The Dean of Graduate Studies allocates a certain number of
Teaching Assistantship (TA) positions each year to departments with graduate
programs. Almost all full-time students entering the R&C program in the
Fall are offered two terms of TA responsibilities (each worth roughly $4,000).
Thesis-stream students are eligible for a third term of TA support in the
second Fall term. Teaching assistantships are restricted to full-time students,
and usually only to those starting their program in the Fall term. You can find a copy of the TA contract here: https://www.wlu.ca/forms/975/TEACHING_ASSISTANT_RESPONSIBILITIES.pdf
WLU’s Office of Instructional Development organizes a superb TA orientation workshop in the first week of September, to which all TAs are invited. This office also provides Guidelines for Teaching Assistants, a handy pedagogical guide, and it offers instructional advice throughout the year.
Teaching assistantships are awarded from university operating funds to enable departments with graduate programs to provide (a) assistance to faculty with their teaching or research responsibilities and (b) graduate students with teaching or research experience. TAs may be expected to provide informal and formal advice to students, assist in the tutorial or lab sessions, and assist with ongoing research projects. TA functions do not include clerical, technical or administrative work unrelated to teaching or research.
According to provincial regulations, a teaching assistant may not work more than an average of 10 hours per week for a maximum of 13 weeks (i. e., 130 hours per term). This regulation is stated on the Payment Authorization Form which every TA must sign. Hours not required in one term may not be carried forward to a subsequent term. To ensure that there is a fair, equitable and consistent interpretation of this regulation, the following guidelines are employed:
1. The definition of the number of hours per week includes: attendance at lectures; preparation time for a teaching assignment (e. g., tutorial, lab, lecture, seminar); travel time if engaged in off-campus research; meeting time with the instructor; formal office hours. Voluntary attendance at professional development workshops or seminars does not count toward the maximum number of hours per week or term.
2. Given variations in course requirements, in some weeks an instructor may need a TA to work more or less than 10 hours per week because of the scheduling of such course requirements as mid-term exams, term papers, lab reports, or final exams.
3. Faculty must recognize that graduate students also have their own course requirements which must be met, and these may be due at the same time as they are carrying out their TA duties (especially at mid-term or the end of term). Thus, a TA normally should not be required to work more than 15 hours in any one week, or more than 10 hours per 3 day period, regardless of the urgency of the task. Any exceptions to this maximum must be agreed to by the TA in advance of the particular week where the 10- or 15-hour limits are to be exceeded.
4. All TA responsibilities should be completed within 13 weeks, beginning from the official first day of class. Any work beyond the 13 week deadline as required by an instructor (e. g., the final exam is scheduled late in the exam schedule) must be agreed to by the TA. The time required beyond the normal 13-week deadline must be compensated by a comparable reduced load (in hours) prior to the beginning of the exam schedule so that no student works more than 130 hours per term.
5. At the beginning of the term the TA and the supervisor should come to a clear understanding of the kinds of work expected of the TA (e.g., grading papers, teaching, lecturing, research) and the hours assigned to each. They then need to sign a Teaching Assistant Assignment form that gets forwarded to the Faculty office by the Graduate Officer.
6. TAs should keep a written, dated record of the hours they spend on their duties.
7. As the term proceeds, if it becomes evident that the workload is exceeding the hours expected of the TA, the TA should call this to the attention of the faculty member, who will adjust the work load accordingly.
8. If it becomes evident that the TA is remiss in his or her duties, the faculty supervisor should call this to the attention of the TA. Continuing failure at performing one=s duties may result in withdrawal of the assistantship.
9. Should a dispute arise between student and TA supervisor, the student shall consult with the immediate supervisor and then with the Graduate Officer in an attempt to resolve the matter. Should this process fail to resolve the dispute, written correspondence on the matter should be addressed to the department chair by both the faculty member and the student. If the above consultations fail to resolve the dispute, a ruling will be sought from the Dean of Graduate Studies.