across the Curriculum

A             Excellent – work throughout the semester has met and exceeded the stated objectives exhibiting a thorough understanding and manipulation of concepts covered in class.  Student has taken initiative and consistently sought additional information about artists presented in slide lectures, examining examples and relating that information to the research at hand.  Written work is a thoughtful assessment of artists and exhibitions and examined in context of the course.  Class attendance in is unblemished; participation in discussion and critiques is considered, pertinent and useful.  Participation also includes working through the entire class period and exhibiting a curious and intelligent approach to class work.

B            Above Average – good work throughout the semester, showing a thorough understanding of concepts covered.  Presentation and craftsmanship are good and supportive of the work.  Active participation in critiques and class discussion.  This work lacks only in “exceeding” as mentioned above.

C            Average – class work meets stated objectives of projects, exhibiting a grasp of the concepts explored although lacking a more comprehensive understanding and execution of those concepts.  Class attendance, participation and enthusiasm are strong.

D            Below Average – class work does not meet project objectives, is unfinished or only partially explores pertinent topics.  Presentation is poor and class assignments or class time is missed seriously hampering success.

E            Failing – not attending class, not completing assignments and not communicating with the instructor.

Class Meetings

GTAs are required to meet with their classes at the scheduled time and for the full class time.  Under no circumstances may class times be changed. 

  • In the event of emergency or illness, GTAs must email, the Foundations Coordinator and Area Faculty member ASAP so a cancellation notice is posted.  Be prepared to provide your name, class number, class location, date and time of the course to be cancelled. 

  • If the GTA knows in advance that a class period need be missed,  the GTA must discuss this with the Foundations Coordinator in advance.  If the absence is approved, the GTA must arrange for another GTA to cover the class. This arrangement must be confirmed via email to, the Foundations Coordinator and Area Faculty member. 

First Day – Expectations and Suggestions

[adapted from  Tools for Teaching by Barbara Gross Davis; Jossey-Bass Publishers: San Francisco, 1993.]

The first day of class sets the tone for the rest of the term.  It is natural for both students and instructors to feel anticipation, excitement, anxiety, and uncertainty.  To pique students' interest and anticipation, convey your enthusiasm for the material and stimulate students' curiosity about topics that will be covered during the term.  To reduce students' anxiety and uncertainty, try to create a relaxed, open classroom environment conducive to inquiry and participation, and let students know what you will expect from them and what they can expect from you and the course.  The following suggestions, intended to help you get your class off to a good start, address the three important tasks of the first day: handling administrative matters, creating an open friendly classroom environment, and setting course expectations and standards.

Visit the classroom before the first meeting.  Locate and figure out how to work the lights, the blinds, and the ventilation.  Check any audiovisual equipment (microphone, slide or overhead projector) you will be using.  Find out how to obtain help if a bulb burns out or a piece of equipment malfunctions.  Get comfortable speaking in the room and see how well your voice carries.  Make sure your handwriting on the chalkboard is legible from the back row.  (Source: Johnson, 1988)

Build a sense of community in the classroom.  In general, students learn more and work harder in classes that spark their intellectual curiosity and allow for active involvement and participation.  For the first day, plan an activity that provides opportunities for students to speak to one another or solve problems.  Students also tend to work harder and respond more positively if they believe the 'instructor views them as individuals rather than as anonymous faces in the crowd (Wolcowitz, 1984).  From the start, then, make an effort to get to know your students and express your interest in working with them during the semester.

Address students' concerns.  Students enter a new class with several questions: Is this the right course for me?  Does the teacher seem competent and fair?  How much work will be required?  How will I be evaluated?  Use the first day to help your students understand how the class will serve their needs, and demonstrate your commitment to help them learn.

Set the tone for the rest of the semester.  Greet students when they enter the classroom.  Start and finish class on time.  Encourage questions, and give students the opportunity to talk.  Stay after class to answer questions, or invite students to walk with you back to your office.

Make the time worthwhile.  Once administrative tasks are completed, plunge into substantive material.  This signals to students that you are serious about making their time worthwhile and that you expect progress to be made at each session.

Expect some awkwardness.  All teachers, especially beginning instructors, feel a twinge of apprehension before the first class.  Do your best to assume a confident attitude.  Keep in mind that to your students your nervousness is likely to be perceived as energy and enthusiasm.  Arriving early on the first day of class and talking informally to students may help you relax.  (Source: Marincovich and Rusk, 1987)


Taking Care of Administrative Tasks

Write the course name and number on the board.  This message will alert any students who are in the wrong classroom to leave before you begin.  (Source: Hilsen, 1988)

Take attendance.  Call the roll.  Refer students who want to add the course to the Undergraduate Adviser, Dana Myers in FAC108.  

Review any prerequisites, if any, for the course.  Let students know what skills or knowledge they are expected to have and whether alternate experience or course work will be accepted.  Is help available for those who do not have all the prerequisite skills?  If computer work is part of the course will training be provided?

Define your expectations for student participation.  Besides turning in all studio work, essays and papers on time, what do you expect of students during class? 

Tell students about campus policies on academic honesty.  State your expectations, and let students know what you regard as cheating and impermissible collaboration. 

Hand out and discuss the course syllabus.  One faculty member has students read the syllabus and then forms groups to identify questions about the course or the instructor (Serey, 1989).  Hearing these questions on the first day lets an instructor know immediately what concerns are uppermost in students' minds.

Invite students to attend your office hours.  Be sure students know where your office is and encourage them to stop by with questions and course-related problems.  If a student provides you with a letter detailing the need for accommodations.  Speak with the GTA supervisor to ensure proper accommodations can be and are met.

Review safety precautions.  If your course requires equipment use, review safe practices for using equipment and supplies, and discuss emergency procedures.  Show students how to use equipment safely and appropriately.  (Source: Johnson, 1988)

Review emergency procedures.  Let students know what to do in case of fire, tornado, earthquake, evacuation, or other emergency.

Bring copies of the required texts to the first class meeting.  Know which stores besides the campus bookstore stock the texts.  Are used copies available?  Is the textbook on reserve in the library?


Creating a Positive Classroom Environment

Introduce yourself to your class.  In addition to telling students how you wish to be addressed, say something about your background: how you first became interested in the subject, how it has been important to you, and why you are teaching this course.  Convey your enthusiasm for the field and the subject.  For many students, the instructor's enthusiasm about the course material is a key motivator for learning.  (Sources: "The First Day of Class," 1989; Wolcowitz, 1984)

Ask students to fill out an introduction card.  Have students indicate their name, campus address, telephone number, e-mail address, year in school, and major field.  You might also ask them to list related courses they have taken, prerequisites they have completed, other courses they are taking this semester, their reasons for enrolling in your course, what they hope to learn in the course, tentative career plans, and something about their outside interests, hobbies, or current employment.  Make sure that students who later enroll in the course complete an introduction card.

Begin to learn student's names.  By learning your student's names, you can create a comfortable classroom environment that will encourage student interaction.  Knowing your students' name also tells them that you are interested in them as individuals.  As you call roll, ask for the correct pronunciation and how the student prefers to be addressed.  If your course enrolls fewer than forty students, call the roll for several class meetings to help you learn names.  During the term, call students by name when you return homework or quizzes, and use names frequently in class.  Ask students who are not called upon by name to identify themselves.  Here is a variety of other strategies for learning students' names:

Photographs: Consider using your cellphone or digital camera to help you learn student names.  In a single shot, you may be able to photograph four or five people.  The act of posing for a picture breaks the ice and creates an informal, relaxed environment.  If you do not have access to a camera, ask students to submit a small photograph of themselves on the class blog.  Place these photos on students' information sheets or introduction cards.  Photographs are helpful in recalling a student before an appointment, or later on, when you are asked to write a recommendation for a student, you can refer back to the picture to jog your memory.

Name cards: For a seminar class, use the United Nations model of place cards in front of each student.  In a studio or lab course, post students' names above their workstations.

Seating chart: Ask students to sit in the same seats for the first few weeks, and prepare a seating chart.  Alternatively, block out on a piece of paper general locations within the room and write the names of students inside the appropriate blocks, instead of labeling exact seats.  Try to memorize four or five names at each class session.

Name game: In small classes, ask the first person to give her name.  The second person gives the name of the first person and his own name, and the third person gives the names of the first two people followed by her own name.  The chain continues until it returns to the first person, with the instructor preferably near the end.  (Source: Scholl-Buckwald, 1985)


Give students an opportunity to meet each other.  Ask students to divide themselves into groups of three to five and introduce themselves.  Alternatively, have students group themselves by residence halls or living groups so that they can identify nearby classmates to study with (Heine and others, 1981).  Or go around the room and ask all students to respond to one question, such as "What's the one thing you really want to learn from this course?" or "What aspect of the course seems most appealing to you?”  Such questions are more interesting than those about students' majors or year in college.

