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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
October 9, 2015
Canadian Excellence

Instructional Assistant Positions for 2015-2016

Subject to final budgetary approval, the Department of Political Science invites applications for Instructional Assistants (IAs) during the 2015-16 academic year. The exact number of positions available will be determined when final enrolment numbers are available. The number of winter term contracts issued will depend upon a combination of the enrolment levels in the winter term and the performance of the IAs in the fall term.

Courses Available:

PO101(1) Politics Within Borders - This course explores the dynamic world of politics from a Canadian and comparative perspective. From the national to the local, we see politics shaping how we address controversial issues, such as possession of guns or drugs, and provision of public health care. Through the study of public opinion, constitutions and laws, political parties and the ideologies that motivate them, and social movements, we can identify patterns that help us to understand the distinctive political worlds within countries.   

PO102(2) Politics Beyond Borders - This course takes students on a journey through today's breathtaking global terrain. It explores how we are resolving (or not) today's international and global challenges: from nuclear proliferation to human trafficking, from clashes of competing ideologies to the management of a global economy. Governments and international organizations are part of the mix, but so are less-conventional players like al-Qaeda, Doctors without Borders, Monsanto, Amazon, the Vatican, and even celebrities.

PO209(2) Legal Writing - This course is designed to provide students with the basic skills necessary to understand and write about legal decisions in a manner intended to enrich broader public dialogue; it will equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to make the legal system intelligent to the ‘outside’ world. Topics to be covered in the course may include: legal research and preparation; understanding and communicating legal challenges, libel/privacy/contempt and criminal cases; legal commentary and analysis; and legal writing in a digital age.

PO210(1) Introduction to Law - This course is designed to introduce student to the Canadian legal system. Topics to be explored include: the sources of Canadian law; the structure of the Canadian court system; the process of judicial dispute resolution; and the nature of some of the major branches of law (i.e. constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law, tort law, family law and estates, contract law, employment law, and property law).

PO217(1) Asking Questions in Political Science: An Introduction to Research - This course provides the foundation required to develop sound research projects, and the skills necessary to assess the quality of research conducted by others. Topics include: what makes political science a "science?"; the importance of the research process,; how to ask questions; and the stages involved in writing research papers. Also introduces students to qualitative and quantitative methods used to collect information, and the digital tools used to analyze data.

PO218(2) Answering Questions in Political Science: Research in Practice - Grounds students in the methods used to answer questions in political science and social science in general. The course includes hands-on training in the use of software employed in the social sciences, offering students the opportunity to develop transferable skills in addition to combining theory with practice.

Position Overview: IAs may be required to prepare for and run weekly tutorials/labs; mark assignments, tests and exams; attend meetings with the instructors; hold office hours, and respond to e-mails from students in their workshops. The total weekly commitment is likely to be from 6-8 hours, with the exact number depending on the number of groups assigned to the IA, and the enrolments of those groups. There will also be approximately 4-5 peak periods throughout each term for marking assignments and/or exams, during which the required number of hours to be worked will increase.  

Additional Requirements: IAs must also attend an Instructional Assistants Orientation and the University's day-long Teaching Assistants Conference, both of which will be scheduled for some time during Orientation Week. These dates will be known at the time appointments are confirmed (which should be no later than June 15, 2015). Because of the importance the department places on attendance at each of these events, contracts will not be issued for those who do not attend.

Academic Qualifications:

PO101 and PO102: Applicants should be 4th year Honours Political Science or Honours Political Science with Research Specialization students as of September, 2015 whose current Political Science and Overall GPAs are no less than 9.50 each. 

PO209 and PO210: Applicants should be 4th year Legal Studies Option students as of September, 2015, who have completed PO210 and a minimum of two more Legal Studies Option courses from within Political Science with a combined GPA of minimum of 9.50.  

PO217 and PO218: Applicants should be 4th year Honours Political Science or Honours Political Science with Research Specialization students as of September, 2015 whose current Political Science and Overall GPAs are no less than 9.50 each, and have completed both PO217 and PO218 with a grade of A- or higher. 

Other Qualifications: Applicants should be good communicators (clear, articulate speakers), with strong interpersonal skills (friendly, approachable, able to create a positive rapport with students, etc.); capable of unbiased evaluation; possess discerning, critical reading skills; be able to skilfully communicate his or her academic understanding in standard academic text forms; and be able to write clearly and argumentatively, with a solid understanding of the basics of syntax, punctuation and grammar.

Compensation:  $21.70 per hour, plus 4% in lieu of vacation pay; 120 hours for the term.

Applications and Due Dates:  Applicants should send a cover letter, including a statement about the his/her suitability for the position and what s/he can bring to the course, a resume, and the names of two academic references.  Note that references from faculty members who can speak to your writing ability and/or participation in class would be preferred. Official transcripts are not required as the department has access to - and will refer to - academic records. Complete applications should be mailed or delivered to:  Sherry Palmer, Department of Political Science, Room 4-120, Alvin Woods Building, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5.  The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, May 22, 2015. (E-mail submissions will not be accepted.)