Young deer standing by a redwood tree

Teaching as an
Ethical Practice

About the Program

Teaching as an Ethical Practice: A Guide for Teaching Assistants (TA Ethics) is an online, self-paced course that introduces new Teaching Assistants to professional ethics specific to the TA role, with special attention to issues of educational equity and accessibility. The course offers an invaluable introduction to campus resources that TAs commonly interface with, such as the Disability Resource Center (DRC), Counseling and  Psychological Services (CAPS), the Title IX Office, Campus Advocacy Resources and Education (CARE), the teaching assistant union UAW 2865, and the Identity-Based Resource Centers. More broadly, the course aims to support graduate students to understand the distinct role of TAs on our campus, how to set up more accessible and equitable learning environments, how to communicate effectively in a teaching team, how to respond to students in distress, how to promote academic integrity, and more.

While TA Ethics provides an overview of the essential foundations of the TA role, the department-level pedagogy courses, workshops, and colloquia, often led by TLC’s Graduate Pedagogy Fellows, give graduate student educators more in-depth professional development for teaching in their disciplines.

How to Participate

Per the Graduate Division, this course is required for all new Teaching Assistants, to be taken during a graduate student’s first TAship at UC Santa Cruz. The course remains available to participants as a continuing resource during the remainder of their graduate careers at UCSC.

Continuing graduate students, faculty, and staff are welcome and encouraged to access and explore the course as well. Those who are not required to take the course can self-enroll in a special version of the course.

Each quarter, graduate advisers provide the Graduate Division with information about new TAs, who are then enrolled in the current year’s version of TA Ethics in Canvas. Completing the course is part of required training and, per the labor contract, must be considered part of the TA duties and workload for the quarter. It is estimated that the course can take up to eight hours to complete, and it is recommended that new TAs complete the course either early on in the required quarter or by spreading out the modules evenly throughout the quarter.