Ask students to interview each other outside of class. If your course has a writing component, you might ask students to write a brief description of their partner. The class could agree on the interview questions beforehand, or each student could devise his or her own items. (Source: Scholl-Buckwald, 1985)

If your class is small, conduct a "people search." Students receive a sheet of paper with five to ten statements and a space for a signature near each statement. The statements should be relevant to students in your class and can be a mix of personal and academic attributes: "Someone who works and goes to school," "Someone who has taken (a related course)," "Someone who has already purchased the textbooks," "Someone who is left-handed," "Someone who knows the order of the planets" (or other content-related question). Students are given ten minutes to obtain as many signatures as possible. You can spend a few minutes debriefing to generate a class profile.  Or you can compile the information for distribution at the next class meeting so students have a written record about their classmates. (Sources: Erickson and Strommer, 1991; Weisz, 1990)

Break students into small groups. An English professor divides the class into groups of six and gives each member of the group one line of a six-line poem.  Students are asked to reassemble the poem and discuss what the poem means.  A studio art professor divides the class into groups of six and asks each group to come up with a list of ten most important artworks (or artists) in history.  After ten or fifteen minutes, the groups' responses are placed on the board for discussion and interpretation.  (Source: Erickson and Strommer, 1991)

Encourage students to exchange phone numbers. If all students agree, ask them to write their name, telephone number, and electronic mail address on a plain sheet of paper and make copies of this roster for them. Encourage students to call their classmates about missed classes, homework assignments, and study groups. Or have students complete 3" x 5" cards and exchange cards with two or three classmates. (Source: "The First Day of Class," 1989)

Setting Course Expectations and Standards


Discuss the objectives of the course.  As specifically as possible, tell your students what you wish to accomplish and why, but also ask for what they want to learn from you and what sorts of problems they would like to tackle.  Be sure to acknowledge all contributions–your attentiveness to students' ideas will encourage student participation throughout the semester.  (Source: McKeachie, 1986)

Ask students to list the goals they hope to achieve by taking the course.  Have students, in small groups or individually, list three to five goals in the form of statements about knowledge, skills, appreciations, interests, or attitudes.  Students can also rank their goals in terms of how difficult they may be to achieve.  Use these lists to identify your class's interests and anticipated problem areas.  (Source: Angelo and Cross, 1993)

Describe how you propose to spend class time.  How will sessions be structured?  How will discussions be organized?  Will a specific time be set aside for questions, or may students ask questions as they arise?  Should questions requiring a lengthy response be saved for office hours?

Give your students ideas about how to study and prepare for class.  Study strategies are especially important in an introductory class.  Give examples of questions students might wish to think about or strategies for approaching the material.  Tell students how much time they will need to study for the course, and let them know about campus academic support services.

Ask students to do a group exercise.  Select a key word from the course title and have students generate word associations or related ideas.  Put their responses on the board and use the list to give a thematic overview of the course.  (Source: Wright, 1989)

Work through a problem or piece of material that illustrates the course content.  Begin to teach students how to participate in your class.  Engaging students in actual work during the first class session gives them an idea of what your class will be like.  You might make a brief presentation of a core idea, pose a typical problem, or ask students to form working subgroups.  (Source: Scholl-Buckwald, 1985)

Give an assignment for the next class session.  By moving immediately into the first topic, you are indicating to students that the course is worthwhile, well organized, and well paced.  Make sure that the assignment is ungraded, however, because students may be adding or dropping your course during the first week or so.  (Sources: Johnson, 1988; Povlacs, 1986)

Ask students to write their reactions to the first day.  Take two minutes at the end of class to have students jot down unsigned comments about what went well and what questions they have about the course.  (Source: McKeachie, 1986)

Mid-term Grades

A mid-term progress grade, given to each student in a private conference by mid-semester goes a long way toward solving attendance problems or lax work habits.  Freshmen and sophomore students are developing and understanding of the correlation between their efforts and their grades.  A brief meeting with students during class-time allows you to give them their approximate grade and attendance figures as well as advice for how to improve their performance.  


Final Grades

The University of Florida uses an online grade entering system. >self service >grades

On the last day of scheduled classes the online grading system is available, you will receive an email from the Foundations Coordinator reminding you of the location and deadline for filing grades.   Grades are due by noon Friday of finals week.  Please test your access at this time each semester; this will avoid any technical problems during the hectic grading period.

When it is time to file your grades follow all of the prompts to file your grades.  This is a simple and secure system.  Your identity will be verified, when your class list pops up, each students name will be listed.  There is a pull down menu for appropriate grade, and further verification and printing options.  Follow the instructions and you will receive a message informing you that your grades have been filed. 

Recommended reading for undergraduate curriculum


Visual Literacy:
Rudolph Arnheim. Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye. Berkeley, CA, University of California Press, 1974.
Arthur Asa Berger, Seeing is Believing: An Introduction to Visual Communication,  2nd edition. Mountain View, CA, Mayfield Publishing Company, 1998.
John Berger, Ways of Seeing. London, British Broadcasting Corporation, 1987.
Donis Dondis, A Primer of Visual Literacy. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1973.

Two-dimensional Design:
Roy R. Behrens, Design in the Visual Arts. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1984
Frank Cheathan, Jane Hart Cheathan, Sheryl A. Haler, Design Concepts and Applications. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983
Jonathan Block and Gisele Atterberry. Design Essentials, 2nd edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall, 1999.
Donald W. Graham. Composing Pictures. New York, NY Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1970.
Edward Hill, The Language of Drawing. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966
Gyorgy Kepes. Language of Vision. Chicago, IL, Paul Theobald, 1944.
David A. Lauer and Stephan Pentak. Design Basics, 5th edition. Orlando, FL, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 2000.
Jack Fredrick Myers, The Language of Visual Art: Perception as a Basis for Design. Orlando, FL, Holt Rinehart and Winston, Inc. 1989.


Color Theory:
Josef Albers, Interaction of Color. New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 1963.
Farber Birren. Light, Color and Environment. New York, NY, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1982.
Frans Gerritsen, Theory and Practice of Color. New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1975.
Johannes Itten, The Art of Color. New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1974.
Albert H. Munsell. A Grammar of Color: A Basic Treatise on the Color System of Albert H. Munsell. New York, NY Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1969.
Rosemany and W. Kilmer. Designing Interiors. New York, NY, Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich, 1992.
Harald Kuppers, Color: Origin, Systems, Uses. New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1972.
Harold Linton, Color Model Environments. New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985.
Albert Munsell, A Color Notation. Munsell Color, 1981.
Richard B. Norman, Electronic Color. New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990.
John F. Pile, Interior Design. New York, Harry N. Abrams, 1988.
Paul Zelanski and Mary Pat Fisher. Color. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall, 1989.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention.
New York, HarperCollins Publishers,1996.
John Briggs, Fire in the Crucible: Understanding the Process of Creative Genius. Grand Rapids, Phanes Press, 2000.
David Bohm, On Creativity. New York, Routledge, 2000.
John Dewey. Art As Experience. New York, NY, Capricorn Books, 1958.
Howard Gardner, Art, Mind and Brain: A Cognitive Approach to Creativity.  New York, Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1982.
 Howard Gardner, Creating Minds:An Anatomy of Creativity Seen Through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Grapham, and Gandhi, New York, Basic Books, Inc., Publishers,1993.
Howard Gardner, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, New York, Basic Books
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.  New York, Anchor Books,1998.
Michael Le Boeuf, Imagineering. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1980.
George Prince. "Creativity and Learning As Skills, Not Talents." Philips Exeter Bulletin, 1980.
Denise Shekerjian, Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas Are Born.  New York, NY,
Penguin Books, 1991.
Doris B. Wallace and Howard E. Gruber, editors, Creative People at Work. New York,
Oxford University Press,1989.

Concept Development:
James L. Adams,Conceptual Blockbusting. Reading, MA, Addison-Wesley Publishing, Inc.,1986.
Edward de Bono, Lateral Thinking. London, England,Ward Educational Limited, 1970.
Malcolm Grear. Inside/Outside: From the Basics to the Practice of Design. New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993.
Mary Frisbee Johnson. Visual Workouts: A Collection of Art-Making Problems. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall, 1983.
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago, Il, University of Chicago Press, 1981.
Ben Shahn. The Shape of Content. Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press, 1957.
Roger Von Oech, A Kick in the Seat of the Pants. New York, Harper and Row, 1963. 
Roger Von Oech, A Whack on the Side of the Head. New York, Harper and Row,1986.

Critical Thinking:
Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing about Art, 6th edition, Addison Wesley Longman, 2000.
Terry Barrett, Criticizing Photographs: An Introduction to Understanding Images, 2nd edition.
Mountain View, CA, Mayfield Publishing Company,1996
Henry M. Sayre, Writing About Art, 3rd edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice-Hal., 1999.
Howard Smagula, editor. Re-visions: New Perspectives of Art Criticism. Englewood Cliffs, NY, Prentice Hall, 1991
Amy Tucker, Visual Literacy: Writing About Art.. McGraw-Hill, Burr Ridge, IL 2002.

Three-Dimensional Design:

Oliver Andrews, Living Materials: A Sculptor's Handbook, Berkely, CA, University of California Press, 1988.
Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans. Maria Jolas, Boston, MA. Beacon Press, 1969.
Frank Ching, Architeccture: Form, Space, and Order, 2nd Edition. New York: Van Norstrand Reinhold, 1996.
Peter Dormer and Ralph Turner. The New Jewelry: Trends and Traditions. London, England, Thames and Hudson, Ltd., 1985.
Suzanne Frantz. Contemporary Glass: A World Survey from the Corning Museum of Glass. Abrams, NY 1989
Peter Lane, Ceramic Form: Design and Decoration, revised edition. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc. 1998.
Susan Grant Lewin, One of a Kind: American Art Jewelry Today. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1994.
John Lidstone, Building with Wire. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1972.
Martha Dreyer Lynn, Clay Today: Contemporary Ceramists and Their Work. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art and San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1990.
Ezio Manzini. The Material of Invention: Materials and Design. Cambridge, MA, The MIT Press, 1989.
Bonnie J. Miller. Out of the Fire: Contemporary Glass Artists and Their Work. San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 1991.
Nicholas Penny, The Materials of Sculpture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.
Charlotte Speight Make it in Clay: A Beginner’s Guide to Ceramics McGraw Hill
Arthur Williams, Sculpture: Technique, Form, Content. Worcester, MA, Davis Publications, 1993
Wucius Wong, Principles of Form and Design. New York, NY, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993.
Charles Wallschlaeger and Cynthia Busic-Snyder. Basic Visual Concepts and Principles for Artists, Architects and Designers. Dubuque: William C. Brown, Publishers, 1992.
Paul Zelanski and Mary Pat Fisher. Shaping Space: The Dynamics of Three-Dimensional Design, 2nd edition.  Orlando, FL, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1995.


