The GATA Award Results Are In!!!

On December 14, 2017, in Being a GA/TA, GA/TA Events, GA/TA Life, Guest Posts, by Elizabeth Ismail


Sara Santarossa is the 2017 recipient of  the GATA Award for Educational Practice. Sara is a current PhD candidate in the Department of Kinesiology, and was recently
awarded the GA Award for Educational Practice. Her research focuses on the relationship
between social media and technology with psychosocial variables. Sara has GAed numerous
courses throughout her graduate studies, within a wide range of class sizes, and has had the
opportunity to be a sessional instructor. She has been a presenter at the Windsor-Oakland
Teaching and Learning Conference as well as GAT Academy, and is particularly interested in
how to engage students with learning-centred teaching and active learning strategies.

The GATA Network Coordinators conducted the following interview with Sara:

1. What was the most difficult part of the nomination process?

Organizing the dossier into a meaningful fashion, was challenging, but in a good way. I wanted to be able to highlight what I had done in a manner that truly reflected my teaching and learning practice and philosophy. This takes time, creativity, and patience with the process.

2. Had teaching and learning been a big part of your life before you won the award? How did the award change your views on teaching?

I come from a faculty, that I believe, truly values teaching and learning. Having spent many years as a student in this faculty, I think, that passion for learning-centred teaching has rubbed off on me. The award has not changed my views on teaching, but has expanded them. Receiving this nomination and award has driven me to continue to pursue teaching and learning. I actively seek out and attend workshops or events, like GATAcademy, that the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) host on campus.

3. How will you continue to demonstrate outstanding educational practice in your academic and professional career?

Currently, I am working towards completing the University Teaching Certificate (UTC)
program. The mentorship and opportunities this program has provided me is making me better. A better teacher, a better learner. This program is challenging and thought provoking, and I know being immersed in such an environmental that develops critical thinking will help grow my educational practice.

4. How has the GATA Award impacted your life, if at all?

Being nominated for this award demonstrates the meaning of the “HK Family” we all talk about over in Kinesiology. Faculty, students and fellow grad students all had to write letters of support as part of my nomination package. Receiving this award is not only humbling, and helps to verify that how I act and what I do as a GA makes an impact, but it allows the rest of the University to see what we do in HK. How we teach and learn. How we care about each and every student.

5. What is the most rewarding or best part about being a GA/TA?

Most rewarding part of being a GA is the relationships I get to build with the students, and faculty.

6. What is your favourite GA/TA memory?

My favourite GA memory would have to be while in Dr. Paula van Wyk’s Human Movement
and Aging class. Throughout the entire semester the other GA (Mike Hatten, who actually wrote one of the letters of support for tis award) and I would have competitions that would reflect and/or simulate what was being taught in the course. For example, if we were talking about physical ailments of aging, such as arthritis, Mike and I would simulate this by taping the joints in our hands, reducing our gait, etc; then perform some sort of competition based task, like who could walk across the room the fastest. The theme of Team Sara and Team Mike was a constant throughout the semester and it was such a clever way to engage the students in what was being covered. I made Team Sara heads for all of my supporters, as seen in the pictures below!

7. Is there any advice that you would give others who are considering being nominated for a GATA award?

(A) Keep the feedback you receive from students. Whether this be an email, a tweet, or
something hand written – keep it. All of this feedback can be used as evidence to support your GATA Award package, and show that you are making an impact in teaching and learning.

(B) Give yourself ample time to put together a quality package. This is not something that can be done overnight!


For more information regarding descriptions and criteria of the GATA Awards, visit the CTL Website.

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Volunteers Needed for GATAcademy 2017!!

On July 27, 2017, in UWindsor, by Elizabeth Ismail

GATAcademy 2017 is right around the corner and we are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with the day’s events. There are a number of roles available (e.g., building host, communication specialist, registration officer, break-room boss, workshop assistant) to cater to your interests and skills. Furthermore, volunteering at this event is a great opportunity to meet new friends and network with other graduate assistants (GAs) and teaching assistants (TAs). In exchange for your hard work we will provide you with a free lunch at the event and a formal letter recognizing your volunteer efforts.

The 2017 GATAcademy will be held in Dillon Hall at the University of Windsor on September 5, 2017.

If you’re interested in helping out with this event, go to and register. At this site you will indicate your preferences for days/times and positions and training time. Please note: Due to high demand, we may not be able to include everyone as volunteers. Just remember, GATAcademy is FREE to GA/TAs (with a FREE lunch), so you’re welcome to register and attend regardless.

