Policy 2310 - University Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines for Graduate, Teaching, and Research Assistantships
Revision Date: 6/29/2016
Original Effective Date: 9/3/2003
Responsible Office: Dean of the Graduate School
Effective for Fall Quarter 2016
The Graduate School offers the administrative structure, leadership, and guidance necessary to support graduate education at Louisiana Tech University. The staff members of the Graduate School work with the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Graduate Council, the academic Deans/Associate Deans, and the graduate programs and faculty to help provide students with a superior educational and research environment within which to pursue rigorous, challenging, and relevant graduate and professional degrees.
The Dean of the Graduate School administers and coordinates the graduate programs of the University. Graduate instruction is supervised by the appropriate academic deans, associate deans for graduate studies, department heads/coordinators/directors, and graduate faculty under policies set forth by the University of Louisiana System, Louisiana Tech University, and the Graduate Council chaired by the Dean of the Graduate School. The President of the University is the final institutional authority in the operation of the Graduate School.
The Graduate Council, chaired by the Dean of the Graduate School and composed of representatives from each College and the Student Government Association, recommends policy requirements and identifies issues that pertain to graduate, teaching, and research assistants. The Graduate Council relies upon each College to establish specific policies within the framework established for the University. The policies established by each College must be in writing and recommended for approval by the Graduate Council. It is the responsibility of each College to implement, monitor, enforce, and file for review the guidelines set forth in this document.
Student Responsibility and Requirements
It is the responsibility of students receiving graduate assistantship funding to be knowledgeable about all policies and procedures regarding compliance with the awarding of and retaining eligibility for an assistantship. Individuals appointed with the title of Graduate Assistant, Teaching Assistant, or Research Assistant must be admitted to and enrolled full-time in a graduate degree program.
Assistantships are normally budgeted to a College but can also be provided by non-academic areas such as the Library, Residential Housing, Continuing Education, and the Enterprise Center. Applications for an assistantship may be obtained from the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the applicable College or administrative unit/department in which the services are to be performed.
In addition to meeting all admission requirements, certain units/departments may also require letters of recommendation for an assistantship position. Students whose first language is not English and who are seeking graduate teaching assistantships must demonstrate English language proficiency. Additional requirements are necessary for those appointed to Teaching Assistantships.
Availability and Deadlines
Contact the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in applicable college and/or administrative unit/department to identify the availability and deadlines for assistantships in a particular area.
Assistantships are limited in number and are not guaranteed. Assistantships are subject to criteria such as minimum grade point average/test scores, a specific skills set offered by the applicant, needs of the College or Unit/Department, and order in which the assistantship application was received. To be eligible for an assistantship, a graduate student must
- meet Graduate School admission requirements,
- meet the requirements of the individual College,
- must submit satisfactory standardized test scores, if applicable, and/or
- meet requirements of category of assistantship, if applicable (i.e., Teaching Assistantship).
Students leaving the campus for academic related activities (e.g., University sponsored research activities) may be considered for an assistantship. Students are required to complete the Assistantship Agreement for At-a-Distance Assignment PRIOR to leaving campus. Duties and responsibilities are to be detailed in the Assistantship Agreement for At-a-Distance Assignments. International students must secure signatures on the Assistantship Agreement for At-a-Distance Assignments from the International Student Office prior to any off-campus assignments attesting to the fact that the assignment will not jeopardize the international student’s visa status.
Students admitted to the Graduate School in the non-degree category (i.e., Life-Long Learning, Transient, Graduate Certificate) are not eligible for an assistantship.
Reasons that may lead the loss of an Assistantship
Reasons a student may lose an assistantship include but are not limited to:
- becoming ineligible for continued enrollment in the Graduate School,
- being placed on academic probation,
- students leaving campus during an assistantship appointment period for reasons other than approved University-related business (i.e., traveling home for visit, vacation, etc.),
- student violation of University policy (e.g., falsification of time sheet),
- dropping below full-time status,
- lack of available funding, or
- failure to perform assigned duties.
Students who lose an assistantship also forfeit any benefits associated with the assistantship, such as the out-of-state fee waiver and, in some cases, may also be required to pay back funds associated with the assistantship.
As stated in University Policy 1402-Conditions of Employment, students are not allowed to work or be paid as an Assistant AND be employed by the University as an Unclassified/Classified employee or Financial Aid student employee during the same time period. They will be required to resign from their current position before starting the new position.
Appointment Request Forms
Assistantships are appointed after the submission and approval of an Appointment Request Form. Appointment Request Forms must be completed every fiscal year by the department, research center, unit, or Director of Graduate Studies in each college as in each case is appropriate. Amended forms must be completed if there are changes in any of the following:
- the stipend amount,
- the position,
- the budget account code, or
- the award period.
