European Political Science

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 143–156 | Cite as

Training graduate teaching assistants: What can the discipline offer?

  • Michael BarrEmail author
  • Paul Wright
Teaching and Learning


Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) provide an invaluable contribution to higher education, yet their role is often overlooked and understudied. We report on a UK-based study to describe the experience and views of GTAs with particular focus on training and professional development. Our findings draw from a survey of 32 GTAs along with informal group discussions with a small number of undergraduates and academic staff. A key theme from our project is the value of subject-specific training. We explore this issue and raise the possibility that in addition to university departments, learned societies and academic associations within the discipline may have a role to play in providing pedagogical training for GTAs and early career academics.


Academic associations Doctoral students Early career academics Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) Learned societies Teacher training 



We wish to thank the participants in the GTA Project for their time and commitment to the issue. We also thank Una McGahren for her development of the Teaching Circle and Ben Coulson for his work on the GTA Blackboard resource. Finally, we are grateful to the HaSS Faculty for its support of our project, especially Simon Pallett and Ruth Graham.


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Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Newcastle UniversityNewcastleUK
  2. 2.School of History, Classics and ArchaeologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastleUK

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