Excellence in teaching is an essential part of the professional historian's calling. Demonstrated teaching ability is also an increasingly important prerequisite for most college and university teaching positions. At Emory, graduate students are not assigned grading tasks each semester, as they are in many programs.
Emory's TATTO program is a degree requirement for all PhD students. It is a graduated experience that introduces graduate students to teaching in a graduated manner. Teaching responsibility increases as skills grow. The TATTO experience has proved to be a major asset in preparing students to be successful college teachers and in offering prospective employers the teaching credentials they are looking for.
The four stages of the TATTO program provide graduate students with credible training and optimal teaching experience, while ensuring that they are not overtaxed with teaching responsibilities.
The first stage of TATTO is a short course offered in August, before the fall semester begins. It should be taken immediately prior to a student's first teaching experience. Faculty for this course are drawn from among the best teachers across the University. The syllabus covers general topics of importance to all students, including syllabus writing and grading, lecturing and leading discussions, the use of writing as a pedagogical tool, the conduct of lab sessions, and the use of new technologies. Because the summer course is offered between semesters, it is credited to a student's transcript the following fall when students register for TATT 600.
2. HIST 786A: Intro to College Teaching
In the second stage, the Department of History provides training that addresses intellectual problems and teaching strategies from the perspective of a humanities as well as a social sciences discipline, directed by a history faculty member. Graduate students also prepare two sample syllabi. In the fall of their second year, students register for the HIST 786A course, offered as a regular course through the Registrar's course listings. Optimally, students enroll in this course immediately before or at the same time they participate in their first teaching opportunity, the teaching assistantship.
3. Teaching Assistantship
The teaching assistantship, the third stage of the TATTO program, is taken during the second year in either the fall or spring semester. Students are assigned to instructors as discussion leaders, or to carry out other appropriate functions in an undergraduate history class, as required by the instructor. Depending on departmental need, these are sometimes larger classes with linked discussion sections and sometimes smaller upper division courses. The defining characteristic of the teaching assistantship across all departments and programs is a controlled, carefully monitored initial teaching opportunity. The teaching assistant is closely supervised by a faculty member who provides continuing guidance and evaluation. During the semester of the teaching assistantshp, the student registers for TATT 605.
4. Teaching Associateship
The teaching associateship, the fourth stage of the TATTO program, advances the graduate student to a teaching opportunity with greater responsibilities. During the third or fourth year students teach their own class, under the supervision of their faculty advisor as mentor. Here the student gets practical experience in putting together a coherent course in which the lectures, discussions, assignments, and grading are integrated. The faculty advisor consults with the student about book orders, exams, and problems that may arise and usually observes the class on several pre-arranged dates. Such faculty collaboration is invaluable for providing practical advice and later letters of recommendation on teaching. During the semester of the teaching associateship, students register for TATT 610.
Dean's Teaching Fellowships support students whose records demonstrate excellence in teaching and who will complete their doctoral degrees in the fellowship year. Each Dean's Teaching Fellow teaches one course and receives a standard stipend for 9 months along with the graduate school health insurance subsidy. Fellows are expected to complete their degrees during the year of the fellowship award. Students in candidacy are eligible to apply, selection is competitive across departments, and the awards are made by the Laney Graduate School. As the application requires proposed syllabi for two courses, History students usually include the syllabus of the course they taught as a teaching associate and a second syllabus they designed in HIST 786A.