Time Design:
Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin Remediation: Understanding New Media  Prentice Hall
David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction New York, McGraw-Hill, 1997.
Roselee Goldberg, Performance: Live Art Since 1960.  New York: Harry N. Abrams,1998.
Stephen F. Gordon. Making Picture-Books: a Method of Learning Graphic Sequence. New York, NY, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1970.
Renee Riese Hubert and Judd D. Hubert. The Cutting Edge of Reading: Artist's Books. New York, NY, Granary Books, 1999.
Lincoln F. Johnson, Film: Space, Time, Light and Sound. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc. 1974.     
Stephen D. Katz. Film Directing, Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen. Studio City, CA, Michael Wiese Productions, 1991.
Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics. New York, Harper Perennial, 1994.
Robert McKee, Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screen Writing. New York, HarperCollins, 1997.
David Ross, Bill Viola.. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1998.
Herbert Zettl. Sight, Sound, Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics, 3rd edition. Belmont, CA,
Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1999.

Book Arts:
Johanna Drucker, The Century of Artists' Books, New York, NY, Granary Books, 1995.
Shereen La Plantz. Cover to Cover. Asheville, NC, Lark Books, 1995.
Joan Lyons. Artists' Books: A Critical Anthology and Sourcebook. Rochester, NY, 1985.
Keith A. Smith, Structure of the Visual Book. Fairport, NY: The Sigma Foundation, Inc. 1992.
Keith A. Smith, Text in the Book Format. Fairport, NY: The Sigma Foundation, Inc. 1991.
Christopher Vogler. The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters. Studio City, CA, Michael Wiese Productions, 1991.


Bernard Chaet  The Art of Drawing, Wadsworth, 1983
Brian Curtis   Drawing from Observation , New York, NY:  McGraw-Hill, 1991
D. Wakeham, ed.  Mendelowitz's Guide to Drawing, Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace, 1993
Betty Edwards  Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain , Tarcher Press, 1999
Nathan Goldstein  Figure Drawing: The Structural Anatomy and Expressive Design of the Human Form, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003
Stephen Rogers Peck  Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist
William Berry Drawing the Human Form: Methods, Sources, Concepts, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1994 
Dan Wood.  Craft of Drawing: A Handbook of Materials and Techniques, Orlando, FL: Harcourt 1988
Clint Brown and Cheryl McLean.  Drawing from Life, Wadsworth, 2003
Kimon Nicolaides, The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study, Houghton, 1990
Claudia Betti and Teel Sale, Drawing, A Contemporary Approach, Wadsworth, 1996
Rudolf Arnheim, The Power of the Center, A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts, University of California Press, 1988

Steven Heller and Pomroy Design Literacy, Allworth Press, 1997
Steven Heller Teaching Graphic Design, Allworth Press
Tim McCreight, Design Language, Brynmorgen Press
Ellen Lupton, Thinking with Type, Princeton Press


Bernhard J. Suess Mastering Black-and-White Photography   Allworth
London, Upton, Stone, Photography

Conduct, Sexual Harassment, Diversity, Grievances
Student Conduct Code

Students enjoy the rights and privileges that accrue to membership in a university community and are subject to the responsibilities that accompany that membership. In order to have a system of effective campus governance, it is incumbent upon all members of the campus community to notify appropriate officials of any violations of regulations and to assist in their enforcement. The university's conduct regulations are available to all students on the Internet and are set forth in Florida Administrative Code. Questions can be directed to the Dean of Students Office in 202 Peabody Hall, 392-1261.

Relations Between People and Groups
One of the major benefits of higher education and membership in the university community is greater knowledge of and respect for religious, racial, cultural and other groups. Indeed, genuine appreciation for individual differences and cultural diversity is essential to the environment of learning.
Another major aspect of the University’s life involves sexual relationships. Sexual attitudes or actions which are intimidating, harassing, coercive, or abusive, or that invade the right to the privacy of the individual are not acceptable. Organizations or individuals that adversely upset the delicate balance of communal living will be subject to disciplinary action by the University. Only in an atmosphere of equality and respect can all members of the university community grow.

Sexual Harassment
Specific information related to the University of Florida’s sexual harassment policy is located in the Graduate Student Handbook, as well as this website:

All instructors in the School of Art and Art History are required to attend a Sexual Harassment Mini Conference which are held throughout the year and online.  You will receive information regarding registration through your email account.  A confirmation of your attendance and participation will be provided to SA+AH.



Sexual harassment can occur in all types of circumstances and relationships:

  • Between or among individuals of different sexes or of the same sex.
  • In relationships of unequal power (for example, between supervisor and employee, faculty member and student, employee and job applicant, and between graduate assistant and student) including when the person in the less powerful position harasses a person in a more powerful position (ie: contrapower).
  • In relationships of equal power (for example, between fellow employees or fellow students).

Examples of Sexual Harassment 


Sexual harassment can take many forms, but it generally falls into three categories: verbal, written/pictorial or physical. Defining characteristics of sexual harassment are that the behavior is unwanted and tends to be repetitive in nature.
Some examples are:

  • Suggestive or inappropriate communications, notes, letters, or other written materials
  • Suggestive or inappropriate photographs, videos, computer images, slides, graphics, cartoons or drawings
  • Sexual innuendo, comments, or remarks about a person's clothing, body, or activities
  • Suggestive or insulting sounds
  • Whistling in a suggestive manner
  • Humor and jokes about sex that demean either gender
  • Sexual propositions, invitations, or pressure for sexual activity
  • Implied or overt sexual threats
  • Suggestive or obscene gestures
  • Patting, pinching, or other inappropriate touching or brushing against the body
  • Attempted or actual kissing or fondling
  • Coerced sexual intercourse
  • Sexual assault

Persons who engage in sexual harassment may be subject to civil or criminal action in addition to University disciplinary action.

Nuts and Bolts…how do I….where do I….?

Graduate Teaching Assistant Resource Room 


The Graduate Teaching Assistant Resource Room is room 209 in FAD.
The GTA Resource Room contains a collection of textbooks relative to undergraduate studies, course templates and course assignments.  The resource room is a central place on campus to hold your office hours, meet with students, colleagues or prepare for your classes.  The GTA Supervisor will provide you with the current combination for the office.


Class Lists – How to get them, when they’re updated and available

You may access your course list through the MyUFL website.

MyUFL > Self Service > Manage Class Rolls

Be aware that class lists change rapidly the first week of class, and you will need to review your online class list prior to the last add/drop day.  You can also create a class email list at this link, it will be automatically updated if enrollment changes occur.  As the semester progresses here are couple of things to pay attention to:

    • Check the roster and verify which students in your classroom are or are not on the list.  Let the students know if they do not show up on your list because this is a registration problem on their end, let the student know so they can investigate.


  • Make a list of the students who are attending but do not show up on the roster, verify their names on your newest class roster.  If an attending student does not show up on the roster advise them to see the undergraduate Adviser, Dana Myers asap.  Students must be registered to attend and receive credit for a class.


Overrides and Adds to Your Class List


All overrides and late adds for foundation courses are handled by the Undergraduate Advisor, Dan Myers. If a student comes to you for a course override, refer them to the undergraduate advisor.

Academic Calendar

Here is the link to the UF academic calendar, this has class start and end dates as well as reading days and school holidays. Grades for GTA's are due by Noon Friday of Finals Week.



Texbook ordering has been consolidated in the School of Art and Art History Office. Below are the textbooks used for the foundation courses, students can purchase the neweste edition online or at area bookstores.  Each GTA will receive a ‘Desk Copy’ at no cost prior to the start of a new semester.  In addition, each of these texts is on permanent reserve in the art library for student use.   








Liz Wells




Make It in Clay: A Beginner's Guide to Ceramics

Charlotte Speight, John Toki



ART2757 ART2773 ART2622
DIG2131 DIG2282 ART2621

Launching the Imagination,

Mary Stewart




Drawing from Observation

Brian Curtis




Drawing the Human Form

William Berry



GRA 2111

Design Language

Tim McCreight




Thinking with Type

Ellen Lupton




Color: A Workshop Approach

David Hornung

McGraw Hill


Key Policy

Graduate Teaching Assistants may request keys to assigned SA+AH facilities from Oaklinana in the art office.  All university keys must be returned to the SA+AH Office when student graduates.

If a GTA does not turn in a key that was checked out, a hold may be placed on the GTAs record until the key is returned.

Some classrooms are locked by keypads rather than keys.  Area coordinators are in charge of changing and distributing the codes for these rooms.

CIRCA Computer Labs

Lab Policies

CIRCA operates Windows, Macintosh, and Unix computers that are available to UF students, faculty, and staff.  These computers are connected to the Internet and other computer networks and can be used for general- purpose computing.  CIRCA provides seven computer classrooms and supporting computer lab areas in five separate facilities for the use of all University of Florida students, faculty and staff.  All seven classrooms are available for reservation by instructors of UF courses.  In order to use CIRCA facilities you must have a Gatorlink account.  Each lab offers IBM- compatible PCs and/or Macintosh computers and pay- per- page laser printing.