No appointment is final until approval has been received from the President and the Appointment Request Form is filed in the Office of Human Resources. Approved Appointment Request Forms must be filled out correctly and include signatures from the appropriate Department or Budget Head, Dean, Budget Officer, Graduate School, Division Head or Vice-President, and President. The Appointment Request Forms using Grant Funds must also obtain signatures from the Project Director and University Research. The Office of Human Resources will only accept completed, signed Appointment Request Forms. Incomplete forms will be returned to the appropriate department. Completed signed forms must be received in the Office of Human Resources by the Monthly Payroll Deadline in order to be paid that month. Forms received after the Monthly Payroll Deadline will be paid in the following month. Monthly Payroll Deadlines are found on the Office of Human Resources webpage .
Appointment Request Forms should clearly designate the category of the Assistantship:
- GA: Graduate Assistantship
- TA: Teaching Assistantship (Instructor of Record)
- RA: Research Assistantship
Students changing from one category to another (e.g., GA to TA, GA to RA) should have a new Appointment Request Form generated to reflect the change in duties.
NOTE: Appointment Request Forms that are amended or changed during the year REPLACE any previous Appointment Request Forms. Units should be mindful that changing an Appointment Request Form can impact out-of-state fee waivers and payment for future quarters. When revising or changing an Appointment Request Form, the new Appointment Request Form(s) should be marked as “Amended” at the top of the form and a copy of the previous form be attached. It is possible to amend part of the award period of the appointment. Please note that a new Appointment Request Form is required to continue the assistantship when the Amended Appointment Request Form ends.
Assistants appointed during the quarter in which the graduate degree will be conferred cannot work beyond the last day of classes for that final quarter. Students pursuing dual degrees simultaneously and awarded assistantship funding during the final quarter when one of the graduate degrees is conferred may continue working beyond the last day of classes for that quarter as long as the student continues enrollment in the second graduate degree program. Failure to continue with the second degree after completion of the first degree may require reimbursement of funds to the University because of ineligibility.
Out-of-State Fee Waiver
Appointment Request Forms cannot be processed or the out-of-state fee waiver posted by the Graduate School until the Assistant has been appropriately registered for the correct number of credit hours. All Appointment Request Forms will be returned to the originating office to be held until the student has been appropriately registered.
Out-of-state tuition is waived for those students holding full-time or part-time assistantships for a minimum of four weeks within a given quarter. The Appointment Request Form must reach the Graduate School prior to the 9th class day of any quarter to receive the out-of-state fee waiver. Out-of-state fee waivers must be posted to the student account prior to the 9th class day of each quarter. In order for the Assistant to receive an out-of-state fee waiver posted after the 9th class day, the Appointment Request Form must be accompanied by a memorandum from the originating office identifying the reason for the late processing. This memorandum must be approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Dean of the applicable College, and Dean of the Graduate School.
Out-of-state fee waivers are not retroactive.
Resigning and Termination from an Assistantship
Assistants who resign from the University in accordance with University regulations can expect a reduction of the out-of-state tuition waiver received as part of the assistantship to be calculated as part of the resignation calculation. Assistants who resign or abandon an assistantship but who remain enrolled at the University will be required to repay the out-of-state tuition waiver to the University if the Assistant worked less than the required four (4) full weeks of the academic quarter.
A student is to be notified in writing by the unit funding the assistantship if the assistantship is to be terminated. Students wishing to appeal an assistantship termination may follow the appeal procedure outlined in this document.
As indicated in University Policy 1403-New Employees and Terminating Employees, the Office of Human Resources must be notified immediately by the terminating employee’s department of any terminations of employment in order to avoid any possible overpayment of salaries.
Notifications must be made in writing for audit purposes. Acceptable forms of written notification are e-mail, fax, or memorandum (Example of Memorandum to be used).
Teaching Assistantship-Additional information on Appointment Request Form
Teaching Assistant Appointment Request Forms should denote the number of graduate semester credit hours the student has earned in the area of teaching on the Appointment Request Form for each submission. The Teaching Assistant must meet a minimum of 18 semester graduate credit hours in the teaching discipline. A copy of the Teaching Assistant’s transcript with the appropriate graduate courses highlighted that are applicable to the area of teaching should accompany the Appointment Request Form the first time a student is designated as a Teaching Assistant. Subsequent submission of the Appointment Request Form designating the student as a Teaching Assistant requires documentation of the number of graduate credit hours earned on the Appointment Request form next to Category of Assistantship. The course(s) assigned to the Teaching Assistant should be listed on the Appointment Request Form. Teaching Assistants should not be assigned to teach Graduate courses or courses where Graduate Credit can be earned.
Teaching Assistants whose primary language is not English are required to have proof of English Proficiency submitted with the first Appointment Request Form designating the student as a Teaching Assistant. Subsequent submission of the Appointment Request Form designating the student as a Teaching Assistant should note that the documentation is on file.
Students should schedule an appointment to complete paperwork in the Office of Human Resources upon receipt of an assistantship. The following should be brought with the Assistant to the scheduled appointment with the Office of Human Resources:
United States Citizens
Should bring original unexpired identification:
- United States Passport or
- Driver’s License or
- Government Issued ID with Birth Certificate or Social Security Card.
