Serving as a Teaching Assistant helps graduate students obtain practical classroom teaching experience, as well as assist undergraduate students succeed in classroom. Here are a list of resources to aid in your success as a teaching assistant:
School of Engineering Supplemental Memo
- Enrollment: TAs or TFs must be a full-time UCM graduate student enrolled in at least 12 units during the semester of appointment. Graduate students do not need to be registered in courses during summer session; however, they must be an active UCM graduate student.
- Academic Standing: All students must be in good academic standing as defined in the Graduate Policies & Procedures Handbook.
- Appointments: During any academic year, a graduate student may not be appointed in any capacity by the University of California beyond a maximum of 49.99% time.
- Application: Any graduate student seeking employment as a TA/TF must submit an application for a position through the UCM employment web site, AP Recruit, at https://aprecruit.ucmerced.edu/.
- Oral English Proficiency: International and U.S. Permanent Resident graduate students who are not citizens of countries where English is either the primary or dominant language, as approved by the UCM Graduate and Research Council, and who wish to be considered for appointment as a TA or TF, must pass an approved oral English proficiency examination. There is no exception to this requirement. Additional requirements for international students seeking employment can be found in the Graduate Policies & Procedures Handbook.
Conditions of Employment
All TA/TF appointments are made in accordance with the University of California’s Academic Personnel Manual (APM) 410, UAW labor agreement and the UC Merced Graduate Policies & Procedures Handbook.
A TA is not responsible for the instructional content of a course, selection of student assignments, planning of examinations, or determining the term grade for students. In addition, the TA is not to be assigned responsibility for instructing the entire enrollment of a course or for providing the entire instruction of a group of students enrolled in a course. The TA is responsible only for the conduct of recitation, laboratory, or quiz sections under the active direction and supervision of a regular member of the faculty to whom responsibility for the course’s entire instruction, including the performance of TAs, has been assigned.
Subject to the general supervision of a faculty member designated in catalogs and published schedules as “in charge” of the course, a TF should be competent to provide the entire instruction of a lower division course to a group of students, and normally should be given such assignments. Assignment to conduct instruction in an upper division or graduate course or course section may not be made except with the approval of the Committee on Courses of Instruction (Regulations of the Academic Senate, 750).
Training and Orientation
All required training and orientation shall be considered part of the workload for the term, with the exception of pedagogy courses in which a TA/TF is required to be enrolled. Said pedagogy courses and training requirements shall not be used to reduce the number of TA/TF appointments.
The University may require, at its sole discretion, a TA/TF to satisfactorily complete required training to continue appointment as a TA/TF. The University may, at its sole discretion, require that a TA/TF who has not satisfactorily completed the required training, repeat the training without the repeated training counting toward the workload. New TAs are required to participate in Graduate and Research Orientation Week (GROW).
Unpaid activities for which academic credit is given, or that are academic program requirements for all students in the program, or are training required to meet minimum eligibility requirements (e.g., English language tests), are not considered employment activities.
Supervision and Instructional Support for TAs
Teaching Assistants are expected to work under the direction of the primary course instructor. That person should clearly outline the goals of the course and your duties, and provide you with the support you need to carry them out.
Should you feel that your duties are not adequately defined or that you are not being provided with the necessary direction or support you need to carry them out, you should first discuss the matter with your primary course instructor. If difficulties persist, please inform Tomiko Hale (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will do our best to address the problems.
Workload and Responsibilities
For your current semester course assignment, please refer to your Appendix C (Description of Duties). In addition, as an Academic Student Employee, the terms and conditions of your appointment are described in the Agreement between the University of California and the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), AFL-CIO and its Local Union 2865. You can find the complete text of the Agreement at: https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/labor/bargaining-units/
Most TA appointments are at 50% time. A 50% TA should expect to spend an average of about 20 hours per week on teaching duties. However, the time commitment may vary considerably from week to week, particularly in courses with a fieldwork component. The total workload should not exceed 340 hours per semester or 40 hours in any given week. TAs/TFs who believe that assigned duties require a greater time commitment should discuss the matter with the primary course instructor, or if necessary myself.
Conflicts of interest
TAs/TFs must refrain from any activity or conduct that creates an apparent or actual conflict of interest. A TA/TF must not assign grades for, or evaluate the work of, anyone he or she is closely related to or has a financial or close personal relationship with. If you think your assignment might involve an actual or perceived conflict of interest, please discuss the matter with your primary course instructor and/or one of the Graduate Program Staff.
TAs/TFs are allowed and encouraged to offer help to their students outside of regular class or office hours. However, such sessions should be conducted in a professional manner within the duties of the teaching assignment. A TA/TF may not request or accept any form of additional compensation from any student in the course to which he/she is assigned.
Absences, Coverage, and Leave Requests
TAs are responsible for the education of the students in their sections and should realize that it is very difficult to replace a TA on short notice. Should you be unable to meet a scheduled section because of a medical or personal emergency, immediately inform the course instructor and email Shannon Adamson and we will attempt to find a replacement. Be prepared to provide documentation of the reason for cancellation. More than three such emergency absences during a semester must be taken as unpaid leave.
Special note regarding influenza (“flu”): The campus is encouraging students, TAs and instructors to stay home and away from others if they think they might have the flu or are experiencing flu symptoms. The flu usually starts suddenly and may include the following symptoms:
|*Fever (usually high)||*Body Aches||*Headache||*Runny or stuffy nose|
|*Tiredness (can be extreme)||*Sore throat||*Cough||*Diarrhea and vomiting|
Each TA will be evaluated at the end of every semester for adherence to the requirements listed above. If the work has been judged satisfactory, the TA will be eligible to be reappointed for future teaching. If there are concerns, TAs may be placed on probation for a semester until the problem is corrected or they may become ineligible for reappointment.
- The evaluation will normally be performed by the primary course instructor. The primary course instructor will provide a short memo outlining his/her opinion of the TA's performance.
- Additional comments may be solicited from other faculty, instructors, or laboratory coordinators with whom the TA interacted.
- Student teaching evaluations will also be considered.
University of California TA policies: http://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel-programs/academic-personnel-policy/index.html
Academic Personnel Manual 410: https://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel-programs/_files/apm/apm-410.pdf
University of California, Merced Academic Personnel Office: http://academicpersonnel.ucmerced.edu/
Graduate Student Child Care Reimbursement Policy: http://academicpersonnel.ucmerced.edu/node/300
Laboratory safety: Environmental Health and Safety: https://ehs.ucmerced.edu/
General advice, support, and training for TAs: Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning: http://cetl.ucmerced.edu/
Please visit the UC Merced Course Schedule to confirm that your section assignments are correct each semester.
Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning (CETL)
Aside from Teaching Assistant orientation, CETL provides on-going support services for TAs are available at the center throughout the year. The center offers various workshops focused on the scholarship of teaching, including topics like active learning, working with ESL students, using scoring rubrics and others. In addition, CETL provides individual consultations for teaching assistants to provide feedback on teaching strategies.
English Language Institute (ELI)
Aside from conducting the Microteaching Language Evaluation for non-native English speakers, ELI provides semester-long workshops and coursework to enhance English proficiency in speaking and listening comprehension.