CSE TALK: Teaching and Language Kick-Off

CSE: TALK provides first-year international graduate students with discipline-specific information, teaching practice, and English appropriate to your needs as future teaching assistants. The program consists of a two-week in-person session preceded by a one-week online session. By participating in the program, you'll develop:

  • spoken English skills for U of M classroom teaching and interaction
  • discipline-specific teaching skills & learn about departmental expectations
  • responsiveness to U of MN student cultural expectations of TAs

Summer Components 2023 Dates

One week summer programs: Participants can choose one of the following online sessions: May 10-17, May 31-June 7, July 5-12, and July 19-26. The online component will take you approximately 20 hours to complete and is taught asynchronously. Participants will be sent registration information for the one week program in early May.

Two week in-person session: August 5-16. During this session, you'll practice your teaching and language skills, critique your own teaching practice, as well as receive feedback from experienced TAs, undergraduate students, and teaching & language specialists. Classes will be conducted in person on the Minneapolis campus. Students who arrive in Minnesota prior to August 5 will be eligible for a stipend of up to $500.

2024 reimbursement schedule

First attend on August 5-6 - $500
First attend on August 7-9 - $450
First attend on August 12 - $250
Thereafter - No stipend

To be eligible for the stipend, you must also successfully complete the pre-arrival online course.

NOTE: Stipends may be subject to U.S. payroll taxes.

When do I receive my stipend?

Each department handles this differently, so check with your department. Some departments pay soon after arrival; others wait until the end of the program. Departments that pay students before August 20 need to recognize that they will be reimbursed by the CSE Dean's office based on first attendance and absences per the schedule above. In other words, departments may be reimbursed for less than they pay to students.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I arrive in Minnesota?

You should plan to arrive before the start date of August 7, 2023.

What is the schedule for the entire orientation?
The August program will run from August 7-18. Visit the CSE: TALK schedule for more details.

Who is required to attend this orientation?
Most departments in the College of Science and Engineering require their new international graduate students to attend CSE: TALK, and have stated the requirement in their offer letters.
Why is CSE: TALK required?
Most participating departments need first-year graduate students to start teaching in their first semester. At the same time, the U of M has a spoken English requirement for all teaching assistants whose home language growing up was not English. The CSE: TALK orientation assists those who are already highly proficient English speakers with teaching skills and cultural adjustment, and promotes spoken English improvement for those who need it so they are more likely to be eligible to teach.
How is TA eligibility determined?
At the end of CSE: TALK, you'll perform a 13-minute teaching test during which your English is evaluated. Scores are converted into English Language Proficiency (ELP) Ratings.
Can departments exempt students from the CSE:TALK orientation?

Most departments (and students!) have found that the CSE: TALK program is valuable even for students whose English is highly proficient. That said, occasionally some departments do waive the requirement for students who have attended a similar orientation at another North American university or whose English is predicted to be proficient enough to pass the English test upon arrival. However, the University of Minnesota policy still requires these students to demonstrate English proficiency either through their ibTOEFL speaking score or their performance on the SETTA test, during which their English is evaluated. If you are in this situation, contact the Center for Educational Innovation at cei@umn.edu.

How do I register for CSE: TALK?
You'll be automatically registered by your department if you are required to attend. If you will be late or unable to attend, contact your department immediately. Students from departments outside the College of Science and Engineering may participate in CSE: TALK for a fee. For more information, contact Mary Jetter, CSE:TALK Coordinator.

Is there on-campus housing available for CSE: TALK participants?
Yes. You can apply for temporary housing through Housing and Residential Life's International Early Arrival Housing