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History and Mandated Purpose of ITA Program

The purpose of the program is to help provide excellent instruction to all undergraduate Texas Tech students by supporting the ITAs in their teaching roles at Texas Tech. This is done through rigorous evaluation and training in conjunction with ITAs' comprehensive and respective academic departments.

State Mandate

The Texas Education code (Chapter 51.917) was amended in 1989 to require all faculty whose primary language is not English to achieve a satisfactory score on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) or other approved test. Institutions are charged with providing programs or short courses to meet the needs of those faculty who do not achieve a satisfactory score.

Operating Policy and Procedures

OP 64.03: Graduate Students Employed as Teaching Assistants and Graduate Part-time Instructors

This OP was revised and posted in March 2013 and will be reviewed by November 1 of every even-numbered year by the Dean of the Graduate School and the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs with recommendations for revisions presented to the Provost by December 1.

The following are taken directly from this OP:

English Proficiency

All graduate students employed as teaching assistants and graduate part-time instructors in courses offered for credit that are taught in the English language must be proficient in the use of the English language. Any teaching assistant or graduate part-time instructor whose first language is not English must be certified in English proficiency and readiness for the classroom. A workshop is held annually in the summer for all prospective new teaching assistants and graduate part-time instructors whose first language is not English. The workshop will assess each participant's readiness for the classroom. Those whose English proficiency is not clear, or who may have other deficiencies that make success in the classroom doubtful, will not be approved. They may, however, pursue further training in English proficiency and be reconsidered at a later time.

International Assistants

International teaching assistants or graduate part-time instructors often provide students with valuable perspectives not readily available from other teachers. The international student teacher is, therefore, a decided asset to Tech's educational setting.

You may also want to refer to OP 32.19, Non-native English Speaking Faculty and Teaching Assistants.

History of the ITA Program

The Texas Tech International Teaching Assistant Program was founded by Rosslyn Smith in 1980, and the program remains one of the oldest, continuously running ITA program in the U.S.

Program Directors

Rosslyn Smith was a national leader in the field of ITA training through NAFSA and TESOL. She was co-author of Crossing Pedagogical Oceans: International Teaching Assistants in U.S. Undergraduate Education (1992). She also produced several videos concerning both graduate education and ITA training in the U.S.

Sharon Myers published articles on academic writing and a materials development project for ITAs. She left Texas Tech in 2005 to teach writing to ESL students at Southern California University.

Greta Gorsuch has published numerous articles and book chapters on ITA learning and ITA program design. She is editor of Working Theories for Teaching Assistants (2012)(Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press), and co-author of English Communication for International Teaching Assistants (2013)(Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press). She researches second language reading fluency (all languages) and speaking fluency for intermediate and advanced learners of English.

Dale Griffee has written articles and book chapters on ITA learning and assessment, and is author of An Introduction to Second Language Research Methods: Design and data. (2012)(Berkeley, CA: TESL-EJ) and is co-author of English Communication for International Teaching Assistants (2013)(Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press).

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