Teaching and research assistants

Guidelines for teaching and research assistants

A number of graduate students receive financial support through assistantships. Unlike fellowships and grants, Teaching Assistantships (TAs) and Research Assistantships (RAs) come with responsibilities that provide rewarding and beneficial experiences. These positions should be viewed by students and faculty as important opportunities to further one's career in engineering. While responsibilities and expectations differ between TAs and RAs, there are some important guidelines which are applicable to both roles which are outlined below.

Guidelines Which Apply to both TAs and RAs:

  • All TAs and RAs must register for the 0 credit course CEE405 (TAs) and CEE406 (RAs) each semester. This provides a record of satisfactory or unsatisfactory performance in the position.
  • All assistantships (both TAs and RAs) carry a 20 hr/wk appointment. This leaves 20+ hours a week for graduate students to complete their course work and thesis research. Thesis research may be distinct from research conducted as an RA.
  • Graduate students and faculty advisor(s) should establish specific expectations at the beginning of each semester. This will ensure that all parties are cognizant of the specific responsibilities and aware of any major deadlines associated with a particular assistantship.
  • Provide regular updates on your progress to your faculty advisor(s). Most professors are very busy, and if regular meetings are not scheduled by your faculty advisor(s), you should take the initiative to schedule them.
  • Do not leave on vacation or during semester breaks without first discussing this with your faculty advisor(s). The responsibilities of graduate assistantships do not end with the final exam of each semester. Often, as in the case of winter holiday break, it is expected that graduate assistants work on their assignments (when the University is open) unless previous arrangements have been made with your faculty advisor(s).
  • Funded graduate students receive priority for student offices. Please make good use of this space.
  • Telephones are for business related calls only.

Guidelines Which Apply to TAs:

  • Each TA will have at most two advisors: (1) advisor for TA position termed the teaching advisor (TAD) and (2) research advisor (RAD). Research advisor will act as academic advisor and chair of thesis committee.
  • The primary function of a TA is to provide support and assistance to their TAD. Their responsibilities may include; attending course lectures and/or laboratories, assisting instructor in preparation of course materials or laboratory experiments, providing instruction for course recitations and/or laboratories, performing trial runs of lab experiments to ensure quality control, grading course assignments, holding office hours for students, ordering, tracking, and cataloging materials and supplies used and needed in the teaching laboratory, maintenance of equipment including routine checks on the proper operation and condition of all laboratory equipment, and review and enforcement of safety and security guidelines.
  • The TA may have other responsibilities necessary to their position and will be notified of them by their TAD.

Teaching Assistant Forms