Current lab hours, Equipment and Software can be confirmed at

Architecture 118
(352)392- 1009
Architecture 118 is located on the first floor of the Architecture building facing Inner Road.  Broward Hall is across Inner Road from the lab. There is a Mac classroom that can be reserved,
4 - iMac : 2.66 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo : CD-R/RW and DVD-R/-RW/+R/+RW drive, 300GB harddrive, 2 GB RAM, IEEE 1394 (Firewire) and USB2 Interface
16 - 1.86Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo : CD R/RW and DVD+/-R/Dual Layer drive, 17" monitors, 250GB harddrive, 2 GB RAM, IEEE 1394 (Firewire) and USB2 Interface
5 - Color scanners with Negative and Color Slide capability

CSE  E211
(352)392- 3713 (PC LAB)
The CSE (Computer Science and Engineering) Building is located directly behind the Hub.  CSE faces Newell Dr. and is across the street from the Clock Tower.  The lab is one the ground level in room 211.
CSE E211 consists of 33 scanners, four black/white laser printers, 1 color laser printer, 1 color plotter, two Grove line printers, 11 Macintosh computers, and 213 IBM- compatible PCs, and ten walk-up laptop ports.  There is an IBM- compatible classroom available for reservation.  CSE E211 is open Mon.- Thu. 7:30a.m - 2:00a.m., Fri. 7:30a.m. - 5:00p.m., Sat. noon - 6:00p.m., Sun. noon - 2:00a.m.

Norman Hall G514
(352)392- 0906
Norman Hall is located on the east side of 13th street (U.S. 441) across from Mallory Hall.  The computer lab is on the ground floor underneath the Education Library.
Norman G514 consists of 17 scanners, three black/white laser printers, 1 color laser printer, and 63 Macintosh computers.  There are two Macintosh classrooms available for reservation.  Norman G514 is open Mon.- Thu. 7:30a.m. - 10:00p.m., Fri. 7:30a.m.- 5:00p.m., Closed Sat., Sun. noon- 8:00p.m.

Bldg 105 Room 110
(352)392- 3272
CBD 110, otherwise known as building 105, is located behind MVP Sports Bar and Grill which is across University Ave. from Library West.
Bldg. 105 is a single classroom lab.  It has 24 pod units and one instructor station.  All are IBM- compatible PCs.  There is one black/white laser printer.  The classroom is available for reservation.  Bldg. 105 is open Mon.- Thur. 8:00a.m. - 6:00p.m., Fri. 8:00p.m.- 5:00p.m.

Weil Hall 408
(352)392- 2431
Weil Hall is located across the street from the Florida Gym on Stadium Road. Weil 408 consists of seven scanners, three black/white laser printers, one color laser printer, and 72 IBM- compatible PCs.  There are two IBM- compatible classrooms available for reservation.  Weil 408 is open Mon- Thu 7:30a.m. - 10:00p.m., Fri 7:30a.m.- 5:00p.m.


Critique Rooms


The critique room in the sculpture area in the basement of FAC is generally used for display and critique of undergraduate and graduate sculpture classes.  If anyone outside of the sculpture department would like to reserve this space for a critique they need to contact Celeste Roberge in FAC B3,

FAC 302
This mediated critique room is available only for Digital Media Art courses and can be reserved through the DMA Listserv.

FAD111 and FAD113
The critique rooms in FAD are located on the first floor in Rooms 111 and 113.  These rooms are available for critiques throughout the semester.
Policy for Using Critique and Seminar Rooms in Fine Arts D           

  • Sign up outside room 111 or 113 FAD with your name and contact information.  There are sheets for the entire semester.
  • Pick up key from Bonnie Rutledge in FAC 108
  • Use the room according to the posted guidelines—never leave student work in the critique rooms, they must be ready for the next instructor. Only reserve the room for actual course time.
  • Lock the room.  Be sure that you have followed guidelines and leave the room the way you found it.  YOU MAY NOT PAINT THIS ROOM.
  • Return the key to Bonnie in FAC 108.


Photo Copying Policies – at SA+AH and Target Copy

Regular copying: Graduate Teaching Assistants may use the photocopier at the art office on the 1st floor of FAC for instructional purposes.    There are copiers for personal use in all UF libraries including the Fine Arts Library on the second floor of FAC.  These copiers take copy cards which can also be purchased in the libraries on campus.

Large copy jobs must go to Target Copy, however, they require a signed purchase order from the Director.

If you are providing a hard copy of your syllabus, and it has been approved by the Foundations Coordinator, go to the art office.  Fill out a Purchase Order Request for Target Copy.  Include your name, course number and quantity needed on the form.  This must be signed by the Director prior to taking the syllabus to Target and generally takes one full day before it is approved, plan for this extended time line.  Once approved, take to Target and they will produce the copies.

Target Copys campus location is 22 NW 13th St, (352) 376-3826; FAX 375-2552,  There is also a target copy located at 3422 SW Archer Road, Gainesville, FL 32608, (352) 372-1171, FAX 372-2491,

Alternative approaches, to save paper and your time include providing a downloadable syllabus through a class blog,the e-learning system courseware or email.


Classroom Supplies, Policies for Each Area

Student lab fees, which are allocated for purchasing classroom supplies for some courses are not available for the first two weeks of classes.  Courses that are dependent on material purchases from these fees should be scheduled to function without these supplies for the first several weeks of classes.

PLAN AHEAD - If you need materials for your class you must discuss your needs with your area faculty supervisor in advance.  No purchases can be made by graduate student instructors


Art and Technology + Photography Cage, FAD 333

Digital and Photographic equipment is available for student classroom use at the cage.  Equipment checkout is limited to students enrolled in digital media and photography classes.  Policies are posted at the cage.

Homework - Standards for Studio Courses 


Undergraduate students can expect at least 3 hours of homework for every three hours of studio class time.


Art Supplies

Familiarize yourself with local art suppliers.  Figure out what your students need to buy, what you can scavenge and what your area will provide.  Supply lists exist for some classes and supply packs are available for some classes.  If the course you’ve been assigned does not have a supply list speak withyour area faculty, veteran GTAs or the Foundations Coordinator to check the course history.  Do consider the cost of materials. Requesting a portable hard drive when a USB key drive would suffice is not a reasonable request; some students may not be majors and may only use the equipment once.  However, listing one item as required and the other as recommended is reasonable.

Introduce yourself to the various owners/clerks of stores and alert them to the needs for your course.  Store managers appreciate a detailed supply list with your name, the course number and name, expected enrollment, quantity of materials per student and contact information.
Central Florida Office Supply, 112 NW 6th Street, Gainesville
Michaels Craft, 3644 SW Archer Road, Gainesville
Harmons Photography, 4111 SW 35th Terrace, Gainesville  

Email Policies


GTAs are required to maintain a Gator-Link account.  All communication from SA+AH is delivered to this account, it must be checked frequently.
GTAs must refrain from discussing student’s grades via email.

Incomplete Grade Contracts


GTAs are required to discuss incompletes with the Foundations Coordinator prior to any grading decision.  Incompletes should only be used when the student is doing passing work (“C” or better) in the course at the time of the arrangement.

An "I" grade should be assigned only after the instructor and the student have explicitly arranged, before the final exam for the course, to have the student complete exams or other required course work after the semester is over.   

The "I" arrangement should stipulate all conditions for completing the course and earning a letter grade, including a specific expiration date for the arrangement and designation of the grade to be assigned if all the work is not completed by that expiration date.

The deadline for making an "I" arrangement may be extended, at the instructor's discretion, only if there is a valid, documented reason why it was not possible for the student to meet the initial deadline.  Coursework must still be completed as soon as possible after the deadline.  Poor performance on the final exam is not, in itself, a valid reason for an "I" arrangement.  Further, the instructor should make sure that he or she changes the "I" grade to the appropriate grade after the arrangement has been fulfilled or has expired.  "I" arrangements should be recorded on a standard form, kept in a file in the department's central office, and monitored by the faculty member and staff, so that the appropriate grade changes will be made in a timely fashion.  This practice will be particularly useful if the instructor is on leave or has left UF permanently.

The only time a letter grade should be changed to an "I" is when the instructor has made an error in recording the grade- for example, when he or she has an "I" arrangement on file for the student but has forgotten and has recorded an "E" instead.  The College will approve such grade changes only when a clear instructor error has occurred and when the grade change is submitted with a copy of the "I" arrangement dated prior to the final exam period for the course.

The Incomplete grade contract is available for download

SA+AH Office Staff

under revision

SA+AH Maps


Fine Arts Complex:  FAA, FAB, FAC, FAD

WARPhaus:  Warp studio,Warp Gallery and 4Most Gallery

Yon Hall: Graduate Studios

Norman Hall: Art Education and Graduate Studios




A variety of professional development opportunities is available to you.  Workshops to improve your teaching and workshops to learn or improve your understanding of various software applications and technologies are available at no cost.  Check out these locations for more information.

Teaching Center, University of Florida    Menu> Resources for Teaching Assistants TA Development
1.  Graduate Teaching Assistants Orientation (required of all new TAs)
Each year an orientation is held for new graduate instructors, this two day orientation is required of all new GTAs.