Should bring their
- original unexpired Permanent Resident Card or
- Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551) and Social Security Card.
Assistants who are not United States citizens and do not hold Permanent Residency Status should first secure a Social Security Card. The International Student Office located on the Louisiana Tech University campus will assist with this process. Once the Social Security Card is received, the student should schedule an appointment with Office of Human Resources to complete the necessary paperwork. If an Assistant has a problem obtaining the above identification, he/she should personally contact the Office of Human Resources.
Assistants employed by the University are covered under Workman’s Compensation laws. It is therefore imperative that the proper hiring procedures are followed to ensure that the University and/or its agents are not in violation of any rules or statutes.
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, prohibits employers (including schools) from accepting voluntary services from any paid employee. Any Graduate Assistant employed by the University must be paid in accordance with the University's Graduate Assistantship policy.
Requirements of an Assistantship
Full-Time and Part-Time Assistantships
Full-time assistants can work no more than 20 hours per week. Students can also be offered part-time assistantships. An assistantship is considered to be part-time if time/teaching requirements are less than that of a full-time assistantship (maximum of 20 hrs/week) offered by that unit/department A student must meet the same eligibility, course load requirements, etc. criteria for a part-time assistantship as for a full assistantship.
Stipend Amounts and Duration of Appointment
Full-time and part-time stipends for Assistants are established by the department or unit where the assistantship is offered and must meet the federal minimum wage requirements. Duration of the appointment is determined by the department or unit but is contingent upon availability of funding.
Course Load Requirements
Assistants are expected to earn no less than six (6) hours of graduate credit on their Plan of Study during each regular quarter (Fall, Winter, Spring). Summer quarter is exempt from earning six (6) hours of graduate credit provided the student was a full-time graduate student the previous Spring Quarter AND has pre-registered for full-time in the upcoming Fall Quarter. In that case, Summer enrollment of three (3) graduate hours is sufficient to retain an assistantship. If the student was not full-time during the previous Spring Quarter or will not be full-time during the upcoming Fall Quarter, the student must be enrolled in a minimum of six (6) hours of credit on the graduate Plan of Study during the Summer Quarter to retain eligibility.
If undergraduate courses have been stipulated to fulfill deficiencies in the Plan of Study and are used to fulfill those deficiencies, these courses must be listed on the Plan of Study. Courses being audited do not qualify. Assistants must be enrolled in a minimum of 3 graduate hours on Plan of Study in addition to the undergraduate deficiency courses to retain assistantship eligibility.
An Assistant who is registered to graduate may receive an assistantship for the quarter in which the student is scheduled to graduate, but must be enrolled in at least one 3 semester credit hour graduate course listed on his or her graduate Plan of Study. NOTE: This exemption from the six (6) hour enrollment requirement may be used only once during each student’s graduate program. Students who postpone graduation cannot re-use this category in a subsequent quarter and must be enrolled full-time for the remainder of the graduate program in order to be eligible for an assistantship. Exceptions, for unusual circumstances, must be recommended in writing by the appropriate Director of Graduate Studies and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.
Assistants who reduce their course load below full-time graduate status (6 graduate hours) may have their assistantship cancelled and may be required to repay the out-of-state tuition waiver, and/or other fees received as part of the assistantship to the University. According to the Department of Civil Service, “a student employee dropping from full-time status to part-time status...MUST TERMINATE University employment immediately.” The student will be responsible for reimbursing the University for those funds received while ineligible to do so.
All Assistants are required to submit monthly time and attendance reports to their unit/department head. Assistants must sign only their own individual time sheet certifying the actual hours worked. All time/attendance reports must contain original signatures, and stamped, faxed, or copied reports are not permissible. These forms must be completed monthly by each Assistant, including those on research/external appointments, and returned to the respective unit/department head and appropriate Dean/administrator for review and signature prior to submission to the Office of Human Resources by the 5th working day of each month. In addition, each Assistant is expected to keep a daily log of time worked. Copies of the daily log of time worked should be retained by the appointing unit and the monthly time/attendance reports submitted to the Office of Human Resources must be available for inspection by auditors at all times. The Records Retention schedule should be used to determine the length of time for retaining these records.
Assistants are not required to work or “make up” their regularly scheduled work hours when the University is officially closed. Assistants who are scheduled to work during quarter break or when the University is officially closed (e.g., Christmas) and fail to do so are required to document missed hours. Assistants are not required to “make-up” time for University closures; therefore, assistants are not required to document hours worked on the timesheet during University closures. For example, assistants are not required to indicate on the timesheet that hours were worked during the Christmas break unless actual hours were worked. Assistants are paid their normal hourly rate for these two weeks unless the funding department indicates otherwise.
Assistants will be compensated only for hours worked during a pay period and may not exceed 20 hours per week during any pay period. The limit of hours must be monitored by the departmental supervisors to make sure that the maximum of 20 hours per week is not exceeded without prior approval.
