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The Writing Program at UMass Amherst offers a number of graduate Teaching Associateships for teaching Englwrit 111: Basic Writing and Englwrit 112/112H: College Writing.
ELIGIBILITY. Current graduate students at UMass Amherst are welcome to apply for Teaching Associateships in the Writing Program. We have a long-standing relationship with the UMass Amherst English Department, and most of our Teaching Associates (TOs) are MFA and MA/PhD students in English. We do occasionally offer TOships to MA/PhD students in other graduate programs at UMass Amherst.
We generally do not hire lecturers but, for unexpected changes (e.g., sudden enrollment increases), we may hire part-time lecturers on a short-term basis. For those positions, we typically hire recent MFA/PhD graduates of this University who already have experience and a successful record of teaching in our Program.
We do not staff Junior Year Writing courses. For information on those positions, contact the JYW representatives from departments directly.
TEACHING ASSOCIATESHIP POSITIONS IN THE WRITING PROGRAM. A full TOship in the Writing Program typically involves teaching three (3) sections of Basic or College Writing over the course of the academic year (that is, two sections one semester and one section the other). TOs participate in extensive training before and during their first year of employment in the Program. For more information, see Teaching Resources, which also includes a link to our Instructor's Handbook.
In 2015-16, TOships in the Writing Program carry an annual stipend of $18,528.80, which includes remission of most tuition and fees and enrollment in a health care plan. Information on graduate student fees and graduate student employment at UMass Amherst can be found at the websites of the UMass Amherst Graduate Assistantship Office and the UMass Amherst Graduate Employee Organization (GEO).
TOships are renewable up to a certain number of semesters (depending on the graduate program) barring unforeseen budgetary circumstances and given satisfactory progress towards degree and satisfactory teaching performance.
APPLICATION PROCESS. The application process for TOships is competitive! Each year, in consultation with the relevant Graduate Program Directors, we hire 25-35 new TOs, but we typically receive three to four times that number of applications--mostly from prospective graduate students in English but also from currrent graduate students in English and other departments at UMass Amherst.
Applicants provide a curriculum vitae of their academic and employment history, letters of recommendation, an expository writing sample, a short answer to a question about effective teaching, and a response to a sample student essay. Applicants who are accepted into their graduate program and who are deemed acceptable by the Writing Program are then interviewed, either in person or by telephone (we do not guarantee an interview to all applicants).
Initial offers for new TOships for the following academic year are usually made well before the April 15 deadline for acceptance to graduate study at UMass Amherst. Applicants who do not receive a TOship from the Writing Program but decide to come study at the University anyway are welcome to apply again the following year, though there is no guarantee that a TOship will be offered then. Not all returning applicants are re-interviewed.
Applications are judged on the following criteria:
interest in and commitment to the teaching of writing and to our students’ development as writers;
knowledge of and compatibility with the Writing Program’s philosophy of writing instruction — or indications of a philosophy of teaching and writing which complements that of the Writing Program;
openness and adaptability towards the Writing Program curriculum and different styles of teaching and learning;
insight into the writing process — ability to articulate both the complexity and the excitement of writing;
professionalism — indications of maturity (ability to handle a class), reliability, collegiality, responsibility; and
experience — teaching, tutoring, and/or experience working with diverse populations, including L2 writers and students with disabilities.
Applications are due December 15, 2015 (preferred deadline); final submission deadline is February 1, 2016. Applications from prospective graduate students who will enroll in Fall 2016 should be sent to the MFA program or PhD program in the Department of English.