Not interested in volunteering? Still check out this full-day professional development event for GAs and TAs. That means a full day of workshops designed to help you improve as a teacher and a professional. GATAcademy is an opportunity for new and returning GA/TAs – and really just anyone interested in teaching and learning – to ask questions, share strategies, and hopefully gain the type of clarity and confidence that squashes all those nagging fears we have as educators. Workshops are led by experienced GAs/TAs on topics related to the GA/TA life as well as teaching and learning best practices.

For more information about this event visit


Graduate and Teaching Assistants!!!

We would like to share with you Volume 7 of the Teaching Innovation Projects (TIPs) Journal. TIPs is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal that aims to improve teaching strategies and student learning in higher education contexts. Written primarily by graduate students, articles describe the scholarly and pedagogical foundations for workshops on specific educational approaches. Each contribution to the issue includes a comprehensive list of learning outcomes, annotated review of relevant literature, and detailed breakdown of potential learning activities.

This latest issue includes nine articles representing authors from Anatomy, Biology, Education, English, Geography, Math, Music, and Psychology at Western University and the University of Waterloo. The articles approach teaching and learning from discipline-specific perspectives but the majority of the workshops are applicable beyond the authors’ disciplines. Article topics include:

  • Preparing teaching dossiers
  • Implementing critical questioning techniques
  • Communicating rationale in laboratory protocols
  • Choosing effective multimedia demonstrations
  • Engaging students in math lectures
  • Using trigger warnings in sensitive discussions
  • Examining threshold concepts and confusion as pedagogical tools in literary classrooms
  • Using active learning techniques to promote equity and inclusion
  • Overcoming imposter syndrome in the classroom

You can access these (and previous) TIPs articles here: The rich body of workshops and resources emerging from TIPs are free for use or adaptation by all members of the higher education community.


Keep your cool at the 2017 Summer Series on Teaching and Learning, August 15, 16, and 17: workshops/106/

Join colleagues in a retreat designed to give you the dedicated space (and time!) to prepare for your upcoming courses, and better incorporate high impact teaching practices into your courses. Workshops include:

  • Navigating the Year Ahead: A Road Map for Course Planning
  • Tales From the Brightside: Effective Practices in Course Design
  • Locating and Dislocating HIPs (High Impact Practices)
  • Stories of HIP Placements and Replacements
  • From Here to There and Back Again: A Road Map for Curriculum Planning

Over the three days, you will have access to expert advice and resources from across disciplines, interspersed with quiet time to prepare lessons, assignments and engaging class activities.

The event will end with a free celebratory BBQ!

Registration: http://cleo. | Twitter Hashtag: #inquireTEACHinspire

Other Upcoming CTL Workshops and Courses


Resources for Educational Developers

On July 6, 2017, in UWindsor, by Elizabeth Ismail

The Network would like to share a couple resources for those of you have an interest in academia or educational development. Feel free to explore these resources and contact us if you would like to learn more.

The following is a “must read list” for educational developers, along with other suggested readings (submissions by EDC members and compiled by Natasha Hannon):

There is also a helpful guide by JobHero called the “Academic Career Resource Guide” including CV resources, job search resources, academic blogs and more:

If educational development is of interest to you, please stop by the CTL and our staff would be glad to share information and resources with you!


GATAcademy: Save the date!

On June 1, 2017, in UWindsor, by Elizabeth Ismail

Well it is official, GATAcademy is back! The date for GATAcademy 2017 is September 5. GATAcademy will feature a full day of interactive workshops on teaching and learning just for GAs and TAs. Sessions will be held in Dillion Hall and the Faculty of Graduate Studies will hold orientation immediately after.

Topics this year will include:

– Leading labs and tutorials

– Grading and marking

– Active learning

– Balancing the demands of being a GA/TA

– Ethical issues encountered by GAs/TAs

– The first day

– Creating rubrics

– Multiculturalism in the classroom

– Blackboard

– Engaging large classes

– Leading effective discussions

– Teaching with stats

– Copyright and open access

– Teaching with technology

We’re still sorting out the details, so stay tuned for more information!


Free teaching and learning conference: Register now!

