Policy 2310 – University Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines for Graduate, Teaching, and Research Assistantships
Revision Date: 02/09/2023
Last Review: 02/09/2023
Original Effective Date: 9/3/2003
Responsible Office: Dean of the Graduate School
Policy Generation and Revision
The Graduate Council, chaired by the Dean of the Graduate School and composed of representatives from each College and the Student Government Association, recommends policies that pertain to graduate, teaching, and research assistants. These recommendations become policies when they are approved by the Council of Academic Deans, the Provost, and the President.
Eligibility and Requirements
In the following, the generic term Graduate Assistant (GA) will be used to refer to graduate assistants, graduate teaching assistants (TA), and graduate research assistants (RA) except when the discussion concerns one specific type of employee.
Eligibility for a GA is limited to full-time (enrolled in at least 6 graduate credit hours; exceptions outlined below) graduate students in good standing matriculating in a graduate degree program. Students in the non-degree category (i.e., Life-Long Learning, Transient, Graduate Certificate) are not eligible for an assistantship. Employers (colleges, departments, and other campus units) may establish additional eligibility criteria such as GPA, standardized test scores, etc., for eligibility, or require additional training to be awarded the assistantship.
Non-resident students employed as a graduate assistant also receive a waiver of the non-resident tuition for the duration of the employment.
GAs are required to:
- Become familiar with all applicable policies and procedures governing their assistantship,
- Work the assigned number of hours each week (up to a maximum of 20),
- Complete and submit, through proper channels, a time-sheet documenting the hours worked during each pay period, and
- Perform the duties specified by the supervisor within the specified deadline.
Loss of assistantship could result from a variety of factors including but not necessarily limited to:
- Becoming ineligible for continued enrollment in graduate school,
- Being placed on academic probation,
- Dropping below full-time enrollment at any time during the period of employment,
- Unauthorized absences from campus for periods long enough that the required weekly hours are not met,
- Unsatisfactory performance of assigned duties, or
- Violations of University Policies.
Students who lose an assistantship also forfeit any benefits associated with the assistantship such as the non-resident tuition 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 a graduate assistant AND be employed in another capacity by the University, e.g., as an Unclassified/Classified employee or as an hourly student employee, during the same time period. However, a student may hold GA positions in more than one department or unit, provided that the total number of hours worked per week does not exceed 20.
Policies Pertaining to GA, TA, and RA Appointments
Degree candidates: GAs who are degree candidates may not work beyond the last day of classes, regardless of the appointment period on the ARF, except in cases where they are pursuing a second degree and will continue to be eligible beyond the Commencement date.
Non-resident tuition waiver: Non-resident tuition waivers cannot be approved beyond the 9th day of classes unless a written exception is granted by the Graduate Dean. The GA appointment period must be for at least four consecutive weeks, and the work requirement should be at least 10 hours/week during that time for the employee to become eligible for non-resident tuition.
Minimum wage requirement: The GA’s hourly wage, calculated as monthly stipend/hours of work required in a four-week period, cannot be less than the prevailing minimum wage.
Record of work hours: All Assistants are required to submit biweekly time and attendance reports through Workday.
Making up work lost due to illness or other factors: GAs do not earn leave or compensatory time. Therefore, 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. At the same time, GAs are not required to make-up time for University closures. For example, GAs will be paid their normal hourly rate during the Christmas closure without logging work hours unless the employing unit indicates otherwise.
Termination or resignation: GAs whose appointments are terminated during the academic term due to any reason including voluntary resignation will lose the benefit of non-resident tuition waiver.
Minimum and maximum enrollment requirement: Only full-time graduate students (enrolled in at least 6 graduate credit hours; exceptions outlined below) are eligible for GA appointments. The maximum enrollment allowed while holding an assistantship is 9 graduate credits unless justification for exceeding this limit is provided by the department and approved by the Dean of Graduate School. GAs who drop below the 6 graduate credit minimum become ineligible for employment for that term. A GA who continues to hold employment while being ineligible will be required to reimburse the University for stipends received during that period.
Exceptions to full-time enrollment: Summer enrollment and final quarter enrollment: GAs who were full-time students during the Spring and are pre-registered for at least 6 graduate credits for the following Fall may retain their employment eligibility during the summer with enrollment in 3 graduate credits. A GA may also request permission to remain employed while being enrolled in only 3 graduate credits in the graduating term. This exception is available only once for a degree, i.e., if the student fails to graduate as anticipated, the “one-time option” is no longer available for that degree.
Absence from Campus: Graduate Assistants leaving campus for authorized activities (e.g., conferences, fieldwork, research at another laboratory) while on assistantships are required to have a university approved travel authorization (spend authorization) even if no funding is being provided to the assistant for the travel. Upon return, documentation should be provided for the duration of the trip. Personal travel during the academic term should be discussed and approved by the supervisor. The assistantship should be suspended during the period of absence and may be reinstated on the first day the assistant returns to campus. Personal travel without the approval of the supervisor may result in termination of the assistantship and loss of associated benefits (e.g., non-resident tuition waiver).
Additional Policies Pertaining to TA Appointments
A TA must have earned at least eighteen (18) graduate semester hours—at Louisiana Tech or elsewhere— in the disciplinary area relevant to the assigned courses and demonstrate satisfactory English language proficiency. An exception to this policy may be made for TA’s assigned to sections of activity courses (e.g., jogging, bowling, etc.). TA’s assigned to activity courses 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.