Graduate Teaching Assistants Orientation (dates for Fall 09 and Spring 10 are available at the above link)
Reitz Ballroom

2.  UF's Teaching Handbook (downloadable .pdf)
            Part One: The GTAs Role on Campus
            Part Two:  The GTA as Teacher
            Part Three:  Resources for Teaching and Learning 
3.  Ongoing workshops – free but registration required
Recent topics
Digital Gradebooks & Grade-A-Gator
Basic Principles of Learning
Creating a Faculty Homepage & Syllabus Using Netscape
Creating and Maintaining a class Website with Dreamweaver
Creating PDF Documents
Leading Discussions
Mind-mapping with Inspiration
Emerging Classroom Technologies
Planning Your Lecture
PowerPoint I: Using MS PowerPoint XP in the Classroom
WebCT I: Basic WebCT Course Design

CITT, Academic Technology, University of Florida    Menu> 
1.  CITT focuses on faculty use of technology for teaching and learning with less emphasis on skills development. 
2.  Ongoing workshops – free but registration required
            Digital Presentations: The Basics
            Dreamweaver I - A Beginner's Exploration of Dreamweaver MX
            Flash I: Overview and Introduction to Basic Animation
            Matching Objectives with Tools and Techniques
            WebCT Vista I: Getting Your Feet Wet


CIRCA’s Computer Training Program, Academic Technology, University of Florida
1.   CIRCA's Computer Training Program (CTP) is offered in cooperation with the University of Florida's Reitz Union Leisure Course Program.
Through this program participants are introduced to various software packages, and many find it to be an economical and time-effective way to learn various computer ski


Critique Formats and Forms

Here is one critique example.  More are available in the Resource Room.

1.      Critiques  - How does this work?
            ·Begin by carefully observing all the work, walk up to it, engage it

2.            Mentally begin describing the work to yourself
·            Be descriptive, use your new art vocabulary
·            Are the lines sharp, thick, jagged, heavy, choppy, vertical, diagonal, fuzzy, thin, curvy, graceful, smooth, straight?
·            Is there a focal point or center of interest?  Does your eye return to a particular area?
·            Is there actual or implied movement?  How does your eye move around the piece?

3.            Critique the strengths and weaknesses of the work on technical and formal levels
                  ·   Are there visual elements that seem irrelevant or unnecessary? 
·            Is the presentation of the work appropriate?  (craftsmanship)
·            Does the work solve the assignment, how?
·            Is transformation and risk taking evident?
·            Is image treated appropriately in regard to scale, mark-making, composition, line quality?
·            Is work unique, original, exciting, insightful?
·            Can you experience the work fully, or is something preventing you from this? What?
·            What could be done to make work clearer, more exciting, more original?  What needs work?
·            What is successful?

 Lesson Plan Template


Project Name




Objective of assignment


Vocabulary and concepts to cover


Materials needed by instructor for Demo


Media/Technical support materials needed by instructor


Materials needed by student


Lecture (notes, powerpoint)


Slides or visual resources


Field trip/outside event/community calendar


Class Schedule (How many hours and class days will the project take?)


First Meeting    


2nd Meeting


3rd Meeting





Architecture and Fine Arts Library, FAA 2nd Floor

As an instructor, you may put materials on reserve for your students to read or view in the library or for a restricted period of time. You may also make materials accessible online for your stduents. This enables you to make a timely essay or pertinent video available to all your students outside of class. Course Reserve Guidelines are available at the circulation counter in the Fine Arts Library. Material for reserve can be property of the library, university or your own personal materials. Go to this webiste for instructions:

Library tours are available by advance registration.  All students who have completed WARP have received an introduction to library research.  However, if you feel your students might benefit by a research tour specific to your area the librarians are happy to facilitate the workshop.

The Visual Resource Center



Monday - Friday:  8am - Noon, 1pm-5pm


Fine Arts Building C

Room 118




Contact Information:


The Visual Resources Center houses a growing, comprehensive collection of over 300,000 fine art and architecture slides. The slide collection covers a broad range of media, periods, and geographic areas.
Slides are arranged by country, the artists are then listed alphabetically according to their medium: sculpture, painting, textiles, graphic design, photography, installation, video, performance, etc. . Architecture slides are arranged by period: ancient, medieval, renaissance and modern, etc. and then arranged alphabetically by country, city and by location of the site.

The collection also contains maps, furniture, decorative arts, costumes, as well as musical instruments, landscape architecture, historic preservation and much more.

ArtStor provides an excellent database of works of art from around the world can be accessed from the Architecture and Fine Arts Library homepage.


Slide or Data Projectors

Some classrooms have slide projectors or data projectors installed.  You should verify what equipment is in your assigned classroom prior to the start of the semester.  If you need equipment not already in your classroom, check with your area faculty supervisor first, most studio areas have ‘floating’ equipment available.  If not then follow the guidelines below for requesting the equipment.

Office of Academic Technology (AT)
1012 Turlington Hall, 1st Floor
(352) 392-0371

The Office of Academic Technology (AT) provides resources, technical assistance, and equipment to assist the University Of Florida faculty, staff and students.  The three general divisions of AT include support for media services, instructional technology and teaching/learning.  The photography department


offers complete photo services to the University community including onsite photography, color slides from artwork, duplicate slides, digital slide output, and more.

  • Instructors of classes can check out audio visual equipment from Classroom Support, Audio Visual Services, room 1215, (352) 392- 0371, 


  • Portable equipment, including data projectors, laptop computers, DVD/VHS players, document cameras, audio tape and CD players, video cameras, and tripods, is available for checkout.  Instructors must pick up equipment not more than one hour before class, and return it not more than one hour after class each day.  Reservations are not required, but can be taken up to one week in advance.  A UF ID card must be presented when picking up equipment.
  • Instructors are advised that if they are not physically able to transport the needed equipment to their place of instruction or simply for convenience, they may, by prior arrangement, have a student from their course or under their supervision, or staff member from their department pick up and/or return the equipment on their behalf. Instructors and their departments are financially responsible for equipment checked out in their name at all times. Supervising faculty members may arrange for equipment check-out for thesis/dissertation defenses. Only a single piece of each type of equipment may be checked out, to insure equipment availability for all instructor


  • Equipment available from Audio Visual services includes laptop carts with projectors, mac in a bag, DVDs and VCRs, overhead projectors, laserdisc players, camcorders, digital cameras, CD players, video projection units, screens, microphones, and PA systems.
  • Instructors who reserve a classroom are expected to inform CIRCA when they will not need the facility by calling Daniel Delgado at (352) 392-2342 at least a day in advance.  If it is a last-minute cancellation, call the computer lab directly or inform the lab operator in the lab. The Campus Directory and the CIRCA Computing Facilities handout (available in any lab or at the UF Computing Help Desk in E520D CSE) list phone numbers for each computer lab.

Online Webspace
Online webspace can be used to create class websites of your students work or exchange class information.  Remember websites are not password protected.  No personal information about students or grades should be posted.

About Grove
Grove is operated by the Center for Instructional and Research Computing Activities (CIRCA) at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
Accounts on this computer are available to all University of Florida students.  You can apply for a grove account at the CIRCA office in E520 CSE.
The Internet address for grove is

Web Page Options
If you have a grove account, you may make your own Homepage that will be available to web users all over the world.
Using a hosting program such as Host Explorer or in the run command of your windows computer telnet to the grove server:
Grove also supports ssh connections.  Using a secure hosting program such as Tera Term you may connect to grove by choosing a TCP connection using TCP port# 22 and typing in the host name:
After you log in to your grove account, enter this command:
This will create a new subdirectory in your home directory named public html and a new file in that directory named index.html.  You can modify the index.html file to contain your own personal information.
Web pages are written using Hypertext Markup Language, or html.  Html tags let you describe the format to be used when displaying a document.  You can find out more about html from the HTML Authoring Help page.

If you produced your web page with a browser or word processor, you will want to publish your page to the web server.

If you make a web page, then your name will show up in a list of users with Personal Homepages or Organizational Homepages.  This list of index.html files is updated automatically at least every two days.

Detailed information on Grove is available at

Online Courseware


UF is moving to the Sakai e-learning system, here's a link to the website, i’s fairly straightforward to use and Academic Technology has great workshops to get you started.


Having established goals and objectives and chosen appropriate instructional materials, you now have the opportunity to implement these plans in a variety of ways.  It is important to remember that "the instructional strategies and techniques that you adopt as a teacher bespeak your attitudes about yourself and your students and your respective roles in the teaching process.”  (adapted with permission from Crow, 1980)
Differences in teaching styles, and their implications, are described in a number of ways by different authors.  One model proposes three potential loci in teaching (adapted with permission from Axelrod, 1980):

  • Subject matter-centered teaching: teaching is organized around the goal of helping students master principles, concepts, analytic tools, theories, facts, etc. in a particular discipline
  • Instructor-centered teaching: is organized around the goal of helping students learn to approach problems in the field as professors approach them ... concentrating on transmitting segments of knowledge that are considered "standard" in the field
  • Student-center teaching: emphasizes the personal development of the whole student, organizing class sessions around the desire to help students develop as individuals, morally and socially as well as intellectually.

These categories are not, of course, mutually exclusive.  In the course of the semester you might use elements of one or another approach depending on what you want your class or section to accomplish.  The approach you adopt will most likely reflect your assumptions about the fundamental nature of student-teacher relationships.
Interactive Teaching Style
Another approach to the discussion of teaching styles focuses on the amount of interaction between students and teachers which is built into the classroom situation.  A significant body of educational research has concluded that the more active involvement students have in the learning process (through discussions, question and answer sessions, group projects, presentations, etc.), the more information they retain and the more enjoyable they find their experience.
Utilizing an interactive teaching style may result in the following benefits for students:

  • students become active rather than passive participants in the learning process
  • students retain information longer
  • interactive techniques are democratic processes and thereby give students experience in collaborating and cooperating with others
  • problem-solving and critical thinking skills are enhanced in discussion settings
  • some students may learn better in a group situation
  • self-esteem is enhanced by class participation
  • students are given the opportunity to clarify their beliefs and values
  • student motivation for future learning is increased.

