Training Seminar for Statistics TAs
STAT 2020

Offered each Fall semester, 1 credit
Department of Statistics
University of Pittsburgh

Time/Place Friday afternoons Posvar 1811, plus Stat Lab Posvar 1201 for software instruction
Instructor Dr. Nancy Pfenning
Office Posvar 1808
Phone 412-624-1674 (secretary) or 412-624-8280 (administrator)
  521-8349 (home, if urgent, before 10pm)
  624-8336 (during office hours)
Office Hours TBA; see my course websites for current semester
  additional hours by appointment


This is a discussion-oriented seminar which touches on the most important aspects of teaching recitations, with an emphasis on issues which arise in teaching Statistics recitations at Pitt. Experienced Stat TAs contribute to the discussions, offering guidance and addressing new TAs' concerns. Teaching demonstrations are carried out by Dr. Pfenning (second week) and class members (subsequent weeks).


  • 8 (approx.) two-hour sessions fall semester
  • 1 two-hour session following semester


Session 1: MINITAB/Excel Training in Stat Lab
Session 2:
  • introductions
  • demonstrations of flawed and improved recitation segments, each followed by discussion

Sessions 3-5:
  • 30 to 45 minute discussion of reading from TA Handbook excerpts
  • written responses to Handbook issues handed in
  • recitation demonstrations, each followed by written comments (students subsequently receive copies of these comments, plus a summary by Dr. Pfenning)
  • last session concludes with survey about seminar itself
Sessions 6-?:
  • continue recitation demonstrations until completed
  • discussion of classroom experiences by teaching TAs
Following Semester:
  • informal discussion of OMET teaching evaluations

Participants include:

  • new Stat grad students teaching for Statistics
  • grad students from other departments teaching for Statistics
  • new Stat grad students who are potential TAs waiting to pass language requirement, or want to improve speaking skills

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