Personal Impacts of the Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Experience
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The use of undergraduate teaching assistants (UTAs) has increased in recent years at a number of institutions, especially in active-learning and high-enrollment introductory courses. Currently, there is research demonstrating their benefit to the departments they work in, the students, and the short-term impacts of the experience on the UTAs. However, no study to date has investigated the long-term impacts of the UTA experience on the participants themselves, and a number of studies call for such an investigation. This research sought to fill that gap in understanding by utilizing a Grounded Theory approach to investigate the perceptions of participants who had served as an UTA in the biology department at a large research institution in the upper Midwest. This research found strong consensus among participants that the UTA experience offers overwhelmingly positive personal benefits including improved self-confidence, a sense of personal reward, and a sense of community that resulted from working with faculty members, and the ability to balance and self-regulate a variety of time commitments.
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