Any scheduled hours not worked during the month (e.g., absences due to illness, death in the family, etc.) must be made up during the same pay period or the hours missed will be deducted from the paycheck. Do not list absences on time sheet if hours are made up. Assistants are not eligible to earn vacation, leave time, comp time, or other benefits and are not automatically exempt from income tax withholdings. Falsification of time-sheets may result in disciplinary action by the University or even criminal charges.
Assistants leaving campus for campus related activities (e.g., conferences) while on assistantships are required to have a university approved travel authorization even if no funding is being provided to the assistant for the travel. Upon return, documentation should be provided for the duration of leave. If assistants travel to other locations for personal business during the academic quarter, the assistantship should be terminated during this period and the assistantship can be re-instated on the first day the assistant returns to campus using Appointment Request Forms. Failure to comply with this can result in the loss of benefits (out-of-state fee waiver) and return of funds back to the University.
Assignments and Duties
Assistants are vital components of the graduate programs at Louisiana Tech University. Their assistance is essential to the fulfillment of the role, scope, and mission of each of these programs. It is an honor to be selected as an Assistant. Students who serve in this capacity are recognized for academic achievement and professional promise. They serve in a supervised setting while also pursuing an advanced degree. Acceptance of an Assistantship is a professional commitment for the time stipulated. Assistants serve in variously assigned administrative, teaching, assisting, or clerical capacities.
The duties of a Graduate Assistant primarily support administrative functions and include such general functions and typical duties such as:
- Clerical Support
- Copying course materials,
- Technical / Support Services
- Webmaster/assisting faculty with web pages,
- Network administration/end-user support,
- Monitoring, instruction, and service in labs (computer, video, etc.),
- Routine support for publications (record keeping, writing copy for university or department newsletters or non-research publications, correspondence, etc.),
- Providing curricular and academic advice to students, and/or
- Providing support to advisors.
Other duties may be assigned to a unit/department or to a faculty member who will define the specific duties of the Graduate Assistant. These duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Assistance in administering and grading objective exams or the objective questions included in exams,
- Preparation of demonstration materials, displays, or audio-visual materials,
- Maintenance of classrooms, laboratories, equipment, and storage areas in good order; reporting needed repairs and problems to their supervisor,
- Library research,
- Computer assistance such as data entry, spreadsheets, statistical packages, and word processors; and assistance in conducting literature searches, and/or
- Assistance to the Library in the conduct of its circulation, inter-library loan, reserves, and related business.
The Graduate Assistant is an extension of the permanent teaching faculty and staff and as such must meet certain expectations:
- Assuming assigned duties,
- Maintaining a professional attitude towards students, staff, and faculty,
- Maintaining a standard of personal appearance and personal hygiene which reflects a professional demeanor,
- Handling confidential information in a professional manner, and
- Representing the College and University to others with whom the assistant has contact.
Normally, the academic unit/department head/coordinator by which the assignment is made shall designate, subject to the approval of the Dean of the College, faculty members holding full-time appointments to supervise and coordinate the work of the Graduate Assistant. Graduate Assistants are expected to report to appropriate faculty and staff members promptly and regularly.
Graduate Assistants are not required to be evaluated by a unit. However, a unit may choose to evaluate the performance of a Graduate Assistant on a quarterly or annual basis.
The duties of Research Assistants may vary according to the nature of the research project and the source of the funding. Generally, Research Assistants assist faculty members on research projects and perform related duties such as utilizing techniques and procedures to obtain original data. Duties include but are not limited to
- Collecting, organizing, and analyzing data,
- Conducting experiments,
- Maintaining records,
- Using computer and data processing tools,
- Preparing and presenting materials for conferences,
- Documenting and writing for publications, and/or
- Attending conferences.
All Research Assistants are responsible for Compliance with the following Policies and Procedures:
Research Assistants are not independent researchers and answer directly to their supervisor or principal investigator.
Research Assistants are not required to be evaluated by a unit. However, a unit may choose to evaluate the performance of a Research Assistant on a quarterly or annual basis.
Teaching Assistant (Instructor of Record)
A Teaching Assistant is defined as one who teaches a course and/or assigns the final grade for such a course. The duties of a Teaching Assistant are primarily in support of instruction and include such responsibilities as:
- Teaching Classes,
- Grading student assignments,
- Developing Academic Instructional Materials,
- Accompanying/Coaching Musical or Vocal Performances,
- Providing Artistic Instruction,
- Proctoring Exams,
- Holding Office Hours, and/or
- Tutoring students.
A Teaching Assistant should not be assigned primary responsibility for a class until he/she has earned at least eighteen (18) graduate semester hours in the field being taught and demonstrates satisfactory language proficiency. An exception to the eighteen (18) graduate semester hours in the field of teaching is for Teaching Assistants assigned to sections of activity courses (e.g., jogging, bowling, etc.). Teaching Assistants assigned to activity course are required to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in the field, are provided with the course syllabus to follow, and are monitored closely throughout the quarter by the relevant program faculty
Teaching Assistants are required to maintain office hours. Office hour requirements are determined by the unit/department in which the assistant is teaching. Both teaching and service assignments are made at the unit/departmental levels. Some variations in assignments and duties will occur.
