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For Instructors

Teaching Associate Employment

The Writing Program invites current graduate students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and those applying to graduate school here to become Teaching Associates (TO) with the Writing Program. The Writing Program employs TOs primarily through a long-standing partnership with the English Department but also hires graduate student instructors from departments across campus, such as Afro-American Studies, Comparative Literature, Political Science, Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, and the College of Education.  

A full TOship in the Writing Program typically involves teaching three sections of Englwrit 112: College Writing or Englwrit 111: Writing, Power, and Identity over the course of the academic year (usually two sections one semester and one section the other). Each section has no more than fifteen students. TOs benefit from three semesters of faculty mentorship and ongoing professional development during their time teaching the program.

Application Process

Each year, in consultation with departments’ Graduate Program Directors, the Writing Program hires 25-35 new Teaching Associates. Initial offers are usually made before the April 15 deadline for graduate study in the following academic year. Applicants who do not receive a Teaching Associate position from the Writing Program but still pursue graduate study at UMass Amherst are welcome to apply again the following year.

Applicants must 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
  • A response to a sample student essay

Applicants who are accepted into their graduate program and apply to a Writing Program position will be contacted by Writing Program faculty who will extend an opportunity to interview. Interviews are a lively conversation about applicants’ thoughts on the writing process, their teaching aims, and their experiences that might prove valuable in the classroom.

Applications are judged on the following criteria:

  • interest in and commitment to the teaching of writing and to undergraduate students’ development as writers;
  • knowledge of and compatibility with the Writing Program’s philosophy of writing instruction and program values;
  • openness and adaptability towards the Writing Program curriculum;
  • insight into the writing process — ability to articulate both the complexity and the excitement of writing;
  • professionalism — indications of reliability, collegiality, responsibility; and
  • experience teaching or tutoring a diverse range of writers with varying backgrounds, preparation, and abilities.


Applications for Writing Program TOships are due by December 15 of each year for the following academic year’s employment.

For Prospective TOs who are not currently enrolled

Prospective TOs can download the application in Word format or in PDF format, and upload the completed application to the "Add Materials" tab in the Graduate Admissions Portal. Applicants must submit this application alongside their application to Graduate School.

For UMass Graduate Students who are currently enrolled

UMass Graduate Students who are currently enrolled may download the application in Word format or in PDF format, and email their completed application to Heidi Terault.