Definitions of Graduate Assistantships

Policy Memorandum No. 129

Recommended by the Commission on Graduate Studies
Approved by University Council: May 4, 1992
Approved by the President: May 4, 1992
Effective: Fall Semester, 1992

The University Council, on recommendation of the Commission on Graduate Studies, unanimously approved a resolution concerning the definitions of graduate assistantships.

Following is the text of the resolution as adopted by University Council.

WHEREAS, the Commission on Graduate Studies and the Graduate School believe that a new category of Graduate Teaching Assistant, the Senior Graduate Teaching Assistant, would be beneficial to the University's desire to place a greater emphasis on quality teaching; and

WHEREAS, our present definitions of graduate assistantships need updating and refinement; and

WHEREAS, it is desirable to have consistency in the naming of the various Graduate Assistantships;

THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED that Section 2.4.7 of the Faculty Handbook be revised such that the following paragraph replace the first paragraph of the section and the five definitions of assistantships replace the three definitions presently in the handbook.

Fully enrolled graduate students may be appointed to one of several assistantship categories; the responsibilities of such assistants are to serve the teaching, research and public service functions of the university. A usual assistantship assignment is defined as one quarter of a faculty effort. For convenience, the normal workload of graduate students may be defined in "hours": a full assistantship is 20 hours' effort.

Since the responsibilities or requirements of graduate students may vary by academic discipline, each department is required to clearly define the expectation of its students as part of its response to President's Policy Memo No. 126 -- Graduate Program Standards and Policies. Although these positions are described here, the appointments do not carry faculty status or other faculty rights or responsibilities specified in this chapter.

Graduate Assistant

Graduate Assistants are graduate students who provide academic program support under the supervision of a regular faculty member. A GA, in contrast with a GTA, is not given full responsibility for the teaching and the reporting of grades for a credit course. Examples of responsibilities include grading examinations, problem sets, and/or lab assignments, setting up displays for lectures or laboratory sections, and preparing or maintaining equipment used in laboratory sections.

Graduate Research Assistant

Graduate Research Assistants are graduate students conducting academically significant research under the direction of a regular faculty member, who is generally a principal investigator on an external grant or contract.

Senior Graduate Research Assistant

Senior Graduate Research Assistants are graduate students conducting academically significant research under the direction of a regular faculty member, who is a principle investigator on an external grant or contract. Because of the skills, level of responsibility and/or special training required for their duties, they are accorded senior status.

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Graduate Teaching Assistants assist faculty in the department in teaching lower division courses, including laboratory teaching assignments, or in providing other appropriate professional assistance. First year GTA's with no prior teaching experience will not be assigned full responsibility for a lecture course.

Senior Graduate Teaching Assistant

A Senior Graduate Teaching Assistant assists faculty in the department in teaching lower division courses, including laboratory teaching assignments. In addition, because of their higher level of experience and/or teaching skills, they will be asked to assume more responsibility in areas such as supervision/training of other GTA's for large courses or laboratories in the department and participation in the University's training programs for GTA's.

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President's Policy Memorandum

URL: http://purl.vt.edu/vtdocs/policies/ppm129