Teaching Orientation Course
Each Teaching Assistant is required to successfully complete University Seminar 500 prior to or during the first quarter assigned to teach an academic course.
English Language Proficiency
Students for whom English is a second language may be appointed to Teaching Assistantships only after having demonstrated proficiency in English. Such Teaching Assistants, in addition to having achieved the required minimum TOEFL exam score of 550 (paper-based), or 80 (internet-based); or IELTS exam score of 6.5 (over 4 modules) or ELS 112 Certification, must also achieve one of the following:
- Satisfactory completion of a lecture/presentation given to a four-person committee
made of a mixture of faculty and students.
The attached Teaching Assistant English Proficiency form is an example of the documentation to be completed and sent with the initial Appointment Request Form. A copy of the signed form should be placed in the Teaching Assistant’s personnel file.
- Satisfactory completion of a free Speech Screening performed through the Louisiana Tech University Speech and Hearing Center. Appointments can be made by contacting the Speech and Hearing Center at (318) 257-4766.
Verification of completion of satisfactory screening should be placed in the Teaching Assistant’s personnel file and sent with the initial Appointment Request Form.
If the student is found to need assistance with English Proficiency, the student should be referred to the Louisiana Tech University Speech and Hearing Center for assistance. Teaching assignments should not be made until the student successfully completes either 1 or 2 as described in this section.
The Teaching Assistant is an extension of the permanent teaching faculty and staff and as such must meet certain expectations:
- Assuming duties assigned, and reporting to appropriate faculty and staff members promptly and regularly,
- Maintaining a professional attitude towards students, staff, and faculty,
- Maintaining a standard of personal appearance and personal hygiene which reflects a professional demeanor,
- Handling confidential information in a professional manner, and
- Representing the College and University to others with whom the assistant has contact.
The academic unit/department head/coordinator making the assignment shall designate, subject to the approval of the Dean of the College, faculty members holding full-time appointments to supervise, mentor, and coordinate the work of the Teaching Assistant. Teaching Assistants are expected to report to appropriate Faculty Mentor and staff members promptly and regularly.
The Teaching Assistant shall meet with his or her supervising Faculty Mentor a minimum of three (3) times during each quarter. The first meeting shall be held before classes begin to discuss such topics as goals (self-evaluation), instructional strategies, testing and grading, student counseling, attendance regulations, academic misconduct and plagiarism, course content and syllabus, and discipline.
The second meeting is to be held approximately three (3) weeks after the term has begun. Discussion at this meeting should focus on any problems that the Teaching Assistant may have encountered. Although this meeting is primarily designed to provide possible solutions to these problems, other relevant matters may appropriately be considered.
The third meeting with the Faculty Mentor and Teaching Assistant will provide an opportunity to discuss the preparation and submission of final grades and other end-of-quarter activities. The Faculty Mentor will help the Teaching Assistant take a retrospective look at the quarter’s work and make plans for improving the instruction and conduct of future classes as well as evaluate the Teaching Assistant (see Evaluation below).
The faculty mentor shall conduct a visit to each class taught by a Teaching Assistant. The Faculty Mentor shall then hold a follow-up conference to discuss the performance of the Teaching Assistant. This conference may be incorporated into the second meeting discussed under “In-Service Training.”
In addition to class visitations and in-service training, an evaluation of the Teaching Assistant is required and follows the evaluation model for the faculty as presented in Policy 2108 (self-evaluation, student evaluation, and administrative evaluation) and Policy 2109. However, slight modifications are noted below to meet the unique needs and circumstances related to Teaching Assistants:
Teaching Assistants are evaluated only on the criteria of Instruction:
Every Teaching Assistant is expected to provide quality instruction for all classes assigned. Quality instruction includes the use of a variety of teaching strategies, the development and implementation of course syllabi, organization and management of courses and laboratories, and the evaluation of student achievement. Each Department will establish a mechanism to develop and maintain the teaching skills of its Teaching Assistants.
Relevant new technologies, innovative methodologies, and library resources should be used as appropriate with the goal of improving the quality and quantity of the learning experience. It is expected that students will be treated with respect, tact, and friendliness so that the Teaching Assistant can function as an effective guide, mentor, and counselor.
The evaluation cycle for Teaching Assistants can be on a Quarterly or Academic year basis depending on the nature of the appointment at Louisiana Tech University. Teaching Assistants should perform the following:
- Self-Evaluation. Each new Teaching Assistant shall state goals for the Instruction. The self-evaluation process should emphasize establishment of goals and objectives that are compatible with the Teaching Assistant's expertise. These objectives must be approved by the Faculty Mentor and Department or Area Head.
