Welcome from the Heads of the Botany & Zoology Departments and the Biology Program

We welcome you as new graduate students and as attendees of this TA orientation event. We are pleased that you chose to study and work at UBC, and we welcome you into our community. Although it may or may not feel this way to you at this time, you are the next generation of scientists that will further our collective disciplines, and we are here to help you navigate the challenges you will face in the coming years. We firmly believe you are in a great place – some of the best science in the world, in plant and animal biology, is conducted here at UBC. Please feel free to ask for information, help, and support. Please feel free to let us know what additional resources and support you need, and we will do the best to accommodate your requests.

We hope that you waste no time in networking with your fellow graduate students. There is a wealth of knowledge, experience, wisdom, and good humour to draw upon from your peers. Moreover, we are sure that these interactions will also form the foundations of future friendships and mentorships that will impact your life, and graduate school experience.

One of the joys of graduate school is being in a community of people that love the natural world, that are in awe of the beauty of cells, organisms, and adaptations, and that treasure their chance to spend their time learning about biology. We hope that you embrace graduate school, and enjoy the pride that comes with the discovery of new data that has the potential to change how the world looks at a scientific problem.

May you also discover the satisfaction of communicating your interest in biology to students and sharing with them your enthusiasm and experience. Undergraduate teaching is one of the most important and rewarding activities carried out by faculty and students in the Departments of Botany and Zoology. The reputations of our Departments and the University, in large part, is reflected in our ability to capture the imaginations of our students. It is a privilege to provide students an atmosphere that is conducive to learning and to stimulate them to think big and solve real-world problems. As teaching assistants, you become a part of our teaching team and are important members of a larger community that has a mandate to inspire our undergraduate students.

We hope that you will find these sessions useful in providing you with the information, tools, and support you need to undertake this task, and we encourage you to let us know if there is anything further that we can do to assist you in being an effective instructor.

All the best,

Sean Mansfield                           Sunita Chowrira                              Vanessa Auld

Head Botany                    Associate Head Biology                   Head Zoology