CSE: Teaching and Language Kick-off (TALK) is an orientation program required of all College of Science and Engineering (CSE) students who seek to become Teaching Assistants (TAs) in the School of Mathematics. The orientation provides practical advice about teaching and many other topics.
The CSE: TALK program helps international graduate students develop the skills they will need as TAs at the University of Minnesota. It includes teaching practice, English for teaching and interaction, cultural expectations, and discipline-specific information to ensure success as a TA.
Details about the course are emailed to participants prior to the beginning of the program.
The organization that runs CSE: TALK, the Center for Educational Innovation, can be helpful to you as you adjust to your new home in the United States.
CSE: TALK Assessment
CSE: TALK ends with an assessment of teaching readiness, which will provide your English Language Proficiency (ELP) score. This assessment evaluates language as well as of other kinds of readiness ( e.g., cultural and pedagogical). You cannot teach if your score is too low. In that case, typically, you'll be assigned non-teaching work (paper grading and, possibly, tutoring) as you take coursework designed to bring your score up.
An international student whose ELP score doesn't reach the highest level (a "1") by the end of their first year will fall out of good standing and could lose their summer support.
There is some pressure to become a good teacher, but we provide many resources to help you succeed.
CSE: TALK Requirements
Students who accept their TA offer are required to participate in both the online and in-class component of CSE: TALK and arrive before the beginning of the in-class component of the program.
If you are unable to attend part of the CSE: TALK program
If you find that you must miss the beginning of CSE: TALK, we will need to renegotiate with you on a case-by-case basis. We try to be flexible about this, though there is usually some reduction in your CSE: TALK stipend. The program is important to your success as a TA, so please try to ensure that you can be here in time for the beginning of the orientation.
For More Information
The center offers many International TA Program Courses. For more information about the courses or CEI, visit the Center for Educational Innovation website, or You can contact CEI at 612-625-3041 or .