On April 10, 2017, in UWindsor, by Elizabeth Ismail

Windsor – Oakland International Teaching & Learning Conference
When: May 3 & 4
International Forum on Teaching Evaluation: May 2
Where: University of Windsor, Windsor, ON
Conference Website:

We invite you to join us, May 3 and 4, to explore, support, and celebrate the many ways we can contribute to the enhancement of a culture that values teaching.

A long-standing initiative with Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, the conference will feature workshops, concurrent sessions, and a competitive poster session.

Pre-Conference: International Forum on Teaching and Learning
A special feature this year is the day-long International Forum on Teaching Evaluation, May 2, 2017, where speakers from universities across Canada and the US will examine the specific dynamics and cultures in post-secondary institutions that impact how they define quality in teaching and how they implement effective methods in evaluating teaching. Peter Felten (Elon University) will offer the keynote presentation. For more information about the Forum, visit: tlconf/preconference.php

Registration: Free for Oakland University and University Windsor students, faculty and staff, as fees are supported by each University’s provosts.

To register for the conference and/or pre-conference, visit


The University of Windsor is admitting its first class for an interdisciplinary doctoral program in Fall 2017 that focuses on Argumentation Studies. Students and faculty come to the field from such different fields as law; human resources; the social, life, and computational sciences; communications; rhetoric (typically in English departments); and philosophy.

The interdisciplinary PhD in Argumentation Studies will be the first Windsor PhD program to involve humanities scholarship. Also, while there are many interdisciplinary PhD programs with a humanities focus at other places in Ontario and across Canada, none of them offer a particular scholarly specialization like this one; and it would be hard to find any interdisciplinary PhD anywhere in the world that has the sort of pedigree that the University of Windsor offers in the field of argumentation. Windsor is already known around the world for argumentation studies.

Argumentation theory emerged as a field in the late 1970s to early 1980s, drawing together three different streams of scholarship: a model for resolving verbal disagreements known as “pragma-dialectics” developed at the University of Amsterdam in the School of Speech Communication; scholarship in rhetoric connected with the practice of collegiate debate in the US; and at the University of Windsor, research in the philosophy and logic of argument, originally motivated to improve the way reasoning is taught to undergraduate students. The Windsor movement came to be known as “informal logic” and gave rise to the journal of the same name. These days “informal logic” often generally describes philosophical approaches to argumentation, and Windsor remains the strongest place in the world for it.

So just what do we count as argumentation? Here’s our definition: Principles and methods through which people reason collaboratively or competitively:
– On any topic where information, knowledge, or claims conflict or are inconsistent
– By which reasoners strive to persuade others through verbal or visual means

What does this mean for doctoral students in interdisciplinary Argumentation Studies? They are expected to have some past training in a related discipline or professional field – human resources may count among this too as conflict resolution is so important to that field. The student will build on their own previous background (minimum Master’s degree or equivalent; an LlB counts as an undergraduate degree) and employ it in ways that engage argumentation studies and the literature specific to that field. To be admitted students must also have a well-developed thesis research proposal – we recommend applicants correspond well in advance with our faculty.

Students will specialize in some particular disciplinary or professional approach. However, completing the program will enable students to analyze and evaluate arguments and argumentation from a variety of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives. They will find employment in education, human resources, and public policy.


The Provost’s Question of the Month for March 2017 is: 

Who or what at the University of Windsor has helped you to stick with it?

Please send your response to by March 30 for a chance to win a UWindsor hoodie!


Background Information to Inspire Your Answer…. 

We want the University of Windsor to become an increasingly attractive learning environment and home away from home for students. So this year, the University of Windsor is reviewing…

  • how it recruits students;
  • how they experience their acceptance and transition to university;
  • how they like the student experience here; and
  • what makes them stay.

You’ve probably seen our new promotional campaign – – appearing in cinemas, on billboards, in the media, and on our campus.  The Promise campaign grew out of student, faculty and community perceptions of the potential for personal and intellectual growth that UWindsor offers.

Student recruitment – attracting a new generation of students – is obviously a big focus for us.  But keeping students enrolled and deeply engaged – from first year to second, from second to third, and so on, right through to a timely and successful graduation – is even more important.

We know that many different obstacles prevent or discourage students from progressing, year after year, toward their degree – personal, academic, economic.  We want to identify solutions and establish supports that give students the resilience, confidence, and inspiration to persevere and to excel – but it would help us a lot to know more, from you, about what you think.

So….This month’s question is: 

Who or what at the University of Windsor has helped you to stick with it?