Handbook of Operating Procedures 9-2020

Teaching Assistants

Effective July 13, 2006

Executive Sponsor: Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies
Policy Owner: Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies


  1. Policy Statement


It is the policy of The University of Texas at Austin that individuals appointed as teaching assistants at UT Austin abide by the policies stated below.


  1. Scope


This policy applies to all individuals appointed as teaching assistants at UT Austin.


  1. Teaching Assistants


Teaching assistants are graduate students who help faculty with the conduct and delivery of courses. Services provided by teaching assistants include, but are not limited to, grading, monitoring, leading lab and/or discussion sessions, offering office hour assistance to students, and performing clerical tasks associated with course instruction. Teaching assistants are supervised by the course instructor of record and are subject to established departmental policies on student academic employment.


  1. Qualifications


To be eligible for appointment as a teaching assistant a nominee must:


  1. be a degree-seeking graduate student without existing admissions conditions imposed by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies;


  1. be in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress toward a graduate degree;


  1. remain registered in courses that count toward the graduate degree for at least nine semester hours during each semester of the long session; and


  1. if holding an appointment for any summer term (first six weeks, second six weeks, nine weeks or twelve weeks), must remain registered in courses that count toward the graduate degree for at least three summer hours during any term of the summer session.


  1. Selection and Appointment


  1. Departments should establish a faculty committee to screen, rank, and make recommendations concerning the appointment or reappointment of teaching assistants.


  1. Notification to candidates for appointment/reappointment should be provided.
  1. All appointments of teaching assistants are subject to approval of the dean of the college or school and the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies.


  1. Each department within a college or school shall annually provide the dean with a report which sets forth the range of stipends, within the established salary scales, to be offered to new appointees and  to persons being considered for reappointment as well as the basic logistical framework within   which teaching assistants are employed by the department.


  1. Terms of Appointment


  1. Appointments of teaching assistants must be made on the basis of percent time employment and  only from teaching assistant accounts and other approved accounts. Appointments shall be made in accordance with the titles and definitions and within salary scales.


  1. Appointments should, in general, be made on a semester-by-semester basis and in accordance with the percentage of the full-time equivalent base. The period of appointment shall not exceed one academic year and shall terminate at the expiration of the stated period of appointment without notification of non renewal. If a department determines that it is to the benefit of the institution, it may nominate a teaching assistant for reappointment.


  1. Duties of Teaching Assistants


  1. Teaching assistants may only be assigned duties which are adjunct to regular classroom instruction.


  1. All duties performed by teaching assistants shall be under the supervision and direction of a designated member of the faculty.


  1. Such duties may include student practice sessions, discussion sessions, assistance in laboratories, recitation sessions, review sessions and similar activities.


  1. In addition, teaching assistants may be assigned to hold office hours, hold student conferences, evaluate student work, and to perform similar common academic duties.


  1. Teaching assistants may not be assigned regular classroom instruction duties nor may they serve as an instructor of record for any instructional activity.


  1. The dean of the college, in consultation with the chairs of departments in which teaching assistants are employed, shall set the basic workload policy for teaching assistants within the college.


  1. Teaching Load


A teaching assistant holding a half-time appointment in any college or school of UT Austin will be expected to devote an average of twenty hours per week to his or her assigned duties. Appointments  may not exceed twenty hours per week during the first two long-session semesters of graduate study at the University and thirty hours per week during subsequent long-session semesters.


  1. Supervision and Instruction of Teaching Assistants


  1. All teaching assistants shall be under direct and assigned supervision of a regular member of the faculty and shall regularly report on the conduct and performance of their duties to the supervising faculty. The supervising faculty shall, at the end of each semester, file with the chair of the employing department a written evaluation of the performance of teaching assistants under the supervising faculty's direction. The evaluation shall become a permanent part of the teaching assistant's personnel file.


  1. Instruction of teaching assistants shall be provided by the department or college employing them in order to prepare teaching assistants to carry out their assigned duties. Departments may require a special graduate course, 398T, or may design instruction that consists of ongoing meetings or individual faculty instruction. Instruction shall be designed to fit the nature of the assigned duties.


  1. Other Employment Information


  1. Teaching assistants are subject to the Rules and Regulations of The University of Texas System  Board of Regents, the University, the Graduate School, the college/school, and department in which they hold employment. In the performance of their duties they must abide by and adhere to the academic and instructional criteria and policies established by the department in which they render service.


  1. The Responsibilities, Rights, and Welfare of Graduate Student Academic Employees Committee (a standing committee of the General Faculty) serves in an advisory capacity for institutional policy  and governance relating to the affairs of teaching assistants.


  1. Teaching assistants, as student academic employees, are eligible:


  1. to participate in the University Group Insurance Program in accordance with the current eligibility criteria for the Program;


  1. to purchase parking permits in designated areas;


  1. to participate in certain other benefits in accordance with existing policy criteria; and


  1. may be eligible for tuition benefits (see HOP 9-1120 - "Request for Exemption From Non-resident Tuition on the Basis of Employment or Military Assignment").
  1. Although they are not members of the faculty, teaching assistants are expected to conform to the same standards of conduct in the performance of their academic duties as are members of the faculty and shall respect the rights and opinions of students and uphold the academic standards of the University.


  1. Teaching assistant appointments do not provide for accrued vacation or sick leave entitlements or Teacher Retirement System membership. Time off due to illness or during academic breaks will be arranged in accordance with established practices of the hiring department.


  1. Reappointment


A department may reappoint a teaching assistant if it is determined that reappointment is to the benefit of the institution. Prior service does not guarantee availability of a teaching assistant position.


  1. A teaching assistant may be considered for reappointment if:


  1. he or she has, in the opinion of the chair of the employing department, provided satisfactory service; and


  1. he or she meets the scholastic requirements for eligibility set by the Graduate School and is

certified as being in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress toward a graduate degree.


  1. No  graduate student shall be  eligible for reappointment as a teaching assistant after having served   in that capacity for fourteen long-session academic semesters. The total combined service as a teaching assistant, graduate research assistant, academic assistant, assistant (graduate), and assistant instructor shall not exceed fourteen long-session academic semesters.


  1. Termination of Appointment


  1. Termination of a teaching assistant before the expiration date of the stated period of appointment will be only for good cause shown.


  1. A teaching assistant may seek redress of any grievance related to the terms and conditions of employment as provided for in the "Teaching Assistant and Assistant Instructor Grievance Procedures" (HOP 9-2050)


For assistance: Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies at 512-471-4511 or to http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/ also please visit: http://www.utexas.edu/hr/student/compensation.html.

Previously HOP 8.01 and HOP 12.C.1