Graduate Assistant and Graduate
Part Time Instructor Policies
The administration and enforcement of these policies are the responsibility of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. If you have any questions about a policy, its interpretation or enforcement please ask him or her as soon as possible.
In this document, regardless of their assignments, master’s level graduate assistants are referred to as Graduate Assistants (GAs) and doctoral level graduate assistants are referred to as Graduate Part Time Instructors (GPTIs).
Policies that apply both to GAs and to GPTIs
During the week preceding classes of the first semester of employment all GAs and GPTIs are required to attend an orientation. The date and time of this orientation will be determined by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.
GAs and GPTIs will be paid in monthly installments with the first payment made at the end of the first full month of employment.
Duration of Assistantship
GAs and GPTIs are typically hired in fall for one academic year or in summer or spring for one academic term. Renewal of their employment is contingent on their maintaining good academic standing and the quality of their performance in assigned duties. Maximum time of appointment for GAs and GPTIs are different and are detailed below. As used in this policy, good academic standing means that the student is neither on academic probation, under academic suspension, under academic scrutiny, nor enrollment abeyance. These terms are defined in a separate policy statement.
Summer appointments are not guaranteed and are contingent on the graduate assistant’s past performance, funding availability and the needs of the college.
This benefit is not funded by the College of Media & Communication.
All GAs and GPTIs must be full-time students and may not enroll in more coursework than will permit them to dedicate appropriate time and attention to their duties as GAs or GPTIs. Students must complete a total of 24 credit hours during the fall, spring and summer terms of the year of appointment. During the fall and spring terms minimum enrollment is 9 hours of graduate credit and maximum enrollment is 12 hours of graduate credit. During summer terms maximum enrollment is 9 hours of graduate credit (this maximum applies to the total credit for both summer sessions). Some limited exceptions to these minimums may be possible during the final term of a student’s graduate program and some limited exceptions to the maximums may be possible under extraordinary circumstances. Such exceptions can only be granted with the consent of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.
GAs and GPTIs may not have any other employment during the terms in which they are employed by the College of Media & Communication.
Except for GPTIs who are instructors of record, GAs and GPTIs must work 20 hours each week and must submit a time and hour report at the end of each week to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. During weeks of university holidays the time commitment from GAs and GPTIs is reduced in a ratio to the number of days of official holiday. The work obligation of GAs and GPTIs begins with the week preceding the first week of classes each semester and continues through the last day of the final examination period.
Obligation to Faculty Supervisor
During the week prior to the beginning of classes GAs and GPTIs must meet with the faculty members who will be supervising their assistantship. The purpose of these meetings is to establish assignments and expectations. Because it is the obligation of the GA or GPTI to meet these assignments and expectations he or she is advised to establish a clear understanding of the assignment and to request the faculty member to provide a written description of the assignment. For assistants who will serve as instructor of record, their faculty supervisor is the department chair responsible for the subject course.
Decorum and Collegiality
GAs and GPTIs are in the unusual position of simultaneously being employees, colleagues and students. They are therefore required to meet a high standard of decorum and collegiality. Specifically GAs and GPTIs should maintain civility and, where appropriate, deference in their interaction and communication with the faculty; a high standard of civility and cordiality in their communication with staff and their fellow graduate students; and a high standard of civility and fairness in their interactions with undergraduate students.
Respect for Diversity
The College of Media & Communication respects and encourages diversity within its academic community. All members of the college, including GAs and GPTIs, are required to show respect for and avoid criticism of the values, beliefs and cultures of others.
Standards of Dress
All GAs and GPTIs are required to dress appropriately for their assigned duties. For most tasks this means attire appropriate to a professional communications setting.
Use of College Equipment
GAs and GPTIs are prohibited from using college equipment that is not available to other graduate students for their own class work. This prohibition is imposed to ensure that all students compete equally for grades. Specifically, GAs and GPTIs should not use office printers and copy machines for their individual class work.
Policies Specific to GAsAssignments
GAs are typically not assigned as instructors of record but are assigned to assist faculty members with class administration duties such as maintaining attendance records and with research assistance. They may be assigned to provide assistance to more than one faculty member.
Maximum Term of Employment
Subject to conditions described above, the assistantships of GAs may be continued for up to four academic terms. If an assistantship is provided for a summer term that summer term does count as one of the four terms.
Partial Fee Waivers
GAs receive a partial fee waiver funded by the university, not by the College of Media & Communication. This waiver includes a waiver of out of state tuition and the waiver of most student fees.
Policies Specific to GPTIs
GPTIs may be assigned as instructors of record in a course and/or to assist with faculty research. They may be assigned to teach two sections in a semester but will most often be assigned to teach one section and to also provide research assistance to a faculty member. During the first semester in which a GPTI teaches, his or her entire assignment will be teaching one section.
Maximum Term of Employment
Subject to conditions described above the assistantships of GPTIs may be continued for up to three years. Summer appointments and assistance during these three years are not guaranteed and are contingent on available funding.
GPTIs receive a full waiver of student fees during the terms of employment (note that such waivers are not guaranteed during summers).
Policies that are unique to GAs or GPTIs who are serving as instructor of record
All graduate students who are teaching a course are required to use and follow a syllabus provided by their faculty supervisor. No deviation from this syllabus is permitted without the express permission of the faculty supervisor.
No graduate student instructor is permitted to cancel class without securing permission from his or her faculty supervisor. In the event an illness or emergency forces cancellation of a class, the graduate instructor should report the situation as soon as possible to the faculty supervisor and should make every reasonable effort to ensure that students are notified of the cancellation before they arrive for class.
As is the case with all untenured and adjunct faculty, classes taught by GPTIs will be observed by members of the tenured faculty. These observations may be unannounced but are usually done after consultation with the instructor to be observed.
University Class Policies
GPTIs are subject to the same class management policies as the faculty. These policies address student attendance and absences, student record confidentiality, sexual harassment, disabled student services and accommodations, grading, and academic integrity.