- Student Evaluation of Teaching Assistant Teaching Effectiveness. Evaluation of Teaching Assistant’s teaching effectiveness is to be carried out in accordance to Policy 2221, Student Evaluation of Faculty.)
- Administrative Evaluation of Teaching Assistant. The Faculty Mentor should provide a written summary to the Teaching Assistant in a formal manner providing the status and performance of that Teaching Assistant relative to Instruction. The evaluation of the Teaching Assistant should include substantive statements on the self-evaluation and student evaluations included in this discussion; other evaluation techniques such as classroom visits or peer evaluation may also be used as additional bases for discussion.
The total evaluation of the Teaching Assistant must be summarized in writing, signed by the Faculty Mentor and submitted to the Department/Area Head, and placed in the appropriate personnel files. A copy will be given to the Teaching Assistant.
The signing of the form confirms that the evaluation has been completed and that the Teaching Assistant has been informed of the rating. The Teaching Assistant may submit a rebuttal of the evaluation to the Unit Head. Copies of the rebuttal will be placed in the Teaching Assistant’s personnel file with a copy to the Dean.
The Faculty Mentor will assign one of the following summative evaluation ratings to each Teaching Assistant evaluation:
- Meets expectations
- Needs improvement
- Unsatisfactory performance
Unsatisfactory performance requires a plan of action to be implemented by the Faculty Mentor and Unit Head prior to allowing the Teaching Assistant being assigned to any additional teaching assignments.
Academic Regulations to be followed by Teaching Assistants
It is the responsibility of each Teaching Assistant to be familiar with the regulations in the University Catalog, the Manual of Policies & Procedures, and other relevant materials concerning
- course requirements,
- class meetings,
- class attendance and records,
- absences and make-up work,
- grading policies,
- academic misconduct,
- academic honor code,
- classroom behavior policy,
- accessibility, and
- student appeal procedure.
The relevant University Policies are summarized below; however, each Teaching Assistant is responsible for reading and complying with the full policy.
Louisiana Tech University is subject to the provisions of Federal law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (the Buckley Amendment), affording students’ rights of access to education records and imposing obligations on the University in the release and disclosure of those records to third parties.
Additional information regarding the law is available in Policy 6303, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and in the Office of Student Affairs
Class Meetings: Classes are to be met and dismissed on time. For one semester hour of credit, a class shall meet a minimum of 750 minutes in no fewer than five days. For two semester hours of credit, a class should meet a minimum of 1,500 minutes in no fewer than ten days. A three-semester hour course should meet a minimum of 2,250 minutes in no fewer than 15 days. Final exam periods may be counted as class time when computing required minutes and required days.
Food or drink is not allowed in auditoriums, classrooms, laboratories, and other instructional support areas. Any change in class time or location must be requested through the unit/department head, the academic dean, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, and the Registrar’s Office where the change will be recorded on the master room chart. In no instance should a Teaching Assistant change the meeting place or time for a class without following this procedure. When the request is approved, a notice of the change should be posted by the Teaching Assistant on the door of the regular meeting place.
Course Requirements: Each Teaching Assistant is expected to have clearly defined requirements for each course. These requirements should be detailed in writing, filed with the unit/department head and electronically posted on the course management (Moodle) site for each course taught. Inform the students of their responsibility to access and use the syllabus (paper copy not required).
The syllabus should cover such matters as student learning outcomes; examination(s), grading events, and other grading requirements (e.g., the number and type of tests, projects, and readings as well as an explanation of the grading system to be used and the policy for making up work,); class attendance regulations (permanent attendance records must be kept for each class.); accommodations for students with disabilities; Academic Honor Code;office hours and availability for individual counseling; and Emergency Notification System (ENS). The course description should agree with that given in the University Catalog.
It is the responsibility of the Teaching Assistant to establish a specific policy regarding class attendance. Teaching Assistants are required to state in writing to the students their expectations in regard to class attendance at the beginning of the term (no later than the close of the drop and add period). Teaching Assistants are required to keep a permanent attendance record for each class and to use these records for verification of attendance to the Office of Financial Aid as required. The records are subject to inspection by appropriate College or University officials.
Teaching Assistants should post and maintain accessible office hours for assisting and advising students. The number of office hours will be defined by the Faculty Mentor and Unit Head.
Teaching Assistants are responsible for following the policy and procedures for verifying class attendance using the First day class rolls, Ninth Day Class rolls, Final Class rolls. Do not allow students to attend class without having been registered for the class.
It is the responsibility of the instructor of each class to ensure that the classroom assigned for that class is unlocked and available at the designated time for class to be held. A classroom assignment to accommodate disabled students should be initiated at the Department level.
General provisions for the University's compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act are presented in Policy 1433. Faculty are encouraged to communicate the following to students, either on the course syllabus or individually: "A student requesting special testing or classroom accommodations is encouraged to meet with the instructor as soon as possible so that appropriate accommodations can be considered early in the quarter." Copies of A Quick Reference Guide for Teachers Teaching Students with Disabilities are available in Departmental offices. Additional information or assistance may be secured by contacting the Office of Academic Affairs or the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities at 257-4221.
