Teaching assistants program

Program Overview | Training and Development | Roles/Responsibilities

Welcome to the Teaching Assistant Program in Statistics and Actuarial Science

The Teaching Assistant (TA) Program encompasses all aspects related to graduate teaching assistantships, including training, assignments, evaluations/performance management and awards.

In collaboration with the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE), we offer the Foundations in University Teaching in Statistics and Actuarial Science training program which provides sequential levels of training to graduate TAs. Our training helps graduate students further develop their teaching and TA skills with a unique focus on Statistics and Actuarial Science courses and material. Upon completion of the program, participants:

  • receive a Certificate of Completion issued jointly by the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science and the Centre for Teaching Excellence,
  • receive a Letter of Experience from the department outlining their participation in the training program with details on the training received and practicum experiences.
  • are eligible to apply to be a TA Coordinator.
  • are eligible to apply to teach an undergraduate course within the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science.

Additionally, completion of our program also covers all workshop (and potentially up to 2 of the microteaching) requirements for CTE’s Fundamentals of University Teaching program. That means you can complete this second certificate program with minimal time commitments.

Assignment Process

As a SAS graduate student, TA units are often assigned to help support you in funding your education. The assignments are determined in collaboration with the Associate Graduate Chair, the SAS graduate staff and the TA program team. Our program considers both graduate student preferences and instructor preferences to help determine the best possible assignment of our TAs to our courses.   

Timeline of the TA Assignments

The process for assigning your course(s) as a TA begins the term prior to your TAship. This process begins about 2 months prior to the start of term and ends about 1 week before classes begin.

  1. Instructor TA Duty Preference Form: Instructors fill out a form with their preferrred TA duties, responsibilities, and expectations
  2. Graduate Student TA Preference Form: SAS graduate students fill out their preferences and qualifications as a TA. This includes courses, TA duties, and Foundations training progression (e.g., Level 1 designation).
  3. Instructor TA Preference Form: Instructors receive the list of graduate students interested in being a TA for their course(s) and provide their preferences on which TAs would best fit their course(s).
  4. Preliminary Assignment: Our TA assignment database performs preliminary TA assignments based on the results from the various forms
  5. Final Assignment: Final adjustments are made by the team and TA assignments are sent out with the Letter of Appointment.

**Please note that this timeline is approximate. Timing can change for a variety of reasons including changes in available TA funding. If you have questions, please email Divya Lala.

TA Program team

Chelsea and Divya are responsible for the delivery and coordination of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science’s Foundations in University Teaching in Statistics and Actuarial Science training program. If you have questions regarding the program, please see the Training and Development page and/or email sas-ta-program@uwaterloo.ca.

Chelsea Uggenti

Chelsea Uggenti is a Lecturer in the Statistics and Actuarial Science department. She graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a BA in Mathematics and from The University of Western Ontario with a MSc and PhD in Statistics. Chelsea served as an instructional assistant and teaching assistant for 8 years as both an undergraduate and graduate student. Her doctoral research includes investigating graduate teaching assistant training and development in the mathematical and statistical sciences. Chelsea is driven to assist in the training of teaching assistants – focusing on discipline-specific training – and aims to provide pathways for graduate students to develop their teaching identity.

Grace Tompkins

Grace Tompkins is a Ph.D. Candidate in Biostatistics. She graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a BSc in Mathematics and from the University of Waterloo with a MMATH in Biostatistics. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate careers, she has served as a teaching assistant for numerous courses. Grace also recently completed a term as a Sessional Instructor at the University of Waterloo, teaching STAT 337 - Introduction to Biostatistics. She is passionate about mathematical education, specifically in creating accessible and supportive learning environments for all students.  

Divya Lala is an Instructional Support Coordinator in the SAS department. She has a BMATH from the University of Waterloo and an MSc in Mathematics and Statistics from Queen’s University with research in math education. Recognizing the important role teaching assistants play in the success of courses, she is passionate in supporting graduate students to help make their first experiences in teaching fulfilling.


  • What should I expect as a TA for the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science (SAS)?
    • All SAS TAs are expected to adhere to Policy 30. Your roles and responsibilities will depend on the course(s) you are assigned, but duties can include proctoring, marking, discussion forum monitoring and running tutorials.
  • When should I expect to hear about my assigned course(s) as a TA?
    • TA units are assigned about 1 week prior to the start of the new term. A breakdown of the TA assignment process can be found in our Assignment Process section.
  • Who is the certificate training program for?
    • All SAS teaching assistants can take part in the certificate training program. If you are interested in exploring a possible career in teaching or simply interested in enhancing your skills as a TA, this training is a great first step! Visit our Training and Development section for more information.
  • How do I get the opportunity to teach a course as a graduate student?
    • Graduate students who are interested in teaching a course must complete either the certificate training program or MATH 900, more information in our Pathways section.