Delta Program FAQs for Graduate Coordinators
What does Delta stand for?
Though the world of academia is inundated with acronyms of all shapes and sizes, “Delta” is not one of them. So while the letters don’t “stand” for anything specifically, Delta is proud to stand up for effective, evidenced-based, and inclusive teaching and mentoring. (See what we did there?)
Who can participate in Delta programming?
While our programming is designed specifically with graduate students and postdocs in mind, anyone affiliated with UW–Madison is welcome to participate in Delta offerings. This includes faculty, staff, dissertators, instructors, and students in professional degrees and certificate programs. Some offerings are audience-specific, such as Research Mentor Training sections for postdocs.
What kind of skills will participants gain from Delta programming?
Delta programming focuses on advancing participants’ skills as effective and inclusive teachers, mentors, and researchers. Much of our programming concentrates on skills for classroom contexts, and we also hold courses and workshops to build other skills, such as writing grant applications, communicating with lay audiences, and creating a CV that effectively demonstrates key skills and experiences. Our programming constantly evolves to meet the needs of our participants. For example, during the coronavirus pandemic, many of our offerings concentrated on online teaching and learning challenges and opportunities.
What are the other benefits of participating in Delta?
In addition to providing students with teaching and mentoring skills that can be demonstrated on a CV, we also provide participants with a welcoming, ever-growing community. Delta participants connect across all campus roles and disciplines who have in common a passion for inclusive and effective teaching and mentoring. Participants and alumni report that this Delta community has been vital for their personal and career satisfaction and success.
Said previous Delta participant Barbara Wendelberger, “I was so thankful to have made connections with different faculty and staff and other students who were talking about bigger ideas. They were talking about research and teaching and learning. They were talking about diversity and communities.”
Delta alum Kyriaki Chatzikyriakidou shares those feelings: “You will meet other people that may have the same mission as you, but they’re from other disciplines. So you’re going to hear different perspectives from the same topic.”
Hear more about the value of Delta.
Why would a student uninterested in a career in academia participate in Delta?
Teaching and mentoring skills are incredibly transferable to (and desirable in) nearly every profession. If someone has demonstrated a commitment to being an effective and inclusive teacher and mentor, they are also showing they have the abilities to plan, organize, communicate, facilitate, and collaborate with diverse colleagues.
Previous Delta participant Jake, who currently works as a Program Coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said, “I’ve found the professional skills I developed with Delta to be integral to the work I do.”
Similarly, Elizabeth, who is now a Postdoctoral Researcher at Argonne National Laboratory, found Delta professional development valuable on the job market: “I think that what I have learned about communicating and educating effectively and inclusively has been significant for me in my research, leadership, and job interviews, not just in teaching.”
Check out what some of our other participants have to say in our Alumni Snapshots.
My students are interested in the Internship and Certificate programs. Where can I find more information about these programs?
Please see our website pages devoted to the Delta Internship Program and the Delta Certificate Program that explain these programs in detail, each complete with its own set of FAQs listed at the bottom. If you have additional questions about the Delta Internship, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have additional questions about the Delta Certificate, contact Jessica Maher at email@example.com.
Will completion of the Delta Internship or Delta Certificate be noted on a participant's official transcript?
No — these Delta programs will not appear on a participant’s official UW–Madison transcript. We are happy to confirm or provide evidence of a participant’s completion of the Delta Internship and Delta Certificate upon request. Those courses that the participant elected to take for university credit will be on the transcript, as would any other class taken for university credit.
All over your website, I see mentions of Δ’s or deltas - what are these?
We use Δ’s (deltas) as units assigned to courses, which satisfy prerequisites for our Internship and Certificate programs. Participants can earn Δ’s by taking Delta, CIRTL, or WISCIENCE offerings, or other professional development as approved by staff. Most courses count as 1 or 2 Δ’s; all of our course listings indicate how many Δ’s one can earn by taking the course. Why do we call them ∆’s instead of “units” or “credits”? We can’t call them “credits” due to both university rules and the potential for confusion over transcript-able credits that participants may choose to earn by taking Delta courses.
Does participating in Delta slow down student progress in their research activities toward their degree?
While self-selection makes it challenging to know cause and effect here, there is evidence that participation in teaching professional development at least does not have any negative impact on graduate students’ research productivity, and might even be correlated with higher research output.
How much does it cost to participate in Delta programming?
Delta programming is free to anyone affiliated with UW–Madison. All courses are credit-optional; if a participant elects to take a Delta course for university credit, then regular tuition fees apply (which can be covered by tuition remission if applicable).
Does Delta do TA training?
Delta provides programming that can supplement departmental TA training and help TAs be more efficient and effective in their crucial role. Delta is a cross-disciplinary community that brings together TAs from across campus, providing rich discussions and ideas. If your department or course is interested in collaborating with Delta on customized TA-supporting activities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can Delta help us identify TAs or PAs for our courses?
Delta is willing and happy to advertise teaching and mentoring positions in our biweekly newsletter.
Are there ways we can inform folks about Delta without sending another email? Would Delta be willing to come talk to participants in my program?
Yes, definitely! Please just reach out to us at email@example.com. We can also provide Delta communications materials such as flyers or posters — custom-made for your context— upon request.
Explore the Delta website for more information, and view a digital brochure that serves as a great introduction to Delta's programming and mission. Don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Delta staff are happy to connect and value hearing from the graduate coordinator perspective!