Teaching Assistants are encouraged to work closely with the Faculty Mentor to ensure that students with disabilities are receiving appropriate accommodations and that course work materials are ADA compliant.
The University's system of grading is traditional: A grade of "A" is given for the highest degree of excellence that is reasonable to expect of students of exceptional ability and application. A grade of "B" is superior. A grade of "C" is average. A grade of "D" is given for a quality of work that is considered the minimum for receiving credit for the class. A grade of "S" indicates satisfactory completion of the course. A grade of "F" is given for a failure, and the work must be repeated to receive credit.
Some other grades given by the University need more explanation. The grade "I" (Incomplete) is used to denote failure to complete all assigned class work and/or examinations as a result of conditions beyond the student’s control. It is the responsibility of the student to initiate a request with the instructor that a grade of “I” be issued. If the student’s work is of passing quality, the instructor may approve the student’s request and will assign a grade of “I” plus the average letter grade on all work completed to that point (e.g. IA, IB, IC, or ID). A grade of “IF” cannot be issued. If the instructor agrees to issue an “I,” he/she will complete a standard “contract” with the student detailing requirements for course completion and specifying the date those requirements must be finished by completing the "I" Grade Completion Form. Instructors then provide a copy of the contract to the student and a copy to the Department Head/Director. Students will receive a grade of IA, IB, IC, or ID on their grade report (and transcript) for that quarter. Incompletes are factored into hours attempted and quality points awarded. Therefore, they impact a student’s quarter and cumulative grade point averages and are a factor in academic probation or suspension decisions. The maximum amount of time allowed for a student to finish incomplete work is Friday of the fourth week in the following quarter, with one exception: students receiving "I" grades at the end of the spring quarter have until the fourth week in the following fall quarter to complete their work. If the student does not complete the required work within the contracted period, the instructor will change the “I” to an “F” by delivering a final grade change to the Registrar’s Office by Friday of the fifth week of the quarter. The final grade replaces the “I” on the student’s permanent record (transcript); attempted hours, earned hours, quality points, and quarter/cumulative grade point averages are recalculated applying the final grade. A student may be placed on, or removed from academic probation or suspension based on the recalculated GPA at the time an “I” grade is cleared. “I” grades are cleared only by completing the required course work, and not by registering for the course again. NOTE: Students registered for approved graduate research, practicum, dissertation, or thesis courses requiring multiple quarters of the same course registration to complete the research receive an “I” for each attempt until the research or practicum is accepted as complete by the advising faculty member. At that time the graduate student’s “I” grades are changed to “S” on his/her permanent record.
A grade of “S” indicates satisfactory completion of a course. The "S" grade increases hours earned, but does not affect hours pursued or quality points and is not computed on any GPA. Students registered for a course where the grade of “S” is used who do not complete the required course work will receive the grade “F.”
A "W" is issued when a student withdraws from a class (drops a class) after the final date for registration has passed and before the end of the first seven weeks of a quarter. The "W" grade will appear on the student’s grade report and permanent record (transcript), but is not included in computing the student’s GPA. Students who stop attending class(es) without following proper drop/withdraw or resignation procedures (walk-away) will receive an “F” grade for each class affected.
The grade "NC" (used for undergraduate developmental courses only) denotes no credit earned or hours charged and is not computed in any GPA.
While there is no University schedule for final examinations, the last examination should be conducted on one of the final two class periods of the quarter. For classes meeting once a week, the last exam should be scheduled for the final class meeting. Classes will continue to meet through the last day of scheduled instruction. Any exceptions to this policy must be presented by the Teaching Assistant through the Faculty Mentor to the Unit Head for prior approval.
Teaching Assistants should not use social security numbers and student names in any public use, e.g., posting grades, room seating charts, validation of class rolls and selected lists. Grades should never be posted using names or social security numbers. Other numbers or means of identification (determined by the student and/or instructor) can be used in posting grades. If posted, grades should be listed in random order (not alphabetical) so that students can in no way be identified with their grades.
Teaching Assistants graduating or not teaching the following quarter should submit all graded material (papers, tests, and other submitted work) used in calculating final grades reported for students for any given quarter to the Faculty Mentor or Unit Head by the end of the Quarter. The Faculty Mentor or Unit Head will retain the materials for 30 days into the next quarter (exception: materials from spring quarter must be retained for 30 days into the next fall quarter). This will ensure that graded items are available to address grade appeals or possible errors in the recording of grades. The Teaching Assistant has the responsibility of being available, even if graduating, to participate in grade appeals for any courses taught.
For student work that cannot reasonably be stored for 30 days (e.g., architecture projects, engineering models) instructors should consider the need to maintain, in addition to the assigned grades, evaluative comments about such work in order to provide to an inquiring student an explanation regarding the final grade in question. An instructor should consider digital photographic storage of such projects. Being able to retrieve stored digital images of projects would be a useful way of reviewing with a student the final grade in question.
