Resources for Chairs & Administrators

Teaching Assistantship Policies

Overview and Guidelines

Draft 3-March 2010

There are two ways to reward undergraduates for providing teaching assistance: (1) by paying them; (2) by granting them credit. This document discusses both of these situations.

Undergraduate Teaching Aides Program

As was the case for the present academic year, the College will have approximately $80,000 available to help fund Undergraduate Teaching Aides (UTAs) in courses for the next academic year; generally these students will be assigned to large, introductory lecture courses. College sponsored UTAs are paid $12 per hour, which means that we can fund about 50 Aides over the course of the year. We envisage the typical UTA working about nine hours per week over the course of 15 weeks for a total of approximately 135 hours per semester. Departments should make requests for UTAs on their Resource Templates.

Departments should advertise their positions, and they should establish a process and a set of criteria for selecting students. Final decisions about who to appoint should be left to the departmental chair, but instructors must be consulted and cannot have UTAs imposed on them. Departments should provide the Dean's Office with a list of its UTAs at the beginning of each semester. Below are some suggested hiring criteria.

Granting Students Course Credit

If the student's duties focus on the following, perhaps granting course credit is preferable.

  1. Learning to prepare and deliver a classroom lecture, discussion, or exercise
  2. Reading articles and/or books on teaching and pedagogy
  3. Engaging in discussions with the instructor and other teaching assistants on teaching and pedagogy or on topics from the class
  4. Writing a paper: For 200-level credit, the College strongly encourages faculty to include a writing component to the teaching assistantship. The topic of the writing is up to the instructor. Some instructors require reflection papers that may include the student's experience and broader discussions of pedagogy; others require a more traditional research paper on one of the class topics.

If credit is given, departments need to think about whether the number of such credits applicable toward the major or minor should be limited. For example, some minors require just 3 credits at the 200-level. We do not think it is a good idea for a student to be able to fulfill such a requirement by being a teaching assistant.