Funding Policies and Procedures
This page incorporates policies and procedures established by the university trustees, campus administration, and those set forth in the negotiated collective bargaining agreement between the university and the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO). These supersede previous procedures and guidelines as well as previous policies on these matters. All assistantships require the approval of the Graduate Program Director of the student’s home department. Specific questions should be addressed to the Assistantship Office, 517 Goodell Building.
Types of Graduate Assistantships
A teaching assistant (TA) has one or more of the following responsibilities in courses for which the teaching assistant does not have primary responsibility:
- Coordinate, lead, or assist in the instructional process, in preparation and direct interaction, with students in lab, discussion, quiz, or problem sessions
- Meet with students and teach during office hours
- Grade papers
- Grade and proctor exams
- Supervise undergraduate interns
- Counsel students
- Administer colloquium programs
A TA may have additional related duties as assigned.
In addition to positions in academic departments and in the Division of Continuing Education, teaching assistants (and teaching associates) may be hired for instructional programming approved for and funded by non-academic departments. An example is the three-credit Peer Sex Education course, designed and offered by University Health Services and credited to the Public Health Department. Under no circumstance may a teaching assistant’s responsibilities include duties that are unrelated to instructional effort, e.g., clerical, administrative, or even research-type activities. A non-academic department must first have met institutional review requirements for an instructional program before it can appoint teaching assistants.
A teaching associate (TO) is responsible for the teaching and grading of a course. Teaching associate positions, like the TA positions, can be paid from any funding source.
A research assistant (RA) assists in conducting research of a scholarly nature, normally under faculty supervision. The work of a research assistant can include, but is not limited to, the gathering and analyses of data, the development of theoretical analyses and models, and the production or publication of scholarly journals and research reports that are primarily for their own research, and are secondarily for the benefit of the university, faculty, academic staff supervisor, or granting agency.
A project assistant (PA) is similar to a research assistant, but a PA is a graduate student who performs work primarily for the benefit of the university, faculty, or academic staff supervisor, and secondarily for the graduate student’s own research. Similar to an RA, a PA must do work related to academic research.
An internship is an on-campus assistantship that is awarded to a student who is gaining practical experience that directly augments their classroom studies. In some departments, internships are required for graduation. Internships must be specifically designed to support and enrich a student’s academic experience. Interns cannot fill regular staff positions or substitute for consulting services.
Examples of acceptable internships include:
- A School of Management major designing the accounting system of a department or trust fund
- An anthropology or sociology major designing or implementing demographic analyses for the Office of Institutional Research and Planning
- A computer science or engineering student designing and implementing computer-based applications to support academic, research, or administrative needs
- An art major designing a patient waiting room for University Health Services
Examples of unacceptable internships include:
- Service activities such as cashiering, stock work, or clerical work
- Employment of a student whose major is unrelated to the work: i.e., a French major designing a budget system, even if that French major has exceptional skills in budgeting
An award made to assist a student in the pursuit of his/her studies or research, usually with no requirement for service or performance.
An award made to assist a student in the pursuit of his/her studies or research, sometimes with and sometimes without the requirement of service or performance, but usually limited to a specific discipline by the granting agency.
Assistant Residence Director (ARD)
A graduate student employed by Residential Life and who is required, as a condition of employment as an ARD to reside in university-assigned housing. The job duties and responsibilities of the ARD can be obtained from Residential Life.