American Sociological Association

Director of Graduate Studies Conference

Excellence in Graduate Student Teacher Training: Practical Insights for Graduate Programs and Their Leaders
Friday, August 19, 2016. 1:30pm-5:30pm

A recent study of sociology graduate programs in Teaching Sociology found that 94 percent of students are engaged in teaching at some point in their graduate careers (Blouin and Moss 2015). For graduate students who go on to employment in academic settings—whether in research intensive institutions or community colleges—nearly all will have positions that include evaluation of their performance as teachers.

Institutions of higher education across the board are increasing attention to effective teaching and its relationship to positive student learning outcomes in both hiring and evaluating faculty regardless of the degree to which they emphasize scholarship. Yet teacher training is not ubiquitous in graduate training. While some graduate departments have decades of experience providing programs explicitly designed to develop teaching skills, others rely—at best—on informal channels to prepare their graduates for this professional responsibility.

This year's Director of Graduate Studies Conference will focus on graduate student teacher training in sociology PhD and MA programs. The conference will include information and practical advice for departments that do not currently have graduate student teacher training programs, as well as those seeking to strengthen existing programs.

Presenters will provide insights on the advantages and challenges of a range of graduate student teacher training approaches, including discussions about formal and informal training, innovations such as graduate student peer mentors, assessment of such programs, as well as nuts and bolts guidance for their daily management. Discussion also will include how emergent issues such as new technologies, online courses and programs, and responding to the needs of students from diverse countries and cultures can and should influence the content and form of graduate student teacher training.

The conference will include plenary presentations, panel discussions, and roundtable sessions and will give DGS from all department types, including MA and PhD programs, the opportunity network with peers from similar departments.

Feedback from Past ASA Director of Graduate Studies Conference Participants

  • "I had very interesting conversations with other DGS and I have people I can go to now when facing issues."
  • "I always find this conference useful."
  • "I got good advice on a pro-seminar or workshop series to help students navigate the program."
  • "Now I have 5-10 new ideas I want to try out!"

Registration and Fees

Preregistration and fee payments are required. DGS Conference attendees must preregister for the Annual Meeting in order to register for this conference. The DGS Conference fee includes all conference materials as well as an afternoon snack.

  • Department Affiliate Registration*: $60.00
  • Non-Department Affiliate Registration: $80.00

*The ASA Department Affiliates program creates a direct connection between sociology departments and the ASA, and provides a broad range of benefits to departments. 

  • ASA Department Affiliates Program


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