In general, there is considerable evidence to indicate that teaching techniques which maximize interaction between students and teachers, and among students themselves, tend to emphasize cognitive tasks at the higher levels of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives.  So, in choosing an instructional style for your course or section, it is helpful to keep in mind what it is you feel is most important for your students to be learning.  (adapted with permission from Crow, 1980)


Adapted from Chism et al., 1992
A highly effective way of promoting active engagement in learning is to provide opportunities for students to verbalize what they are learning in the classroom.  Instructors are thus able to provide the feedback that is such an important part of the learning process at the time when it is most needed.
Discussions and critiques not only get students to verbalize what they are learning, but they also provide a socializing mechanism, examine and clarify confusing concepts, and raise value questions.  Discussions and critiques can be useful for any of the following goals of instruction:

  • to help students learn to think in ways that are particular to the discipline
  • to help students learn to identify and evaluate the logic and evidence that forms the basis of their own and others' positions
  • to give students opportunities to formulate applications of principles
  • to help students identify and formulate problems using information gained from reading or lectures
  • to use the resources of members of the group
  • to gain acceptance for information or theories counter to previous beliefs of students
  • to develop motivation for further learning
  • to get prompt feedback on how well objectives are being attained.

Preparing for Critiques/Discussion

Critiques differ from lectures in many ways.  A major difference is that the students can be more active and there can be more personal contact.  Good critiques give students an opportunity to formulate principles in their own words and apply these principles to artwork on view; they help students become aware of and define problems; they can also increase students' sensitivity to other points of view and alternative explanations.  (adapted from Unruh, 1986)
Some new TAs wonder how there can possibly be enough to say to fill the class period.  This will be the least of your worries.  Your job is facilitating and moderating critiques, not doing all the talking.  New TAs sometimes tend to over manage the situation.  Remember that the discussion is not just a matter of your communication with your students; it's a chance for your students to share ideas and pool resources.  Many TAs overlook this potential and end up trying to carry the whole conversation themselves.  (adapted from Ronkowski, 1986)
There seems to be an unfortunate misunderstanding about the amount of preparation that discussions or critiques require. Too many instructors assume that you can "just walk in" to the classroom and begin useful discussion. It is as if they feel that, with a basic understanding of the subject, they can rely upon their students for 40 or 50 minutes.  However, a good critique takes a great deal of prior planning and review of the subject matter and the goals of the class project.  To begin with, the content itself must be reviewed and brought up to date; that is why keeping up in one's field is so very important.  Inevitably, in a discussion, a question about present applicability or trends, etc., will be raised, and at that point you can be of great help if you are able to relate what is being discussed to the most recent events or developments in the field.  It is also helpful to be knowledgeable about the backgrounds and interests of your students.  This is why student information and background sheets and get-acquainted sessions at the beginning of the term are useful.  For example, if you know that the mother of one of your students works as a graphic designer, you may be able to make a lesson on composition more meaningful by drawing upon the student's knowledge of the parent's activities.  Prior planning also enables you to anticipate the kinds of questions that will emerge during the discussion.  In this way, you can provide more appropriate and helpful sorts of answers to those questions.  You can also consider how the questions might be referred to other students, thereby helping them to reinforce their understanding.  (adapted from the Freshman Advising Training Manual, Northeastern University, 1984)
Before the critique, decide what kind of discussion is most useful for your class.  Is there a certain topic to be discussed ?  Is there subject matter related to the class project that must be reinforced?  Is the critique a forum for expressing and comparing views?  Is it important that the students carefully analyze all the artwork or that they learn certain skills?  Once you have decided what kind of discussion you want, tell the students.  It is easier for everyone if the goals for the class have been clearly stated.  (adapted from Unruh, 1986)

Implementing Discussions
Adapted from McKeachie, 1978, pp. 35-68).
Before you can successfully implement a discussion section, you will need to become aware of the implicit set of attitudes and messages you bring into the classroom with you.  Your reactions, your responses to students, the attitudes you project in your actions—all suggest to your students the sort of interaction they can expect.  The way in which you field students' comments will give the most important clue.  No one wants to feel that his or her remark will be put down or put off.  Students are also sensitive to what they think you really want (e.g., Does he want a discussion or a chance for an extended monologue?  Does she say she wants disagreement and then gets defensive when someone challenges her?)  Your students will try to read you so that they can respond appropriately.  Be sensitive to the clues you give them.
There are a number of techniques you can use in opening up discussion.  The most obvious is to draw upon students' questions and comments and to enlarge upon them with your own remarks.  What do you do if the subject matter is new and your students are, too?  You may want to write several statements or questions beforehand and use these as a springboard.
When you start a discussion with a question, ask open-ended questions which will get students thinking about relationships, applications, consequences, and contingencies—rather than merely the basic facts.  You've probably often heard a professor spiel off a list of questions that require only brief factual replies and little student involvement:
Q. Who painted the Mona Lisa?  A. Leonardo da Vinci
The result could hardly be called a discussion. You'll want to ask your students the sorts of questions that will draw them out and actively involve them, and you will also want to encourage your students to ask questions of one another.  Above all, you must convey to your students that their ideas are valued as well as welcomed.
Some ways of initiating discussions include:

  • having students write about an artwork for a few minutes (this method also increases the likelihood that everyone will have something to contribute)
  • assigning questions and/or artworks for small groups to work out amongst themselves (such activities tend to loosen things up, helping students overcome any inhibitions they may feel about speaking up in front of the class)
  • asking for reactions to specific portions of the projects  

The more students are prepared to discuss a particular topic, the better they will be able to participate in a discussion about it.
Some behaviors to avoid when asking questions are:

  • phrasing a question so that your implicit message is, "I know something you don't and you'll look stupid if you don't guess right!"
  • phrasing a question at a level of abstraction inappropriate for the class. Don't just show off your 25 cent words—discussion questions need to be phrased as problems that are meaningful to student and instructor alike.
  • not waiting long enough to give students a chance to think.  The issue of "wait time" is an often ignored component of questioning techniques.  If you are too eager to impart your views, students will get the message that you're not really interested in their opinions.  Most teachers tend not to wait long enough between questions or before answering their own questions because a silent classroom induces too much anxiety in the instructor.  Try counting to 10 slowly after asking a provocative question to which you are just dying to respond yourself.  Students don't like a silent classroom either.  Once they have confidence that you will give them time to think their responses through, they will participate more freely.

Moderating Discussions/Critiques
To speak of "controlling" a discussion or critique may be misleading since in this setting what you are really doing is relinquishing control over the learning process to your students.
Running a critique skillfully requires creating a context of "organized spontaneity" in which instructor gives the students opportunities and incentives to express themselves and develop skills.  One of the keys to facilitating a critique  is to guide its course without appearing to do so.  Here is a list of some common difficulties TAs encounter in leading critiques, which relate to the problem of "control," and some suggestions for overcoming them.  (McKeachie, 1978)

  • If you habitually can't get discussion started, you first need to pay more attention to the questions your asking; they may not be broad enough.  On the other hand, you may not be using good questioning skills—putting people on the spot or embarrassing them.  
  • If one or two students consistently monopolize the floor, there are many causes at work, but the result is a great deal of tension.  You don't want to reject the one student, but then you don't want to alienate the rest of the class.  You may want to take one of two approaches.  Either you can use their comments to throw the discussion back to the class ("You've raised an important point.  Maybe others would like to comment."), or you can acknowledge the comments and offer another outlet ("Those ideas deserve a lot more time.  Maybe we can discuss them after class.").
  • If there is a lull in the discussion, relax.  This does not mean you've failed.  Every conversation needs a chance to catch its breath.  It may mean that your topic is exhausted or it may be a pause for people to digest what they've heard.  If the lull comes too frequently, though, you may need to give more attention to the types of topics you're picking.  You may also be inadvertently shutting down discussion by dominating rather than facilitating.
  • If students are talking only to you instead of to each other, you are probably focusing too intently on the speaker.  You can help students talk to each other by leading with your eyes, looking occasionally at others in the room.  This will lead the speaker to do likewise.
  • If there are students who seldom or never talk, see if you can find out whether they are shy, confused, or simply turned off.  Watch for clues that indicate that they might want to speak up ("Alan, you seem disturbed by Dan's idea.  What do you think?").  However, be careful that you don't embarrass a student into participating.  You may want to make a point of talking to this student before or after class to indicate your interest.
  • If you’ve discussed the artwork and topics thoroughly before the end of class, ask your students if there are other topics they might be interested in discussing.  If not, let them go early.  Don't keep them the whole hour just for form's sake.
  • If a debate breaks out over an issue, then you've got a hot topic on your hands!  Facilitate!  Your major task here is to keep the argument focused on the issues.  Don't let it turn personal, under any circumstances.

The GTA as Teacher
The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education distills findings from fifty years of research on the way teachers teach and students learn (Chickering and Gamson, 1987). These seven principles assert that good practice in undergraduate education:

  • encourages student-faculty contact
  • encourages cooperation among students
  • encourages active learning
  • gives prompt feedback
  • emphasizes time on task
  • communicates high expectations
  • respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

Throughout this handbook you will find many strategies for encouraging student contact both in and out of classes; for actively involving students in learning tasks; for encouraging students to work with each other; for providing frequent opportunities for students to perform and receive suggestions for improvement; for setting high but attainable goals for students; and for working with the different talents and styles of learning that students bring to the university. Results of research indicate that incorporating these strategies into your teaching approach will enhance student motivation, intellectual commitment, academic achievement, social interaction, and personal development.

