Guidelines for Teaching Assistants

  1. Applied Teaching Practice (PSI 9940) provides academic credit for students’ teaching experience.  In this course, students are given hands-on experience in assisting faculty in teaching a course or seminar.  Weekly didactic meetings are held with faculty in which students discuss their experiences in the classroom and assigned readings.  Common teaching issues addressed include development of the course syllabus, choice of teaching methods, grading/evaluation, and obtaining feedback from students.  Credit hours vary from 1-3 hours and are assigned using the same formula as in Directed Study and Dissertation (i.e., for every credit hour of Applied Teaching Practice, the student must spend a minimum of three hours per week working on their assigned activities, one hour of which must be face-to-face contact outside of the classroom with the supervising faculty member).  A specific contract form outlining student and faculty responsibilities for Applied Teaching Practice must be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs.
  2. As a general guideline, doctoral teaching assistants should have previously taken the course in which they are going to assist.  Exceptions may be made if the TA duties are more clerical or research-oriented in nature.
  3. In general, students should not be involved as teaching assistants with members of their cohort.  If this cannot be avoided or if students are involved as teaching assistants in courses that include close friends, dating partners, housemates and/or students with which the TA has had conflictual relationships, the faculty member and teaching assistant must discuss issues of objectivity, confidentiality and appropriate professional boundaries before the teaching assistant assumes any duties.
  4. Due to student sensitivity to issues regarding grading, TA involvement in the grading process must be carefully considered.  Criteria for grading must be very explicit when TAs are involved in grading.  TA involvement in grading dating partners, close friends, housemates, and individuals with whom the TA has conflict must be carefully considered and explicitly discussed.  Faculty assume ultimate responsibility for assignment of all grades.
  5. Ethical issues must be explicitly discussed with the TA.  These include, but are not limited to, maintaining secrecy of exam materials, confidentiality regarding discussions with faculty of students’ performance, and maintaining objectivity and appropriate professional boundaries in the role of teaching assistant.
  6. Although course credit will not be given if a student is paid for their teaching activity, the above guidelines apply to doctoral students functioning in paid or volunteer teaching assistantships, as well as teaching assistantships for which course credit is received.

A copy of this set of guidelines, signed by both faculty member and teaching assistant, must be submitted with the contract for (PSI 9940) Applied Teaching Practice.

Guidelines for Doctoral Students Serving as Teaching Assistants and Teaching Practice Contract (PDF)