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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
August 28, 2015
Canadian Excellence

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies


Graduate Teaching Assistantship

A Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) assists academic units in the teaching mission. A GTA provides assistance to faculty with the teaching responsibilities, and a graduate student employed as a GTA receives valuable teaching experience. Responsibilities may include any of the following:
    • to provide informal and formal advice to students
    • to assist in the grading of tests, papers, lab reports and final exams
    • to assist faculty in course development and/or course renewal
    • to conduct tutorial or lab sessions.
    • to present one or more lectures in a class
    • to supervise field trips
    • to provide grading assistance to faculty
    • to proctor final examinations (expected for courses that have a final examination scheduled by the Registrar's Office)

    This list is not exhaustive, but in all cases, assistantship functions shall not include clerical, technical or administrative work not related to teaching.

    Graduate Teaching Assistantship contracts are issued from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and are funded from university operating funds. A Graduate Teaching Assistant is expected to work an average of 10 hours per week or a maximum of 130 hours per term.  Students who hold a Graduate Teaching Assistantship contract are required to have completed the Teaching Assistantship - Job Responsibilities document and submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies by the end of the second week of the term in which the Assistantship is held.

    Graduate students may not simultaneously (i.e., in the same term) hold a Contract Academic Staff (CAS) appointment with a Teaching Assistantship.

    To receive payment, students must complete and submit the direct deposit form to the Payroll Department.

    Terms and Conditions of Graduate Teaching Assistantships

    All Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) are conditional on registering as a full-time student and on maintaining a full-time courseload, as defined by the department, during the term in which the assistantship is held. To ensure that a graduate student is able to actively pursue his/her graduate program on a full-time basis, no other teaching-related activity may be assigned for the term in which the teaching assistantship is held (e.g., CAS appointment).

    Assistantship contracts may be cancelled due to unsatisfactory performance, withdrawal from full-time registration, or holding a CAS letter of appointment. Wilfrid Laurier University reserves the right to reduce the employment responsibility of a student who holds a major external award for the year in which the award is held.

    Teaching responsibilities will be assigned by the Department, and may not exceed 130 hours per term. Responsibilities to undertake work in support of an ongoing research project may be assigned only with the approval of the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

    Teaching assistants are paid on the Food/Students payroll dates (or monthly, in certain circumstances). Payment is made by direct deposit. Questions regarding payroll, deductions, etc. should be directed to the Payroll Office.

    Students with Graduate Teaching Assistantship contracts are eligible to receive both employment earnings for services performed, and a Fellowship to recognize the advancement of their education and the further development of their skills through the Graduate Teaching Assistantship experience.

    The employment earnings will be based on an hourly rate and subject to all statutory deductions, and will include 4% vacation pay. The Fellowship available to students undertaking TA contracts and performing TA duties as specified by the department is tax-exempt, and will be reflected on a T4A at year end. Students not undertaking TA duties are ineligible for the Fellowship.

    Assistants are required to serve the university in teaching for no more than the hours specified for the contract period. Please note that full-time graduate students may not be gainfully employed more than 10 hours per week on average within the university (520 hours per academic year).

    Note: The Graduate Teaching Assistantship is made up of two components: the Teaching Assistantship and the Graduate Fellowship. Together they make up the total amount of the TA and they are paid together on a bi-weekly basis through Laurier's Payroll office.