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Policies Governing Teaching Assistantship and Teaching Affiliate Appointments

Course Eligibility

Courses of 3-5 units with one instructor and 20 or more students warrant one 25% teaching assistant (TA). Courses of about 40 students can generally expect two TA’s, and so forth. Courses that meet those criteria are normally approved for a TA.

Cross-listed courses: A number of GSE courses are listed in Education and in another department(s). Students in the course register under either listing. It is expected that courses with high enrollments in the non-GSE listing (or section) of the course will not automatically receive TA funding from the GSE unless an agreement is made with the department that “owns” the course. Cost-sharing between departments or schools occurs by agreement made with the faculty member, the Assistant Dean of Academic Services, and the Administrator of the other department.

Special cases and exceptions: Under exceptional circumstances, courses that do not meet the above criteria may be approved for TA positions by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Examples of exceptions include special instructional needs for a class (special pedagogy, or extensive student work to give feedback on, etc.). Other factors that play into a decision for an exception are availability of funding, course enrollments (past and present), and equity across faculty and areas.

Student Eligibility

GSE doctoral students within their guaranteed funding periods (normally in years one through five) receive priority for TA positions. Instructors who want to hire a GSE student who is beyond his/her fifth year in the doctoral program need to make a case, as early as possible to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, indicating the reasons this particular advanced student is the only qualified person available to fill the position.

In addition, GSE doctoral students receive first hiring priority for GSE course and teaching assistantships over non-GSE students. Graduate students from other schools or departments may be hired as a TA for a School of Education course in rare circumstances provided that all eligible GSE students are fully-supported on other teaching or sponsored (i.e., not base budget) research assistantships.

Students must be in good academic standing. Students on full graduate support from an alternate source may not receive additional paid TA appointments:

  1. unless other assistantships held by the student are reduced in order to accommodate the TA position up to the maximum 50% total level for all appointments per student in a given quarter, OR
  2. in cases of full fellowship funding from non-GSE sources (e.g., SGF, NSF), a maximum of one paid 25% course, teaching, or research assistantship may be added to the student’s funding package per academic year without reducing the fellowship support. Students should consult with the Doctoral Programs Officer for more information.

Types of Appointments

There are two types of student appointments:

Teaching Assistant (TA): A TA helps with course preparation and grading, holds office hours, and maintains course websites. A TA may lead one or more regularly scheduled discussion sections and hold office hours. The faculty member is the primary course instructor and awards grades. A TA receives TA course evaluations from the University for her or his section(s).

Teaching Affiliate (TF): A TF is an advanced graduate student with substantial teaching experience and has full responsibility to deliver a course under the mentorship of a faculty member. A TF awards the final grade and is listed as the primary instructor for the course. A TF may be assigned a TA if the course is eligible. A TF receives instructor course evaluations from the University. TFs are usually hired to teach required or popular GSE courses when a faculty member is on sabbatical.

All positions are part of the University permanent records. Names of TAs and TFs are part of the University’s course files and of the graduate financial support records and the GSE course records.

Course Scheduling Considerations

Faculty members must ensure that their courses are setup as “lectures” in order to allow for the addition of discussion sections (if their TA will be teaching a section). Courses that are not setup as lectures (i.e, seminars or workshops) may not have discussion sections. Faculty or staff can consult with the GSE course manager on the University deadlines to set up courses. The deadline is usually in the Spring Quarter of the prior academic year.

English Proficiency

All international students must pass an English proficiency screening before being appointed to any teaching position (i.e. teaching assistants and teaching fellows/affiliates). Students in this situation who wish to work in a teaching position must contact the English for Foreign Students Office to arrange a English screening. http://www.stanford.edu/group/efs/tascreen.html
This must occur before the start of the quarter in which the teaching appointment will take place, otherwise the appointment and/or paychecks may be delayed.

Other Administrative Matters

TA and TF-ships are a form of graduate financial support. The student receives salary in addition to tuition support. As such, University policy prohibits hiring students for TA or TF work through clerical hourly positions (“casual employees”). All TA appointments are processed as graduate aid through Academic Services in the University’s Graduate Financial Support (GFS) system. The appointment is part of the student’s funding package, which does not exceed the equivalent of 50% time per quarter (i.e., 20 hours per week). Students who wish to add a TA-ship to their existing 50% support must discuss a reduction in their other commitments with their Principal Investigator and the Assistant Dean of Academic Services in order to accommodate the additional TA-ship beyond the 50% level, during the regular academic year. Students cannot exceed the 50% assistantship level when enrolled in 8 or more units. (See the “Summer Support” section below for exceptions during Summer Quarter.)

The appropriate assistantship appointment form must be submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer in Academic Services at least 5 weeks prior to the beginning of the quarter in order to initiate the hiring of a TA/TF. Check with Academic Services for specific deadlines.

The University monitors faculty teaching loads, class sizes, and TA use on a regular basis. Therefore, it is important that all course and teaching activity is documented for all students.

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