Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Jennifer Esposito, PhD

Second Advisor

Audrey Leroux, Phd

Third Advisor

Jennifer Hall, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Miles Irving, PhD


Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) represent a major portion of the undergraduate teaching force for colleges and universities. Yet, some universities/colleges do not have enough support and training in place to assist GTAs in their pedagogical development. This dissertation used qualitative case study methods to examine perspectives of GTAs at an urban university located in a Southeastern city. The following were the research questions for the proposed study: 1. What are the teaching experiences of GTAs at a specific, large, public, predominantly minority serving institution? 2. What kinds of pedagogical training and support do graduate teaching assistants experience? 3. How do GTAs navigate their roles as students and GTAs? To answer these questions, 20 GTAs were interviewed for 45-60 minutes each. Member checking provided additional clarification on participant interviews. The results showed that informal and formal support mechanisms are necessary to support GTAs in their pedagogical development and academic lives. The results showed that GTAs at the institution have layered support mechanisms that undergird their development as teachers. GTAs felt capable in their abilities to teach and conduct scholarly activities, although this was difficult at times. Support from peers and trusted faculty mentors proved useful in supporting these GTAs. Additionally, GTAs navigated learning how to teach at the same time they negotiated their multiple identities as raced, classed, and gendered beings.

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