We are striving to make your arrival and first few weeks at Syracuse University as smooth and enjoyable as possible. It is essential that you read all this information very carefully to ensure that you make all preliminary preparations and bring all the pertinent materials with you when you come to the University.


August 2016 TA Orientation



August 12-15. This time will be devoted exclusively to the needs of our new international teaching assistants (ITAs). Seminars such as “Undergraduates at SU” and “Addressing Your Concerns as an ITA” will be offered, as well as English-language testing and instruction. You will have an opportunity to meet other graduate students and become familiar with University resources and the community.

August 16-18. The general portion of the orientation program offers a mix of concurrent and large-group sessions on various topics designed to prepare graduate students for their roles as teaching assistants (TAs). ITAs attend this portion of the program as well.

August 19-20. Slutzker Center for International Services (SCIS) Orientation.

August 22-26 Departmental orientations occur within this time frame.

Please register for the orientation.


Arriving in Syracuse

If you arrive by:

AIRPLANE: Syracuse Hancock International Airport is about a 15-minute drive from campus.

TRAIN or BUS: The William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center (RTC) is served by Amtrak, Greyhound, Trailways, and Megabus. The RTC is about a 10-minute drive from campus. Centro buses (city bus) run from the RTC to campus on a regular basis.
COMMUTERS: Information about parking permits may be found at the parking website: All permits are issued at Parking Services located at 621 Skytop Office Building on South Campus and require a valid driver’s license, car registration, your SU ID number and your appointment letter.

Please note that there will be limited bus transportation between Main Campus and South Campus before the start of classes. Specific times and locations will be available at orientation registration. The summer 2016 bus schedule is also available online at:

To help you navigate campus, please download our Campus Map. There are also numerous map signs located around campus. Additional campus maps can be found on the Syracuse University Maps Page.


Identification and Health Records

Slutzker Center for International Services (SCIS)
Please read through the information found online at As soon as you arrive on campus, you should go to the Slutzker Center for International Services (SCIS), located at 310 Walnut Place, and bring your passport, I-20 or form DS-2019, and I-94.

Health Insurance and Immunization
Make sure to review the sections regarding Health Insurance, Health Forms and Immunizations at

Some form of health insurance is essential in the United States, and required of all international students and their dependents by Syracuse University. As a Syracuse University teaching assistant, you will have the opportunity to sign up for one of several health insurance plans that the university offers to employees, or for coverage through SCIS. You will have an opportunity to sign-up for a plan and ask any questions that you may have on Friday, August 12, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. This is tentatively scheduled at this time. Please check schedule when you arrive.

Please note that new students must complete both the Health Form and the Meningitis Legislation Requirement Form. Both forms can be downloaded from the web at:

If you need further information, contact:

Syracuse University Health Services
111 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York 13244-2320

You may also find useful information on the Health Services website.



Finding Permanent Housing
Because there is very little time during the orientation, you should plan to allocate two or three days BEFORE the orientation to find a suitable residence for the 2016-17 academic year. Contact your academic department to get in contact with current graduate students who may know more about local housing opportunities in the university community.

Contact the offices below for more information about apartment options both on and off campus.

Temporary TA Orientation Housing
By the start of the orientation, you should be established in your permanent housing.  Should you need temporary housing during the TA orientation, please complete the ITA Housing Request. The TA Program will pay for your temporary housing  at  Booth Hall on August 10 and August 11 only. Housing DURING the orientation will be at your own expense. The room fee is approximately $54.65 per night.

Please check out of Booth Hall once you have obtained permanent housing and give your new address information to your department (including your name, new address, phone, and move-in date).


The TA Orientation Program

Teaching Mentors
A team of experienced teaching assistants, selected on the basis of their outstanding performance in the classroom, have been designated Teaching Mentors and will serve as the program’s core instructional staff. Each new TA will be assigned to a small discussion group led by a Teaching Mentor.

All TA Orientation participants will be expected to make a brief presentation to other TAs in their small group.  This presentation will be videotaped, after which you will have the opportunity to receive helpful and constructive feedback from your peers and Teaching Mentors.

ITAs will go through this exercise in both the international and general portions of the program.

To prepare for this exercise, please do the following before you arrive:

  • Pick a topic that would normally be discussed in an introductory course in your discipline. Assume that you will have a general audience who knows very little about your subject.
  • Next, prepare a 5-minute presentation on this topic. You might explain a basic concept, illustrate the application of a concept, or define a problem. Whiteboards and overhead projectors will be available for your use. Classroom computers and video projectors are available in most rooms.


Exemption from Language Assessment and/or the International TA Orientation Program

Because we recognize that some activities during the international portion of the orientation will not be applicable to all ITAs, we offer exemption options for those who meet certain criteria, as follows.

  1. ITAs may be exempted from English Language Proficiency testing (scheduled for Monday, August 15) if they speak English as a native language OR demonstrate strong oral English proficiency as judged by a Syracuse University language specialist.
  2. ITAs may be exempted from the cultural programming portions of the orientation (August 12-14) if they have lived in the United States and studied for a minimum of one year in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at an American college or university.

If you believe you qualify and would like to apply for exemption, please complete the Language Assessment/ITA Orientation Exemption Request Form as soon as possible, but no later than July 27, 2016.

Note: The exemption option is available ONLY for the international portion of the TA Orientation Program. All TAs are required to attend the general portion of the orientation, August 16-18 and the Slutzker Center for International Services (SCIS) Orientation August 19-20.

The TA Orientation Program has been instituted by mandate of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees. Attendance is mandatory for all first-time teaching assistants.