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Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships

Authority: 
Academic and Student Affairs
Date enacted or revised: 
Revised May 5, 2014; September 14, 2015 ; November 21, 2016


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 by the department 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 the Office of Student Employment. The Office of Student Employment is responsible for all employment and payroll documents.


Graduate Assistantship Classifications

Instructional Support (TA1):  Assist full time faculty with preparing examinations and class lectures, grading papers, maintenance of class records, and tutoring students outside formally scheduled classes. Prepare and make lab presentations, conduct lectures, and lead discussion groups provided that the TA is neither the instructor of record nor has primary responsibility for assigning grades. A fulltime TA1 Assistantship will require a total workload of 18 clock hours per week for 15 weeks.
 
Instructor of Record (TA2): In addition to the duties of TA1, prepare and teach classes for credit as the instructor or record and/or as the person primarily responsible for assigning grades. A fulltime TA2 Assistantship will require a total workload of 6 credit hours per semester. Office hours will be required to assist students. TA2 Assistantships will be paid according to the scale outlined in the Credit/Clock Hour Equivalency for Workload table.
 
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. Fulltime Research Graduate Assistantships require 18 hours a week per semester.
 
Administrative Graduate Assistant: The graduate assistant performs assignments primarily of an administrative or institutional support nature, although he/she may be assigned other duties. Graduate assistants working as athletic trainers are included within this classification.
Fulltime Administrative Assistantships will require 18 hours a week per semester.
 
Minimum Qualifications

Applications for all four types of 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:


  1. Must be enrolled in a graduate degree or certificate (Graduate Certificate or Post-Master's  Certificate) program
  2. Must be enrolled in at least six hours of graduate coursework toward the degree, certificate, or thesis each fall and spring semester or three hours for the summer
  3. 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. Graduate assistants will also be required to submit time sheets.

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). Students must submit time sheets for appropriate compensation.

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 faculty supervisor to verify specific responsibilities for classes. Department heads or designees should discuss the University Policies relevant to Teaching Graduate Assistants' duties, such as Responsibilities of Academic Staff, University Syllabus Policy, and Exams or Student Learning Assessment Policy.

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/Clock Hour Equivalency for Workload
Credit hours clock hours* Lecture section stipend lab section stipend
1 2.5 $667 $500
2 5.0 $1,334 $1,000
3 7.5 $2,000 $1,500
4 10.0 $2,667 $2,000
5 12.5 $3,335 $2,500
6 15.0 $4,000 $3,000
7 17.5 $4,669 $3,500
8 20.0 $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 $11.15 per clock hour.
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 SACSCOC 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:

  1. 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.
  2. The second session is to be held within a week after classes begin. The discussion should focus on any problems the assistant has encountered.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. After the mid-term exam is administered (if applicable), the supervising faculty should monitor the test results and mid‑term grades.
  6. 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).
  7. Additional meetings may be held as deemed necessary and prudent by the supervising faculty or the graduate assistant.
  8. 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.
  9. 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, the policies 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 $11.15 per clock hour.
 
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 $11.15 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.
 
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 pay for time worked or courses taught and partial tuition exemptions.
The pay a graduate assistant earns is based upon the type of appointment- Instructional Support (TA1), Instructor of Record (TA2), Research, or Administrative.  
 
Graduate assistants earn an exemption of one-half of the tuition portion of semester balances due. 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

  1. Must have a National Athletic Trainers Association certification.
  2. Must have Louisiana certification or eligible to be Louisiana certified as an Athletic Trainer.

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.
 
COMMUNICATION

This policy is distributed via Academic Advisory Council, Senior Staff, and the University Policy page.
 
 
JOB DESCRIPTIONS
 
All Graduate Assistants must be given a job description as soon as arranged duties have been determined. Job descriptions should be tailored to the specific tasks that the graduate assistants are expected to perform. Because of the wide range of possible duties, some departments will have several different job description forms. A sample of each job description form should be on file in the Graduate School. The job description should be prepared with care because it will be the document against which you will evaluate the graduate assistant's performance. Please see the attached job description examples for each GA classification.
 
 
 
GRADUATE ASSISTANT
JOB DESCRIPTION, EXAMPLE 1
 
TEACHING ASSISTANT JOB DESCRIPTION (TA1)

Duties as a Teaching Assistant will include, but may not be limited to the following items:

  • Design and test experiments for laboratory course XXXXX.
  • Proctor and grade exams in lecture course XXXXX.
  • Enter test scores in a computer and keep grade information up to date.
  • Tutor students outside of class for course XXXXX.
  • Ensure that chemicals and other items are set up appropriately and on time in the teaching laboratory.
  • Knowledge of and compliance with all University policies.

 I have discussed these duties with my supervisor and understand my responsibilities.
 
_______________________________                      ______________________
TA signature                                                                 Date
 
 
 
 
 
 
 GRADUATE ASSISTANT
JOB DESCRIPTION, EXAMPLE 2
 
RESEARCH ASSISTANT JOB DESCRIPTION

Duties as a Research Assistant will include, but may not be limited to the following:

  • Provide support to a faculty member’s research program by performing designated research under the direction of that faculty member.
  • Collect and analyze data from the research.
  • Keep appropriate research notes, which will be turned in to the professor at the end of the appointment period.
  •  Keep the laboratory equipment clean and operable; keep the laboratory clean and safe. Report problems immediately to the faculty mentor.
  • Meet on a regular basis with the director of the research project.
  • Participate in the writing of manuscripts resulting from the research.
  • Participate in the development of research grant proposals based on the present research.
  • Present the results of the research at professional meetings if deemed appropriate by the faculty mentor.
  • Knowledge of and compliance with all University policies.

I have discussed these duties with my supervisor and understand my responsibilities.
 
 
_______________________________                                  ________________
RA signature                                                                           Date
 
 
 
 
 
 GRADUATE ASSISTANT
JOB DESCRIPTION, EXAMPLE 3
 
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT JOB DESCRIPTION
 
Duties as an Administrative Graduate Assistant will include, but may not be limited to the following:
 
  • Perform general office duties as required on a daily basis;
  • Data collection; spreadsheet maintenance (student/faculty evals);
  • Assist with student evaluations of faculty process;
  • Help with special projects, events, and programs;
  • Assist with administrative and clerical duties and correspondence;
  • Administrative office duties such as copying, answering phones, completing mailings;
  • Knowledge of and compliance with all University policies.
 
I have discussed these duties with my supervisor and understand my responsibilities.
 
 
_______________________________                                  _____________________
GA signature                                                                           Date
 
 
 
 
 
GRADUATE ASSISTANT
JOB DESCRIPTION, EXAMPLE 4
 
TEACHING ASSISTANT (INSTRUCTOR OF RECORD) JOB DESCRIPTION (TA2)
 
Duties as a Teaching Assistant (TA2 – Instructor of Record) will include the following items:
 
  • Preparation of lesson plans;
  • Presentation of all lectures;
  • Defining student assignments;
  • Grading of student’s written work;
  • Determining the final grade for the student;
  • Meeting with a mentor once a week to discuss lesson plans, exams, student assignments, procedures, grading, and progress of the course;
  • Knowledge of and compliance with all University policies.
 
I have discussed these duties with my supervisor and understand my responsibilities.
 
 
_______________________________                                  _______________________
TA2 signature                                                                          Date