TAs are required to successfully complete the 0 credit online course UNIV 500: University Policies and Procedures for Teaching Assistants, prior to or during the first quarter assigned to teach an academic course.
Appointment Request Form (ARF): This refers to the online form that can be accessed at https://forms.latech.edu/ARF/
Full-time Enrollment: Full-time enrollment for a graduate student is 6 semester hours per quarter for Fall, Winter, and Spring and 3 semester hours for the Summer quarter.
Graduate Assistant: Graduate students who are employed up to 20 hrs/wk by academic or university-affiliated non-academic units.
Graduate Research Assistant: Graduate Research Assistants assist faculty members on research projects. They may be supported on external grants or internal funds.
Graduate Teaching Assistant: A Graduate Teaching Assistant is defined as one who is named as the instructor of record for a course, teaches the course, and assigns the final grade for such a course.
Grievance Procedure: Mechanism for addressing matters of concern or dissatisfaction relating to a GA’s conditions of employment or work environment.
Assistantships are offered by academic (colleges, departments, schools, research centers) and non-academic units (Athletics, Computing Center, Library, Housing, and others). The employing units should be contacted about the application process for an assistantship.
Graduate assistant appointments are initiated by an Appointment Request Form (ARF; see Definitions) in the Online Forms System. The ARF is initiated by authorized personnel, and then sent for signatures by the appropriate offices. For graduate assistants with appointments in more than one department or unit, the same ARF must list all the positions, i.e., separate ARFs from each unit are not to be filed. When the ARF has been signed and approved by the appropriate offices, the hiring process can be initiated in Workday by authorized personnel. The work supervisor will be notified through Workday when the hiring process has been completed. The appointment is finalized when the ARF has been approved by The Office of Human Resources. The graduate assistant is also notified via email once the ARF has been finalized.
All new Louisiana Tech employees, including Graduate Assistants, will need to complete onboarding through their Workday account.
International Students cannot be hired (onboarded) without a valid Social Security number on file with the Registrar’s office.
Assignments and Duties
Acceptance of an Assistantship is a professional commitment for the time stipulated. Assistants serve in variously assigned administrative, teaching, research, assisting, and/or clerical capacities. The following summaries of duties are meant to be illustrative and do not encompass the full spectrum of assigned duties.
Graduate Assistant (GA) Duties:
Graduate Assistants typically support academic or administrative functions. Typical academic support functions of a GA include copying course materials, grading assignments, or supervising teaching laboratories. Typical administrative support functions may include clerical support in offices, technical or IT support services, assisting office managers with correspondence, and other duties as assigned by the supervisor.
Graduate Research Assistant (RA) Duties:
Research Assistants assist faculty members on research projects. The specific duties may vary according to the nature of the research project and the source of the funding. These duties are assigned by the supervisor and may include travel for data collection, collaboration, or conference attendance.
Graduate Teaching Assistant (TA; 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, accompanying/coaching musical or vocal performances, providing artistic instruction, proctoring exams, and/or holding office hours.
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 Teaching Assistant. Teaching Assistants are expected to report to these designated faculty and staff members promptly and regularly.
Teaching Assistants are required to be evaluated by a unit. This evaluation should include, at a minimum, the student evaluation of teaching as the instructor, and may be supplemented by other forms of evaluation deemed appropriate by the employing department.
Grievance Policies Procedures for GAs
Matters of concern or dissatisfaction relating to the conditions of employment or work environment may be addressed using the procedure described below. Issues related to the GA’s own academic progress, grades, academic misconduct, graduate status, etc., are handled by procedures available to all students. Issues related to sexual harassment/discrimination or power-based violence should be addressed through procedures outlined in Policies 1436, 1436A, and 1436B (see also Policy 1436C).
Assistants are strongly encouraged to discuss complaints with their Immediate Supervisor and/or Budget/ Unit Head and make every effort to resolve the complaint prior to filing a grievance.
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.
Grievances must be appealed to administrative responders in a progressive order.
- Immediate Supervisor
- Budget/Unit Head
- Associate Dean for Graduate Studies
- College Dean
Step 1 may be waived if the grievance is with the Immediate Supervisor. Step 2 may be waived if the grievance is with the Budget/Unit Head.
STEP ONE: Within 10 days of receipt of the written grievance from the GA, the Immediate Supervisor will meet with the Assistant and attempt to resolve the grievance. The Immediate Supervisor will return a written response 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 response in STEP ONE, the grievance may be appealed to the appropriate Budget/Unit Head within 10 days of receipt of the written response 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 response to the GA no later than ten (10) days after this meeting. Step Two may be waived if the grievance is with the Budget/Unit Head.
FURTHER STEPS: If the grievant is dissatisfied with the answer in STEP TWO, or if that step is waived, the grievance may be appealed to the Director of Graduate Studies or the Dean of the College within 10 days from receipt of the written response. The pattern described above (meeting within 10 days of receipt of grievance, written response to the grievant within 10 days after the meeting) will be followed. If the grievant is dissatisfied with the resolution/response at the College level, the grievance may be elevated to the Provost and the President following the same procedure and 10-day time limits. The decision of the Office of the President is final and binding.
Grievances not filed within the designated time limits in any step of the procedure will be considered as settled based on the resolution/response provided at the last completed step. Grievances not answered within the designated time limits in any step may be appealed to the next level 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.