The TI Research Associate (RA) Program is an internally-funded program with the vision of creating a community of research, innovation, and excellence in undergraduate and graduate students employed at the TI. In recognition of the diverse roles students hold at the TI (from Research and Program Assistants to Learning Technology Coaches), the Program collectively refers to them as research associates (RAs). Launched in Spring 2016, the Program provides RAs opportunities to gain professional work experience, build upon their academic studies, facilitate communication and coordination with and among projects, and contribute actively to the evaluation, enhancement, and development of the TI’s programs and activities. With ongoing mentoring from the Program Coordinator (Rachel Braun) and supervision from TI staff members, RAs develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to meet project goals, engage in the TI community, and create meaningful work experiences that empower them for their future goals.
Program participation is voluntary, and all undergraduate and graduate students employed at the TI are welcome. Individuals and groups at the TI can apply for RA assistance at any time. To ensure availability, the maximum request for any one project is 10 hours per week for 13 weeks.
The Program’s primary activities are:
- Support, training, and mentoring from the Program Coordinator, and TI staff. All Program resources, activities, and initiatives are developed, facilitated, and evaluated by the Program Coordinator (Rachel Braun), the TI Academic Director (Nancy Chick), and the EDU Director (Natasha Kenny). Additionally, RAs receive direct support from the TI staff/faculty member overseeing their project throughout their role(s).
- The Research Associate (RA) Notebooks. This blog is designed to chronicle both the Program and individual RAs’ milestones, and provide a scholarly and professional online presence for RAs at all stages of their roles and development. Blog content revolves around the Program’s three priorities: creating community, developing capacity, and empowering and promoting RA learning and success. All RAs and TI staff are invited to post as guest bloggers on any topic relating to student professional, academic, or teaching development. For their contribution, they will receive a letter of recognition from the Program Coordinator to put in their professional/teaching portfolios and reference in their curriculum vitae.
- Lunch & Learns. To promote RAs’ awareness and application of their unique and individual talents, interests, and goals in workplace and academic contexts, the Program hosts a Lunch & Learn every three weeks to discuss how to identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities they bring to and gain from their role(s).
Documentation and Materials
Assessment Strategies and Results
Formative and summative program assessment strategies are currently in development.
Reflection and Impact
In alignment with all five priorities of the TI Educational Development Unit (EDU), the Program seeks to evaluate how to provide RAs meaningful professional experiences that empower them to engage with their present roles in ways that support their future goals and aspirations. As affirmed in our “Principles of Good Practice in Collaboration and Knowledge-Sharing,” TI faculty and staff are encouraged to “invite students as partners in their efforts to better understand and improve student learning and effective teaching”. The Program enacts this principle via its three priorities:
- Creating RA community and communication at the TI. The Program invites RAs to the TI as colleagues, and builds connections and communication across TI teams and projects.
- Developing RA capacity for their specific roles. The Program provides evidence-based resources to strengthen the knowledge, skills, and abilities relevant to RAs’ roles, and evaluates the scope, quality, and impact of our activities working with RAs with a focus on continuous improvement.
- Empowering RA learning and success. The Program promotes RA awareness, application, and evidencing their unique and individual talents, interests, and goals as aspiring professionals and lifelong learners.
ePortfolio post author: Rachel Braun