Mentorship for HDFS graduate instructors: A model for teaching the teachers


graduate instructors, teaching, mentorship, training, family science


The article provides an overview of a graduate teaching assistant/instructor (GI) program in Human Development and Family Studies department. The program occurs over an academic year (Summer, Fall, Spring) in an effort to transition graduate students into their teaching responsibilities as instructors. The program contains both individual and group training components. The program is designed to integrate the best practices from the 'sink or swim', individualized mentorship, and manual approaches to graduate instructor teaching preparation. More specifically, the program utilizes: (a) a manual and syllabus template to increase consistency in adherence to department/university policy and state/federal law; (b) supervised practicums in which graduate students receive small-group or individual training in teaching skills (e.g., lectures, exam preparation, classroom management) prior to independent teaching; and (c) independent teaching, supplemented with observation from faculty mentors and consultation with the departments' Associate Chair. The program is reviewed and refined annually by the Associate Chair and Department Chair, using a continuous improvement perspective to guide the GI program.

Original Publication Citation

Fitzpatrick, J., & Busby, D. M. (2007). Mentorship for HDFS graduate instructors: A model for teaching the teachers. Journal of Teaching Marriage and Family, 6, 54-80.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Teaching in Marriage and Family




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor