Investigating Research Assistant Experiences in the TLDG Programme

Grant recipient: Angela McLean, Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines

Project team: Irina Presnyakova, research assistant, and Laura D'Amico, Research Associate, Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines

Timeframe: December 2015 to December 2016

Funding: $6,000

Final report: View this project's final report (PDF) and extended version of the final report (PDF)

Description: I would like to investigate the experiences of the Research Assistants (RAs) involved in the SFU Teaching and Learning Development grant programme (TLDG). These RAs are of two different ‘types’: those who are hired by faculty grant recipients to work as a RA on a specific grant project, and those who are hired by the Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines (ISTLD) to work with the team that facilitates the grants program. The RAs hired to work on projects are graduate students, and come from a variety of different disciplines; most are not familiar with educational research, nor are the faculty grant recipients who hired them. RAs who are hired by the ISTLD will have at least had experience as a RA for a specific project.  In light of the RAs’ differing disciplinary contexts and ways of thinking and practicing, I am interested in their experiences with this teaching and learning inquiry work.  

Questions addressed:

  • What are the experiences of the RAs?
  • What do the RAs learn from the projects?
  • How socially-situated is RA experience?
  • How can the TLDG programme improve?

Knowledge sharing: First and foremost the project will be shared with members of the ISTLD team, as the research is undertaken, via ongoing informal discussions/updates.

D’Amico, L., Presnyakova, I., & Amundsen, C. (2017, October). Nurturing novice SoTL scholars: Examination of the impact of participation in a teaching and learning grants program on the learning and growth of graduate student research assistants. Presentation at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL), University of Calgary and Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB.

McLean, A., D’Amico, L., Amundsen, C., Presnyakova, I. & Dys-Steenbergen, O. (2016, June). Graduate student learning: An empowering (side-) effect of a teaching inquiry grants program.  A poster presented at the Annual Meeting of Society of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, June 21-24, 2016, London, Ontario, Canada.