Graduate teaching and training policies

GTAs are expected to assist a faculty member or teach their own course (depending on the amount of prior teaching experience), which includes activities such as developing syllabi and assignments, grading, proctoring exams, lecturing, leading student discussions, and performing other pedagogical activities.

Students who have no prior teaching experience (at WSU or elsewhere) are initially assigned as a teaching assistant to a full-time faculty member to aid in their undergraduate course (e.g., SOC 2000, SOC 4220, SOC 4200, or SOC 4996). Thereafter, GTAs are generally assigned their own undergraduate course (SOC 2000 or SOC 2020). The first time that a GTA is the instructor of record, the course enrollment cap is 50 students.

Thereafter, the enrollment cap is set in accordance with department norms for the assigned course. As the instructor of record, GTAs are expected to develop a course syllabus, assignments, and grade and proctor all exams or other assignments. Course materials will be reviewed by a department faculty member prior to the start of the semester.

The contractual time commitment for a GA (GTA/GRA) position is 20 hours per week on average over the period of a semester. Given the nature of the ebb and flow of the activities for a specific position, the amount of work will vary from week to week over the course of a semester. The average time commitment across a semester should be 20 hours per week. Please refer to the Department of Sociology Graduate Assistant Work Rules and Policies for more detailed information. Please also see the University Graduate Employee Organizing Committee (GEOC) Agreement.

Faculty mentor and training

  • Each GTA, who is an instructor of record, is assigned a faculty mentor who is responsible for sharing materials/mentoring teaching for that course
  • GTAs must submit their syllabus to the director of graduate studies and their faculty mentor four weeks prior to the start of the semester they teach
  • Follow the Course Syllabus Guidelines and Sample Syllabus Template provided by the Office of Teaching and Learning to construct your syllabus
  • Faculty mentors must approve your syllabi prior to the beginning of the course
  • GTAs must add the faculty mentor to their course Canvas sites (role: instructor) unless they specifically request not to be added
  • Faculty mentors may observe a class you are teaching to provide feedback to enhance your professional development
  • GTAs must meet with their faculty mentor at least once during the course of the semester; faculty mentors may request to have other meetings to review course progress and to discuss any issues that may arise. GTAs may also request a meeting with their faculty mentor
  • Submit an electronic copy of your syllabus to the department's main office by the first day of class
  • All GTAs (including those who are not the instructor of record) are required to take the Graduate School Introduction to College Teaching and Learning (GS 7900; one credit). GTAs who do not comply may have their assistantship rescinded
  • All GTAs (including those who are not the instructor of record) are required to take the Office of Teaching and Learning Documentation Program (zero credit, over multiple years). GTAs who do not comply may have their assistantship rescinded
  • GTAs must attend all other departmental and graduate school orientation and training sessions, as required