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Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships

Authority: 
Academic and Student Affairs
Date enacted or revised: 
Rev May 5, 2014
A limited number of graduate assistantships are available to qualified graduate students.  Units must have graduate assistantship budget allocations in order to make appointments. Available assistantships should be reported to the Office of Student Employment for posting on the University's Web site. Before a graduate assistant begins working, appropriate documentation indicating the assistantship appointment must be submitted to Doré School of Graduate Studies and Extended Education (School) each semester. The Office of Student Employment is responsible for all employment and payroll documents.

Graduate Assistantship Classifications

  • Teaching Graduate Assistant: The graduate assistant serves as an instructor of record or in any instructional support role (e.g. teaching assistant, lab assistant, tutor, etc.). Graduate assistants assigned to labs or tutoring must log hours worked.
  • Research Graduate Assistant: The graduate assistant performs research assignments for ongoing or new research projects under the direct supervision of each project's principal investigator. Written verification of the project(s) to which the student will be assigned must be submitted to the School before the assistantship will be approved; this verification can be attached to or described on the Letter of Appointment.
  • Administrative Graduate Assistant: The graduate assistant performs assignments primarily of an administrative support nature, although he/she may be assigned other duties. Graduate assistants working as athletic trainers are included within this classification.
 

Minimum Qualifications

Applications for graduate assistantships should be addressed to the head (department head, dean, director, etc.) of the unit in which the student wishes to work. Minimum qualifications per semester for a student receiving an assistantship appointment are:
  • Must be enrolled in a graduate degree or certificate (Graduate Certificate or Post-Master's Certificate) program
  • Must be enrolled in at least six hours of graduate coursework toward the degree, certificate, or thesis each semester
  • Must be in good standing (academic and otherwise) with the University

Duties

Duties expected of a graduate assistant must be communicated clearly to the student by the supervisor; position descriptions listing examples of duties expected must be included. For Teaching Graduate Assistants serving as instructors of record, duties must justify appointments' required clock hours per week. These duties should include, but are not limited to, (1) instructional hours, (2) office hours, and (3) mentor consultation hours. Because of the student/employee role, graduate assistants assume particular responsibility for upholding the University's Student Code of Conduct as well as University policies related to employment and must complete training for employees as required by the Office of Human Resources and Student Employment.

Appointments, Workload, and Stipends

Appointments are made to qualified graduate students on a semester-by-semester basis, and a graduate student must hold at least the minimum assistantship appointment to be employed. For graduate assistants serving as instructors of record only, the minimum appointment is three credit hours of instruction. For all other graduate assistants, the minimum appointment is 9 clock hours. Students may hold appointments by more than one unit; however, a student's total work hours may not exceed 27 clock hours per week for domestic students or 20 clock hours per week for international students (per U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' regulations on F-1 visas).

For reappointment, students must be in "good standing" with the University and have performed satisfactorily in their assistantship roles.

No full-time or part-time employee of the University shall be employed as a graduate assistant. Conversely, graduate students who are assigned paid assistantships are not eligible for any other type of University employment during the term(s) of the appointment(s). Graduate assistants may purchase student parking permits and are not eligible for faculty/staff parking permits.

Teaching Graduate Assistants
Teaching Graduate Assistants are employed according to the University's academic calendar (from one week before classes begin through the final day grades are due at the end of the term) each term.

Teaching Graduate Assistants who are domestic students and who serve as instructors of record may not exceed 9 credit hours of instruction; international students may not exceed 8 hours of instruction, which are equivalent to 20 clock hours per week. Graduate assistants may be assigned as instructors of record only after earning 18 graduate hours in the appropriate disciplines. However, graduate assistants may serve as tutors, teaching assistants, laboratory assistants without having earned the 18 graduate hours. Graduate assistants should consult with the department head or designee to verify specific responsibilities for classes. Department heads or designees should discuss the Faculty/Staff Handbook and VL Supplement Policies provisions relevant to Teaching Graduate Assistants' duties.

The following tables outline the credit hour/clock hour equivalency for workload computations and the per-credit or per-course stipends for Teaching Graduate Assistants who serve as instructors of record. Note that stipends for lecture and lab courses differ.
 

Credit Hours
Clock Hours* Lecture Section
Stipend
Lab Section Stipend
Credit/clock hour equivalency for workload.
1 2.5             $            667             $            500
2 5.0                         1,334                          1,000
3 7.5                         2,000                         1,500
4 10                         2,667                         2,000
5 12.5                         3,335                         2,500
6 15                         4,000                         3,000
7 17.5                         4,669                         3,500
8 20                         5,336                         4,000
9 22.5                         6,000                         4,500
*Teaching Graduate Assistants who serve as teaching assistants (not instructors of record), lab assistants, or tutors are paid per clock hour at a wage of no less than $10 per clock hour. Depending upon the type of work and the unit's budget, budget unit heads may award an hourly wage above $10 with approval from the Executive Director of the Doré School of Graduate Studies and Extended Education.