In the case of “I” grades, all graded materials must be retained for final grade calculations and then for 30 days into the next quarter after the final completion grade has been reported on the student transcript.
Teaching Assistants assigning “I” grades should be available to evaluate the student’s performance and assign the final grade for the course. If a Teaching Assistant is graduating or no longer at the University and has assigned an “I” grade in a course, the Faculty Mentor or Unit Head will assume the responsibility for assigning the final grade.
The Teaching Assistant will submit the grade reports (grade book, spreadsheets, etc.,) showing the recorded graded items and final grade calculations to the Faculty Mentor or Unit Head, which will be retained for one year.
Teaching Assistants will follow the University procedures for changing a grade, control of classrooms, assigning final grades, and academic appeal procedures.
Any Assistant may use the following procedure to bring a grievance. A grievance is defined as a written complaint involving a matter for concern or dissatisfaction relating to the conditions of employment. Assistants are strongly encouraged to discuss complaints with their Immediate Supervisor and make every effort to resolve the complaint prior to filing a grievance. Complaints not resolved by discussion between the Assistant and his/her Immediate Supervisor and/or Budget/ Unit Head may be submitted as grievances.
Issues related to academic progress, grade appeals, Assistant’s academic program, academic misconduct, graduate status, protected-class discrimination or sexual harassment will not be heard under this grievance procedure.
A grievance shall be in writing, and contain a clear and concise statement of the grievance and indicate the issue involved, the relief sought, and the date the incident or alleged violation took place. The grievance shall be dated and presented to the appropriate administrator.
All grievances must be presented no later than sixty (60) calendar days from the date the Assistant first became aware of, or should have become aware of, the cause of such grievance.
The Assistant must initiate a grievance with an administrative superior to whom an appeal of a grievance decision may be made. Grievances must be appealed to administrative responders in a progressive order.
- Immediate Supervisor
- Budget/Unit Head
- Graduate Associate Dean
- College Dean
- Vice President for Academic Affairs
STEP ONE: Within 14 days of receipt of the written grievance from the Assistant, the Immediate Supervisor will meet with the Assistant and attempt to resolve the grievance. The Immediate Supervisor will return a written answer to the Assistant no later than ten (10) days after this meeting.
Step One may be waived if the grievance is with the Immediate Supervisor.
STEP TWO: If the grievant is dissatisfied with the answer in STEP ONE, to be considered further, the grievance must be appealed to the appropriate Budget/Unit Head within 10 days of receipt of the written answer in STEP ONE. The Budget/Unit Head will meet with the grievant within 10 days of receipt of the written grievance and attempt to resolve the grievance. The Budget/Unit Head will return a written answer to the Assistant no later than ten (10) days after this meeting.
Step Two may be waived if the grievance is with the Budget/Unit Head.
STEP THREE: If the grievant is dissatisfied with the answer in STEP TWO, to be considered further, the grievance must be appealed to the appropriate Graduate Associate Dean of the College within 10 days from receipt of the answer in STEP TWO. The Graduate Associate Dean of the College will meet with the Assistant within 10 days from receipt of the appeal in STEP TWO and attempt to resolve the grievance. The answer will be put into writing following the meeting by the Associate Dean of the College and returned to the Assistant no later than ten (10) days after this meeting.
STEP FOUR: If the grievant is dissatisfied with the answer in STEP THREE, to be considered further, the grievance must be appealed to the appropriate Dean of the College within 10 days from receipt of the answer in STEP THREE. The Dean of the College will meet with the Assistant within 10 days from receipt of the appeal in STEP THREE and attempt to resolve the grievance. The answer will be put into writing following the meeting by the Dean of the College and returned to the Assistant no later than ten (10) days after this meeting.
STEP FIVE: If the grievant is dissatisfied with the answer in STEP FOUR, to be considered further, the grievance must be appealed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs within 10 days from receipt of the answer in STEP FOUR. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will meet with the Assistant within 10 days from receipt of the appeal in STEP FOUR and attempt to resolve the grievance. The answer will be put into writing following the meeting by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and returned to the Assistant no later than ten (10) days after this meeting.
STEP SIX: If the grievant is dissatisfied with the answer in STEP FIVE, to be considered further, the grievance must be appealed to the Office of the President within 10 days from receipt of the answer in STEP FIVE. The President or designated representative will meet with the Assistant within 10 days from receipt of the appeal in STEP FOUR and attempt to resolve the grievance. The answer will be put into writing following the meeting with the President or designated representative and returned to the Assistant no later than ten (10) days after this meeting. The decision of the Office of the President is final and binding.
Grievances not appealed within the designated time limits in any step of the procedure will be considered as settled on the basis of the preceding answer. Grievances not answered within the designated time limits in any Step may be appealed to the next Step within 14 days of the expiration of the designated time limits. The parties may, however, mutually agree in writing to extend the time limits in any step of the grievance procedure.