years at UNC doesn't necessarily mean students suffer, officials say. "Some of the best teachers 1 had were TAs, and I thought some of the best eaching 1 did was as a TA," said former provost Richardson, who worked with undreds ofgrad student instructors in his years as a political science professor at UNe."It is a misconception that young means green and not good." Conversely, grad students often trump faculty members when it comes to tech- nology and taking risks in the classroom, Bailey said. "These are the students who will take what you can do with technology and go with it," she said. "It's often the TAs who get a department interested in looking at a particular course or curriculum." Bailey recalls the story of a freshman who was dreading her introductory chemistry course. But the TA leading the young woman's lab section was animated and engaging, and by the middle of the semester, the student had called her mother to say she was considering switching her major to chemistry. "That's the kind of influence that our TAs can have," she said. "They're our connection to recruiting people to our disciplines." The reason may be that grad students erve as "in-between thinkers:' said Degitz of CTL. They can foster a closer connection between faculty and students because they occupy a sort of middle ground themselves, she said. "They tend to be a lot more intimately in touch with what a student experience is like." Some students can vouch for that claim. During her first semester last fall, freshman Meg McEvoy had a great expe- rience with her French TA. The woman listened to student concerns with the understanding ofsomeone who was not far removed from being an undergraduate herself, McEvoy said. Yet McEvoy encountered the flip side of the TA experience with her communi- cation studies instructor. She said she believed this TA initially was unreasonable in his expectations of the freshman class; he spoke casually with his students but hen graded them overly hard, she said. "I was a little bit bitter," she said."I was like, 'Oh, he's just a grad student. Why am I
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