The department head shall designate at least one full‑time faculty member to coordinate and supervise the Teaching Graduate Assistant's work. Teaching Graduate Assistants who serve as instructors of record must meet SACS and discipline-specific credentialing requirements. Supervising faculty shall meet with the assistant for a minimum of five meetings throughout the semester. The minimum standards for the meetings are as follows:

The first session is to be held before classes begin. Topics covered should include, but not be limited to departmental policies, teaching techniques, course content, examinations, grading, class preparation, record keeping, course syllabus, procedures for absenteeism, student counseling, and office hours. Policy topics discussed must include at least ADA, diversity awareness, and sexual misconduct.
The second session is to be held within a week after classes begin. The discussion should focus on any problems the assistant has encountered.
A third session is to be held just before the first examination. The supervising faculty member shall critique the examination with the assistant. After the examination is given, the supervising faculty shall monitor the grading of the examination.
Just before mid‑term, supervising faculty shall meet with the assistant to monitor progress on all topics covered in the orientation sessions and critique the assistant's mid‑term examination. After the mid-term exam is administered (if applicable), the supervising faculty should monitor the test results and mid‑term grades.
Just before the final exam period, the supervising faculty and assistant shall meet to discuss the assistant's proposed final exam and the progress of the class(es).

Additional meetings may be held as deemed necessary and prudent by the supervising faculty or the graduate assistant.

The supervising faculty shall visit each assistant's class at least for one entire class period before mid‑term. A follow-up meeting shall be held to discuss the assistant's performance.

Assistants shall be evaluated by the students and department head or designee in the same way as regular faculty are evaluated for teaching and classroom performance.

Should departments have policies and procedures for Teaching Graduate Assistants in addition to this policy, shall follow University guidelines. These guidelines should be supplemented with other policies pertaining to the particular department, including required office hours.

Research Graduate Assistants
Research Graduate Assistants are employed with varying employment dates, but usually follow the academic semester schedule. Some units may require graduate assistants to work prior to or beyond the defined academic calendar but no more than the cumulative hours required in a normal employment term.

Research Graduate Assistants are paid per clock hour at a wage of no less than $10 per clock hour. Depending upon the type of work and the unit's budget, budget unit heads may award an hourly wage above $10 with approval from the Executive Director of the Doré School of Graduate Studies and Extended Education.

Administrative Graduate Assistants
Administrative Graduate Assistants are employed with varying employment dates. Some units may require graduate assistants to work prior to or beyond the defined academic calendar but no more than the cumulative hours required in a normal employment term.

Administrative Graduate Assistants are paid per clock hour at a wage of no less than $10 per clock hour.

Summer Session Graduate Assistants

A limited number of assistantships may be available for the Summer session. Students must be enrolled in a graduate degree program for at least 3 credit hours. One assistantship stipend is $2,250 for 20 hours per week.


Resignations

Graduate students who resign assistantships during the semester or are terminated after the end of late registration do not reimburse the institution for the prorated share of their exempted tuition; however, they are ineligible for future employment as graduate assistants unless approved by the Graduate School.  Assistantships may be revoked at any time if a supervisor or designated departmental full-time employee deems duties are not fulfilled satisfactorily.

Tuition and Fee Exemptions

Graduate assistants receive stipends and partial tuition exemptions.

The stipend a graduate assistant earns is based upon the type of appointment-Teaching, Research, or Administrative.  Any campus unit may supplement any graduate assistant's stipend with external funds if available and if approved by the unit head.

Graduate assistants earn an exemption of one-half of the tuition portion of semester balances due. Exemption of out-of-state resident/non-resident fees varies and may be prorated. The tuition waiver for Administrative Graduate Assistants is considered taxable income.

Addendum for Sports Trainers

Sports Medicine may require graduate assistants to work prior to or beyond the defined academic calendar, but no more than the cumulative hours required in a normal employment term. The following services are required for a full assistantship in Sports Medicine.
Qualifications
  • Must have a National Athletic Trainers Association certification.
  • Must have Louisiana certification or eligible to be Louisiana certified as an Athletic Trainer.
  • Must be enrolled in a McNeese State University graduate program and seeking a graduate degree.
  • Must be enrolled in at least six hours of graduate course work toward the degree or thesis for the semester.
  • Must be in good standing with the University.
Duties
  1. Assigned to work with athletic teams and be involved in the evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of McNeese State University athletes.
  2. Supervise undergraduate student athletic trainers.
  3. Graduate assistants are assigned a workload in accordance with the above terms.


Reappointment is contingent upon satisfactory progress toward the degree and satisfactory performance of assistantship duties. Satisfactory progress toward the degree is defined as completion of a minimum of 6 hours of graduate course work each semester applicable to the degree.

Graduate students who resign assistantships during the semester or are terminated after the end of late registration must reimburse the institution for the pro-rated share of their exempted tuition. They will also be ineligible for future employment as graduate assistants in the Athletic Department unless approved by the Athletic Director. Assistantships may be revoked at any time duties are not fulfilled satisfactorily.

Because of their role as student and employee, graduate assistants assume particular responsibility for upholding the University's Student Code of Conduct.