Improving Your Teaching
Adapted with permission from Stanford University, Center for Teaching & Learning
There are several ways to find out if you are meeting your goals as a teacher:

  • Ask the students. Give out a course evaluation midway through the semester.  The University Center for Teaching Excellence (UCET) has forms you can use, or you can make up your own.  All departments distribute and collect course evaluations at the end of each semester.  You can add your own questions if you want feedback, for example, on specific aspects of your teaching or on particular innovations you introduced.
  • Ask a faculty member. Have someone from the faculty sit in on your class.  This is highly advisable in any case, since you may want a recommendation for a teaching job some day. Choose someone with experience, preferably in the course you are teaching, and someone whose opinion you respect.  An experienced GTA in your department also can provide helpful feedback.
  • Watch yourself on videotape.  You can arrange to have your class video or audio taped, and then you can see or hear for yourself what your strong and weak points are.  If you wish, a peer or faculty member can watch the tape with you and help you assess your teaching.

If you wish to improve your teaching skills, working as a GTA at the University will provide you with a great opportunity. When you enter the job market, whether in or out of academia, you'll find a successful teaching record is a strong asset.

  • Practice.  If you know what aspects of your teaching need work, you will find they improve with time, just because you are thinking about them.  Repeat the evaluative steps after a few months to see how you are doing.  Or, ask a friend or colleague to observe you in a dry run.
  • Observe successful teachers.  There are many outstanding teachers at this university.  Sit in on sections of successful GTAs in SA+AH, especially if they are teaching the same course.  Or ask popular professors if you can sit in on their undergraduate courses.  The UCET has a list of Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars. 
  • Learn about teaching.  The UCET has a library of books and videotapes on specific issues in teaching.  The Handbook for Teaching Assistants is designed for both beginning and experienced teachers; you will find it helpful to go back to it after you have seen the sorts of problems that arise in class.  In addition, UCET offers Breakfast at UCET and Themed Workshops throughout the year.
  • Learn about learning.  Think about how your students will learn as well as what they'll learn. Teaching is more than just giving information; it is motivating people, giving them new concepts and approaches, and helping them to learn more effectively.  Observe yourself and others as learners.  The UCET has videotapes and articles on student learning.
  • Keep track of what you've done.  Experience is a good ally.  If you keep organized records of your work for courses you teach, you can use them as a springboard for next time.  You'll get more efficient, you'll have a better sense of what worked and what didn't, and you'll have more time to prepare new materials.  Analyze your students work and record which assignments made students think, which ones made excessive work for you at grading time, and which ones improved the quality of your teaching.


The Freshman Class (2004)

  • 23,595 Applications
  • 11,911 Admitted
      6,750 Expected to Enroll


  • High School GPA 3.8 - 4.3 (academic classes only;weighted GPA)
  • SAT total of 1200 - 1380
  • ACT composite of 26 – 30

Of Those Admitted

  • 79 percent were in the top 10 percent of their high school class.
  • 82 percent took 20 or more academic classes in high school.
  • 67 percent took 21 or more academic classes in high school.
  • 50 percent took 22 or more academic classes in high school.
  • 38 percent took 23 or more academic classes in high school.

Of Those Enrolling

  • 85 percent reported one AP (advanced placement) or IB (international baccalaureate) score as of July 2004.
  • 79 percent reported two or more AP or IB scores as of July 2004.
  • 71 percent reported three or more AP or IB scores as of July 2004.
  • 61 percent reported four or more AP or IB scores as of July 2004.
  • 51 percent reported five or more AP or IB scores as of July 2004.

Today’s College Students
Dr. Reynol Junco, Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania,
Dr. Jeanna Mastrodicasa, University of Florida,

“Millennials—the overparented, overscheduled technology generation that’s more comfortable communicating in carefully orchestrated sound bytes and keystrokes.” –Kathleen Phalen, University of Virginia

Howe and Strauss’s definition of Millennials:

  • Special
  • Sheltered
  • Optimistic/Confident
  • Team Oriented
  • Achieving
  • Pressured
  • Conventional
  • 10 Attributes of an information-age mindset (from Oblinger):
  • Computers aren’t technology
  • The Internet is better than TV
  • Reality is no longer real
  • Doing is more important than knowing
  • Learning more closely resembles Nintendo than logic
  • Multitasking is a way of life
  • Typing is preferred to handwriting
  • Staying connected is essential
  • There is zero tolerance for delays
  • Consumer and creator are blurring



Teaching Freshmen: Special Considerations
Adapted from Recommendations of the Committee on Instructional Development, President's Commission on the Freshman Year, UMass, 1987–1988

There are some special characteristics of freshmen students that set them apart from other students and which teachers of freshmen should keep in mind:

Entering freshmen have been socialized for twelve years into a system of primary and secondary education within which: they performed according to a set schedule of daily assignments that are often collected
many students moved together from class to class and from term to term, forming a continuing and strong support network weighted grading systems differentially rewarded performance in courses by level of difficulty all of the institution's resources (including the teacher) were right there everyday in the classroom.
As a result, the expectations of university academic life, emphasizing self-initiation, independence, and responsibility may be quite jarring for first year students.

Most often, college is the first extended experience freshmen have had with independent living. The transition from family, town, and school to the newness of independence and the wonders of university life can all too easily overshadow what may be perceived by the student as dull academic responsibilities.

The very size and complexity of the university can be tremendously confusing and intimidating to students whose entering class is often larger than the population of the entire high school from which they came; whose classmates and even roommates are strangers to them; whose training to be mostly passive receivers of educational services makes them unused to seeking out assistance, especially in an alien environment.

For the most part, entering freshmen are used to being in the upper halves of their graduating classes, to being widely known and respected by their peers and teachers—in other words to being "big fish in small ponds." At the University, many of them are anonymous, submerged in large classes, and competing with the cream of a number of high schools— very "small fish" in an awfully "big pond." This is often a difficult transition.

Unlike upperclass students, whose pre-requisites assure some consistent entry levels into courses, the variety of learning styles and the level of preparation of freshman students varies as widely as do their study skills. Students are often shocked to discover what is expected of them as freshmen.

Therefore, as you prepare your course plans and materials try to build in structures and strategies that will help to minimize the difficulties faced by freshmen in your classes. You may find several of the topics in the chapters "Course Design and Preparation" and "Approaches to Instruction" helpful.

Student Differences and Their Implications for Teaching
Adapted with permission from Chism et al., 1992
The characteristics above suggest some of the demographic features of the University of Florida undergraduate population. Equally important to teaching is some understanding of how these students are likely to differ in the ways in which they learn. Two broad categories of descriptive literature on students' ways of learning will be discussed here: cognitive development and differences based on age, gender, disability, or cultural background.

Cognitive Development
The most widely known work on the cognitive development of college students is Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College Years by William Perry (1970). Although Perry's study was completed some time ago and was based on a small sample of students from Harvard and Radcliffe, the scheme of development that he described has proven helpful to many in understanding students in many different settings. (The sample for this, and many other studies of adult development, is heavily biased toward males. Important recent contributions that focus on the development of women, although not necessarily college students, have been made by Gilligan, C., 1982, and Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule, 1987.)
Perry concludes that many students move through stages of cognitive development, each of which is qualitatively different and more complex than the previous stage. As students move through these stages, the ways in which they perceive, organize, and evaluate experiences and events in their lives change. Perry (1970, p. 9) describes nine positions, of which the first six pertain most directly to cognitive development.
Perry uses the term dualistic to describe the first three positions. Students in the dualistic stage of development are classified with regard to how they account for uncertainty:

  • Position 1: All information is either right or wrong. Uncertainty is not perceived.
  • Position 2: All information is either right or wrong, and where uncertainty seems to exist, it is really an error committed by a wrong authority.


  • Position 3: All information is either right or wrong, but uncertainty is acceptable in areas where experts do not know the answers yet. Someday the right answer will be discovered or found.
  • Students in the dualistic stage are often confused or hostile in a classroom setting in which multiple points of view are presented. They want the facts, and do not want to hear that there are conflicting opinions. They want the teacher to be strong, authoritative, and clear in the position that is taken. These students are apt to view their roles as passive recipients of a body of knowledge and will often resent being asked to play an active role in class. They regard the teacher as the person who already has the knowledge and may not feel that there is any value in contributing an opinion or listening to the opinions of their fellow students.
  • Students in Positions 1 and 2 are able to learn (often by memorizing) basic facts and definitions of words and concepts, identify parts of a whole, begin to compare and contrast, and provide an explanation of why they answer as they do. In Position 3, the student can compare and contrast and see multiple perspectives, parts, opinions, and evaluations. The student can do basic analytic tasks but needs to learn to use supportive evidence.


Perry uses the term "relativistic" to describe students in Positions 4–6. During this phase, the students' previous categories of right and wrong are transformed. Knowledge is now seen as uncertain or valid only within a context. The positions are differentiated by the following traits:

  • Position 4: The student begins to feel that most questions cannot be answered with absolute certainty and when uncertainty prevails, feels that all answers are of equal value.
  • Position 5: The sense of relativism enlarges and the student begins to form non absolute criteria for making judgments.


  • Position 6: The ability to make judgments increases and a personal stance or commitment develops.
  • Students in Position 4 can compare and contrast, do abstract analysis, and do some synthesis. They can do both positive and negative critiques and use supportive arguments well. At this stage, the student is developing the capacity to relate learning in one context or class to other issues in other classes or to issues in real life.


  • In Positions 5 and 6, the student can relate learning in one context to learning in another with some ease and can look for relationships in learning. The student can evaluate, conclude, and support her/his own analysis and can synthesize various points of view. Finally, the student learns to modify and expand concepts of knowledge, and perhaps generates new ways of looking at a given question or formulates new questions.

Implications for Teaching
Administration of instruments designed to assess cognitive development in terms of Perry's scheme has revealed that, although students of a given age category vary in their cognitive levels, most college students in the traditional age range of 18–24 enter at the dualistic stage and many progress toward the advanced relativistic stage as they go through college. Some enter at higher levels and some will not progress, so one cannot assume homogeneity in a group of a given age. Nevertheless, a general guideline is that most seniors can perform cognitive tasks that most freshmen cannot and instructional expectations should be based on this general guideline.

Widick, Knefelkamp, and Parker (1975) use the notions of challenge and support to draw implications for teaching based on Perry's theory. They argue that students at a given level need to be stretched or challenged to continue to reach higher levels but also need support to handle the challenge. They caution that one cannot expect students to skip over developmental stages; tasks must be at or only slightly above the student's level. Specific recommendations are summarized below:

Students in the dualistic stage can be:

  • challenged by employing content diversity in the curriculum; by presenting two or three, but not more than three, points of view; by assigning different kinds of experiential learning activities and encountering content diversity through such activities as structured discussions and group experiences, role playing, and field trips with structured observation guides; by processing experiential encounters in prestructured ways that emphasize differentiation and the use of evidence to support views; by using a variety of media (e.g., print, AV) to convey information; and by incorporating opportunities for the ideas of others to be heard in class
  • supported as they work toward other levels, by responding to their need for structure (prestructuring activities, using a syllabus that itemizes such things as specific assignments, policies, due dates, and using outlines of each class or lesson); by preparing handouts that help students to fulfill course requirements (e.g., how to do a bibliography, write a critique, etc.); and by personalizing interactions with students (providing opportunities for students to get to know each other and the instructor, using small group work, using feedback techniques such as logs, journals, or response forms, and responding to written work as concretely as possible).

Students in the relativistic stage can be:
challenged to move to higher levels by providing opportunities to choose positions and defend their choices; by asking them to narrow choices and weigh pros and cons of alternatives; by drawing upon course material that stimulates thinking about personal philosophy and life choices; by setting learning tasks that require students to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate from personal perspectives and then progressively more abstract or experiential perspectives and to apply learning from one context to problems in a different context; and by posing activities that ask students to generate new questions or evaluate assumptions inherent in how points of view are constructed supported as they move to higher levels by providing choices of assignments and projects and minimizing the structure and guidance provided; by allowing for more flexibility and creativity in formats of written work; and by continuing personalization through group work, opportunities for participation, and peer teaching and learning.

Women's Development
Adapted with permission from Chism et al., 1992
Belenky and associates (1986), aware that the sample for Perry's research was largely male, undertook research on female cognitive development and found different patterns in their sample of women. They described an initial level of silence in which women feel powerless and intimidated by male authority and forms of argumentation. Following this are four more levels:

  • received knowledge: women at this level are listening to others around them and relying on the voices of authority. They see things dualistically as did the participants in this stage of Perry's study, but identify less with the authority figures. They regard the multiple perspectives they read and hear as increasingly confusing and hard to reconcile.
  • subjective knowledge: dissatisfied with received knowledge, women turn to their inner voices and trust their own feelings and thoughts at this level. They believe that all opinions are equally valid and that first-hand experience is the only valid route to knowing.
  • procedural knowledge: once again, women listen to outside voices but this time, they are listening about how to think rather than what to think. They are interested and aware of multiple perspectives. Belenky et al. borrow from Gilligan (1982), who distinguishes between two kinds of procedural knowledge: separate knowing that relies on analysis, dispassion, and argument; and connected knowing that is holistic in nature, joining emotion with reason and seeking understanding and interconnection among perspectives. Even connected knowers, however, experience a sense of alienation at this stage since their knowledge is so directed toward the other.
  • constructed knowledge: at this level, women are able to integrate their own voices with those of others. They are active builders of a knowledge base and see that "all knowledge is constructed and the knower is an intimate part of the known" (Belenky et al., p.137).
  • Although Gilligan and Belenky et al. make the point that given types of cognitive development are not exclusively male or female, they do note that the above pattern is found more in women than men. The implications for teaching include the importance of recognizing that women may often feel overwhelmed and silenced by a discourse style that is not comfortable to them; that they may want to trust personal judgment, instincts, and emotions as valid contributions to arriving at a position; and that they may withdraw from argumentation and forced analysis as hostile or unproductive forms of activity. Instructors can help women to progress in their cognitive growth by providing a supportive and nurturing environment, being especially sensitive to "giving women their voice" through moderating discussion to ensure equal levels of participation and encouragement and providing opportunities for personal forms of expression in papers and projects.


This handbook is a compilation of material from a variety of sources on-campus and off for the use of GTAs in the School of Art and Art History at University of Florida.  Much of the material in this handbook has been adapted for use within a studio curriculum.  Below are various resources that have been cited, both book and Teaching Assistant Handbooks from institutions across the county. 
Abmrose, S. and R.F. (1997). Best Practices for Teaching First-year Undergraduates. Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence, Carnegie
Axelrod, J. (1980). From Counterculture to Counterrevolution: A Teaching Career, 1959-1984. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 1, 7-20.
Belenky, M.F.; B.M. Clinchy, & N.R. Goldberger (1986).  Women's Ways of Knowing: the Development of Self, Voice, and Mind. New York: Basic Books
Brinkley, A., B. Dessants, M. Flamm, C. Fleming. (1999) The Chicago Handbook for Teachers : A Practical Guide to the College Classroom.  University Of Chicago Press.
Chickering, A.W. & Z.F. Gamson, (1987). Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. In S. Poulsen, ed. The Wingspread Journal 9 (2):1. Racine, WI: The Johnson Foundation.
Chism, Nancy, et al. (1992). Teaching at the Ohio State University: A Handbook. Center for Teaching Excellence, The Ohio State University.
Crow, M. L. (1980). Teaching as an Interactive Process. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 1, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Publishers.41-56.
Curzan, A.L., Damour, L.K. (2000).  First Day to Final Grade : A Graduate Student's Guide to Teaching. University of Michigan Press.
Davis, B.G. (1993) Tools for Teaching.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Erickson, B. L., and Strommer, D. W. (1991) Teaching College Freshmen. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Farris, C. (1985). Mentor: A Handbook for New Teaching Assistants (2nd ed.). Center for Instructional Development and Research, University of Washington, Seattle.
Gilligan, C. (1982) In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. Cambridge, MA Harvard University Press.
Higher Education Research Institute.  (2003)  The American freshman:  National norms for Fall 2003.

Howe, Neil, & Strauss, W.  (2000). Millennials rising: The next great generation.  New York: Vintage Books.
Johnson, G. R. (1988). Taking Teaching Seriously. College Station: Center for Teaching Excellence, Texas A & M University,
Jones, S.  (2002)  The internet goes to college:  How students are living in the future with today’s technology.  Pew Internet and American Life Project. 

Lambert, L.M. (Ed.), S.L. Tice (Ed.). (1996). University Teaching: A Guide for Graduate Students. Syracuse University Press.
McKeachie, W.J., B.K. Hofer (2001), McKeachie's Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers. Houghton Mifflin Company.

Oblinger, D.  (2003)  Boomers, Gen-Xers, & Millennials:  Understanding the new students.  EDUCAUSE Review, 37-47.
Ronkowski, S. (1986). TAs as Teachers: A Handbook for Teaching Assistants at UCSB. Regents of the University of California.
Scholl-Buckwald, S. (1985).  The first meeting of class. In J. Katz (Ed.) Teaching as though students mattered. (New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Volume 21). SanFrancisco: Jossey-Bass.
Stanford University. Getting Started: Evaluating and Improving Your Teaching. Center for Teaching and Learning.
University of Illinois (1980). Handbook for Teaching Assistants at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Office of Instructional Resources.
Unruh, D. (Ed.). (1986). The TA at UCLA: 1986-1987 Handbook. Regents of the University of California.
Wilke. R.L.  (2002) The First Days of Class: A Practical Guide for the Beginning Teacher.  Corwin Press.

On-line Resources
University of Florida, University Center for Excellence in Teaching
Stanford University, The Center for Teaching and Learning
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Center for Teaching
Carnegie Mellon University, Resources for Enhancing Education
University of Southern California, Center for Excellence in Teaching
College Art Association
Foundations in Art: Theory and Education


You have been selected to teach in the studio program at the School of Art + Art History at University of Florida, this is in recognition of your potential as an artist and educator.  As a GTA you play a crucial role in helping SA+AH fulfill our undergraduate mission.  As an instructor, you have the opportunity to solidify your understanding of foundation level material, share your enthusiasm for your discipline with young artists and hone your teaching skills.  You have already completed the Teaching Art in Higher Education Seminar, one component of our teacher preparation program.  This handbook is another part of the assistance SA+AH provides.  Combined with the GTA teaching meetings and classroom observations by the GTA Supervision, the SA+AH is dedicated to working with you to improve your success in the classroom. 









© 2016 Julia Morrisroe All Rights Reserved (rev. 1/16)