REG 02.70.01 - Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships (Traineeships)

Authority: Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation

History: First Issued: June 1, 2002. Last Revised: August 22, 2013.

Additional References: 
Graduate Administrative Handbook 4.1
Graduate Administrative Handbook 4.2 
Terms and Conditions Document

Contact Info: Dean of the Graduate School (919-515-7956)


1.  INTRODUCTION

Students admitted to the Graduate School may be awarded financial support in the form of an assistantship or fellowship (sometimes referred to as a traineeship).  These programs provide financial support to enable students to focus their work on their degrees.  Student's assignments should be in direct or general support of the teaching, research or extension missions of the university for the mutual benefit of the graduate students and his/her graduate program.

2.  ELIGIBILITY

In order to be eligible for graduate teaching, research, or extension assistantships and fellowships, students must be admitted into the Graduate School in full graduate standing and be enrolled in the fall and spring semesters.  Students must also be in good academic standing (with a 3.00 grade point average or higher), unless granted an exception by the Graduate School.  It is the responsibility of the student to consult the Director of Graduate Programs (DGP) for information on specific eligibility requirements. Graduate Certificate Students are eligible for appointment as Graduate Service Assistants but not research, teaching or extension assistantships.

3.  DEFINITIONS

3.1  Graduate Teaching Assistant

A student who is appointed in an academic department or program and

3.1.1   directly participates in the teaching mission of the unit as instructor of record, lab instructor, recitation leader, lab or lecture assistant, or who has responsibilities in direct support of classroom instruction in the unit, such as setting up labs or working in an instructional computer lab; or

3.1.2  provides general support to the teaching mission of the department or program.

3.2  Graduate Research Assistant

A student who is appointed in an academic department or program and

3.2.1  directly participates in the research mission of the unit, or an on-campus or off-campus organization that is affiliated with the unit, in the design of experiments, data collection, analysis, or reporting of research results in the student's field of study, where research may, but is not required to, contribute directly to the student's thesis or dissertation; or

3.2.2  provides general support to the research mission of the unit or discipline.

3.3  Graduate Extension Assistant

A student who is appointed in an academic department or program and

3.3.1  directly participates in the extension, outreach and engagement mission of the unit, or an on-campus or off-campus organization that is affiliated with the unit, in the design of projects, data collection, analysis, application, or reporting of results in the student's field of study, where these activities may, but are not required to, contribute directly to the student's thesis or dissertation; or

3.3.2  supports the extension, outreach and engagement mission of the unit or discipline, including substantive interaction with individuals or groups beyond the university.

3.4  Graduate Services Assistant

A student who is appointed to a position that serves the university outside of an academic department or program's teaching or research mission.

3.5  Graduate Fellow (Trainee)

A student who is provided a stipend that has no corresponding service obligation.  Stipends from graduate fellowships are based on academic scholarship and/or financial need criteria.

4.  RESPONSIBILITIES

4.1  Graduate Teaching Assistants

A 1/2-time Graduate Teaching Assistant is required to spend approximately 20 hours per week fulfilling assigned teaching responsibilities associated with the stipend.  These duties may be independent of teaching activities that contribute to the requirements of the degree program.  Time commitment for students whose appointment is less than or greater than 1/2-time are in the same proportion to a 40-hour week as that of the 1/2-time appointment, i.e., 10 hours for a 1/4-time appointment and 30 hours for a 3/4 -time appointment.

4.1.1  Orientation to Teaching for New Graduate Teaching Assistants - All new Graduate Teaching Assistants and other graduate students with newly assigned teaching responsibilities are required to attend a University-wide Teaching Assistant Orientation before classes start.

4.1.2  International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Screening - All International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) whose responsibilities include significant interaction with undergraduates in a classroom or laboratory must be screened for oral English proficiency before they are permitted to assume these responsibilities.  If the screening process indicates that an ITA needs to improve his or her spoken English significantly in order to communicate effectively with his or her students, he or she must take FLE 400 (American English Pronunciation for International Students) or FLE 401 (Oral Communication and Teaching Skills for International Teaching Assistants) before being re-screened.

4.2  Graduate Research Assistants

A 1/2-time Graduate Research Assistant is required to spend approximately 20 hours per week fulfilling the assigned research responsibilities associated with the stipend.  These duties may be independent of research activities that contribute to the requirements of the degree program.  Time commitment for students whose appointment is less than or greater than 1/2-time are in the same proportion to a 40-hour week as that of the 1/2-time appointment, i.e., 10 hours for a 1/4-time appointment and 30 hours for a 3/4-time appointment.

4.3  Graduate Extension Assistants

A 1/2-time Graduate Extension Assistant is required to spend approximately 20 hours per week fulfilling his/her assigned extension, outreach and engagement responsibilities associated with the stipend.  This may be independent of time spent in research, teaching, extension, or outreach and engagement activities that are part of the academic requirements of the degree program.  Time commitment for students whose appointment is less than or greater than 1/2-time are in the same proportion to a 40-hour week as that of the 1/2-time appointment, i.e. 10 hours for a 1/4-time appointment and 30 hours for a 3/4-time appointment.

4.4  Graduate Services Assistants

A 1/2-time Graduate Services Assistant is required to spend approximately 20 hours per week fulfilling assigned responsibilities associated with the stipend.  The duties are independent of time spent in research or teaching activities contributing to the requirements of the degree program.  Time commitment for students whose appointment is less than or greater than 1/2-time are in the same proportion to a 40-hour week as that of the 1/2-time appointment, i.e., 10 hours for a 1/4-time appointment and 30 hours for a 3/4 -time appointment.

4.5  Graduate Fellows (Trainees)

Graduate fellows (trainees) have no service obligation.  However, they must fulfill all research and teaching requirements of their degree programs and, in many cases, additional non-service requirements stipulated by their fellowship (traineeship) programs.

5.  TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF APPOINTMENTS

Procedures:

5.1  Initial Graduate Assistantship Appointment

Each student who is offered a graduate research/teaching/extension assistantship will be notified in writing of the terms and conditions of their appointment.  The terms and conditions for appointment must be signed by the student and returned to the DGP along with the following documents:

5.1.1  Original, completed I-9 form

5.1.2  Copy of Selective Service form

The department submits completed and signed documents to the Graduate School.  No assistantship is in effect until (a) all documentation is submitted and approved by the Graduate School, and (b) the appointment has been entered into the HR System.

5.2  Extension of Graduate Assistantship Appointment or Additional Graduate Appointment

A change to the appointment such as an extension of the current appointment that is not reflected in the initial Terms and Conditions of Appointment requires the student to sign a new document reflecting the change.  Both the student and the DGP must be in agreement to change the Terms and Conditions of Appointment.

5.3  Termination of Graduate Assistantship Prior to the End of the Contract

If a graduate assistant terminates or resigns prior to the end of the contract stated in his/her "Terms and Conditions" document, the letter of resignation or a memorandum documenting the resignation must be forwarded to the Graduate School.

6.  ASSISTANTSHIP COURSE LOAD

Students appointed to assistantships should consider the number of credit hours for which they register in any given fall or spring semester in light of the duties expected of them as a result of the assistantship.  Limits to the number of credits such students may register for in a semester may be imposed by individual advisers or by programs.  In such cases, registration should be established in consultation with the student's adviser and/or DGP.