University of Vermont

Office of Community-University Partnerships & Service Learning

Bekah Gordon at Shelburne Farms, working as a Service-Learning TA in an Environmental Studies course.

Service-Learning TA Program

Since 2003, CUPS has placed over 170 SL-TAs in service-learning courses at UVM. Students receive training in SL pedagogy, and gain valuable leadership and teaching experience.

What do SL-TA’s do?

SL-TA’s are hired by the CUPS Office to assist in Service-Learning courses across campus.  Typically, TAs work for an average of 5 hours/week during the semester.  SL-TAs are hired to work on the Service-Learning component of the course ONLY, not to serve as a general TA for the course.  In this capacity, TAs might help recruit community partners, facilitate & grade reflection, or assist with project management.  For international SL courses, TAs will also travel with the students.  Most typically, SL-TA’s facilitate discussion and critical reflection, helping students to connect their service or community-engaged work to the learning goals of the course.

What are the program requirements?

SL-TA’s are required to:

  • attend an orientation (2 hours) the previous semester
  • meet with their supervising  faculty & a CUPS staff member, in order to prepare an official job description of their specific TA responsibilities
  • attend training sessions during the semester of service related to their specific TA responsibilities
  • attend 2 additional professional development opportunities during the semester of service
  • provide a photo, bio and student work or other materials from the semester of service
  • serve as the liaison between CUPS and the SL course
  • fill out appropriate paperwork and report hours in a timely manner (if receiving a stipend)
  • write a short reflection upon completion of the TA-ship
How are SL-TA’s paid or compensated?

Academic credit, Work-Study or paid stipends of up to $750 are available, depending upon the course.

GRADUATE STUDENTS: THIS IS NOT A GRADUATE COLLEGE TA-SHIP AND DOES NOT INCLUDE TUITION REMISSION.  In particular, graduate students already on stipends will need to be paid via additional pay forms, and should confirm their eligibility to take on additional work at the University BEFORE applying to the program.

The CUPS Office can offer up to 5 stipends of $750 per semester, which are awarded primarily to faculty who have completed training through the CUPS Office.  Additionally, students may use their work-study award for their SL-TA position (up to the hours allotted), or students may receive academic credit.  Typically, the 5-hours a week of SL-TA work translates to 1-2 credits.  Students are responsible for identifying appropriate credit options in their home department, as the CUPS Office does not offer a credit-bearing course at this time.

What is the hiring process?

SL-TAs fill out an application, providing information about availability, reason for seeking an SL-TA position, and service background.  A resume can be helpful. Please click here to access the SL-TA application.

Faculty often encourage students to apply who have previously taken their SL course; if the faculty specifically requests that student by name, we will usually hire the student immediately.

For courses, where there are no requests, we create a candidate pool from the applicants, after careful review of applicants’ courses, major, service background and academic strength.  The candidate pools are also based upon student interest, so we simultaneously poll students to determine interest levels in particular courses.  We offer candidate pools to faculty; they are given a few days to rank their choices, and these rankings, in combination with student preferences, determine the ultimate placements.   Students may be placed in several candidate pools, based upon their stated interests.

What is the timeline?

SL-TAs must apply by the deadline in the 6th week of the semester (see website for exact deadlines).  The hiring process takes place after that.  You can expect to hear from us by the 9th week of the semester, and we will schedule the initial orientation towards the end of the semester.  Responding promptly to emails from our office greatly assists the process of matching applicants to courses.

Can I choose which course I TA for?

Our matching process takes into account student preferences, but there are often many more applicants than positions.  Please be honest about whether you would accept a particular course or not, but recognize that the more courses you would accept, the greater your chances of being hired.

How can I increase my chances of becoming an SL-TA?

If you are eager to become a TA, there are some ways you can increase your chances of being matched with a course.

  1. Talk with professors of existing SL courses about your interest in advance. Professors may request specific students to serve as TA’s.
  2. Be willing to take academic credit or work-study instead of the stipend.  Requests for TAs often exceed our budget for stipends.
  3. Choose as many possible courses as you would be willing to TA for in our interest poll.
  4. Fill out the application with as much detail as possible, and respond promptly to any communications from the CUPS Office regarding possible placements.

Still have questions?

Please contact Tom Wilson, CUPS Program Coordinator, at (802) 656-3883, or We can also answer questions at the Career & Experience Hub in the Davis Center during CUPS drop-in hours — come see us!

Last modified August 14 2014 11:00 AM