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Graduate Assistantships

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Graduate students may be appointed by the Department of English to Graduate Assistantships (Teaching) or Graduate Teaching Fellowships, to perform work in areas of the Department's teaching, or to Graduate Assistantships (Trust) to work with a faculty member on research, or to Graduate Assistantships (Non-teaching) [PDF] to perform research or service work. In recognition of the contributions made by teaching assistants, two Graduate Assistant Teaching Awards are presented each year.

A full unit of GA(T/NT) funding implies duties averaging no more than 12 hours per week over a single term (17 weeks). A half unit of GA(T/NT) funding implies duties averaging no more than six hours per week over a single term. Individual appointees shall be provided with a clear statement, in writing, of their duties, which include precise performance expectations, prior to each unit of service. A copy of these statements is to be kept in the student's file in the Department and will be made available to the Faculty of Graduate Studies on request. Departments must be sensitive to the academic/scholarly workload of holders of graduate student employment.

Graduate Assistantship (Teaching)

GA(T)s are appointed to assist the instructor of record in all aspects of teaching an undergraduate course. Such instructional service might include assisting with lectures, being available during office hours, grading assignments, and other related academic duties.

Supervising faculty members of TAs are obliged to prepare a written statement outlining the division of teaching, marking duties, the scheduling of office hours, and attendance at selected lectures before the start of the TA's teaching period; the TA has an obligation to be available for such discussion. The Head of Department must be provided with a copy of the duties assigned to each TA, signed by TAs and supervising faculty members, at the beginning of each course to which TAs have been assigned. Pursuant to University Policy, a teaching assistant must not be required to mark course components, the cumulative weight of which, at a maximum, is more than 50% of the final grade of a given course. Moreover, the assigning of the final grade must remain the non-delegable responsibility of individual faculty members or sessional lecturers.

Because GA(T) duties constitute an apprenticeship, TAs should, from time to time, invite the supervising faculty member to observe their teaching. The faculty member and the TA should subsequently discuss the teaching performance in a constructive spirit. GA(T)s may ask teaching supervisors for letters of evaluation at the end of each term.

The Department also encourages TAs to contact to Rofina Groebmair arrange to have their students fill out evaluations of their teaching. (The Faculty of Arts prescribes forms to be used for the improvement and evaluation of teaching.) Completed evaluations are the property of the GA(T) but are held by the Department until final grades are submitted. Potential employers often ask to see such evaluations.

Graduate Assistantship (Trust)

Remuneration for GA(Trust) will not be less than $12 or more than $18 per hour.

GA(TRUST)s are research assistantships awarded by faculty members who hold research grants. Faculty members will select graduate research assistants, in consultation with the Associate Head (Graduate Programs), on the basis of suitability to the work required and academic qualifications, including progress in program. Faculty members must prepare a written Offer of Appointment to a Graduate Assistantship (Trust) which includes a description of:

  • Research tasks or service duties. Any duties subsequently defined should not require more work hours than originally agreed upon without an appropriate agreement for remuneration agreed to by the student.
  • Whether the GA(Trust) is renewable or not, and if it is, for how many terms
  • The stipend attached to the award
  • How and when payments will be made
  • The graduate student employment is taxable as per prevailing levels and interpretation
  • The expectations of performance, hours expected, and conditions of work

A copy of the Offer of Appointment to a Graduate Assistantship (Trust) must be given to the Trust Student and a copy kept in the student's file in the Department. A copy of the pertinent section of the Graduate Student Assistantship Schedule [PDF] shall be enclosed with the offer of appointment and another given to the trust holder. The regulations in the Assistant Schedule must be adhered to.

When a Trust Holder is both the employer of a Trust appointee and the academic supervisor of that appointee, then the Trust Holder has the dual responsibility to ensure that these responsibilities do not conflict.

Intellectual property rights of graduate students must be respected. Results of any research carried out may be used in the Trust Student's thesis. Any other expectation must be made clear to the student at the outset. For policies on intellectual policy, refer to the Office of Research Services.

The Graduate Assistant Teaching Awards

At the end of the academic year, a GA(T) may apply for one of the two graduate student teaching awards (one for masters students, one for doctoral students).

Application requires the following:

  • Letter of application addressed to the Head and delivered to Barb Howe;
  • One set of student evaluations;
  • Letter of support from the teaching supervisor.