University of Vermont

College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences

Department of Plant and Soil Science

Teaching Experience/Requirement

All graduate students on a teaching or research assistantship must participate in the teaching program in the Plant and Soil Science Department. This requirement cannot be waived. The minimum teaching requirement is: one semester for a M.S. student, two semesters for a Ph.D. student. Students who pursue both the M.S. and Ph.D. degree must participate during each degree program. Those students on a research assistantship will be switched to a teaching assistantship so they can complete a semester on a teaching assistantship (and thus not impact the use of research funds for non-research endeavors during that semester). Students on assistantship should work closely with their advisory committee, their Graduate Coordinator and the Chair of PSS to determine their teaching responsibilities when crafting their Graduate Degree Program Outline. The Department considers the teaching experience an important component of the student’s overall professional development.

Graduate students who are self-funded or who are working for UVM and using their benefits to pay for courses do not have to TA a full course but should be exposed to teaching activities (academic or extension/outreach) and be so documented and approved by the student's advisory committee. If a graduate student desires to TA a course for a much "richer" teaching experience than just guest lecturing on occasion, and with the approval of their Graduate Advisory Committee, graduate credit can be assigned for this activity.

The purpose of a teaching experience is to give the student a chance to develop their skills as a educator. Students’ involvement will include more than just grading of tests, taking of attendance, and cleaning up of labs. Each student will be given the opportunity to conduct a lecture or laboratory session. Students generally assist with courses taught by their major advisor. If the major advisor does not have an active teaching component to their appointment, the student will be requested to assist another faculty member in a related field in the Plant and Soil Science Department.

Courses often requiring teaching assistants include but are not limited to:

  • PSS 010 Home and Garden Horticulture
  • PSS 021 Introduction to Ecological Agriculture
  • PSS 106 Entomology and Pest Management
  • PSS 124 Vegetable Crops
  • PSS 125 Woody Landscape Plants
  • PSS 138 Commercial Plant Propagation
  • PSS 161 Fundamentals of Soil Science
  • PSS 212 Ecological Farm Management
  • PSS 217 Ecology & Management of Grazing Systems
  • PSS 268 Soil Ecology
  • PSS 269 Soil/Water Pollution & Bioremediation

Upon completion of the teaching experience, the instructor shall forward an evaluation (see appendix), of the student’s performance to the student and to the Graduate Coordinator. Such an evaluation will provide formal documentation that this requirement has been fulfilled by the student. The evaluation will become part of the student’s permanent file.

Last modified September 01 2016 03:52 PM