School of Physics GTA Guidelines
Latest revision: Spring 2023
- Workload. All GTA positions have an expected workload of 13 hours/week (semester average).
- Creation of course materials. Writing homework and exam problems is the responsibility of the course instructor. GTAs may be asked to contribute ideas but cannot be required to develop homework, quizzes, tests, or final exams. Writing solution keys is the responsibility of the course instructor. GTAs can be asked to review and revise the instructor’s solutions.
- Exception: GTAs assigned as Head TAs for the introductory classes (2211/2212) will be asked to write solution keys for problem sets and exams, in lieu of proctoring/grading semester exams.
- Assignment grading. GTAs can be asked to grade assignments (e.g., homework, lab reports, worksheets, projects), maintain a gradebook, and upload the results to Canvas. It is the instructor’s responsibility to give their GTAs access to Canvas and to provide instruction on its use if necessary. The instructor must provide the GTAs with clear, legible solutions and a detailed rubric with instructions on what, if anything, is left to the GTA’s judgment. GTAs are expected to complete grading within 10 days of receiving the assignment (within reason, barring unexpected circumstances), unless an alternate arrangement is made with the course instructor.
- Office hours. GTAs can be asked to hold office hours not to exceed two hours/week. These office hours will supplement the instructor’s office hours, not replace them.
- Semester exams. GTAs can be asked to proctor and grade semester exams (e.g., 50-minute or 75-minute exams). The instructor should be available by phone or another form of communication (e.g., Slack, Teams) during the time of the exam in case a question arises that the GTAs cannot answer. The instructor must provide the GTAs with an exam solution key and a clear grading rubric. GTAs should be given at least four business days OR two business days and one weekend day to grade exams.
- GTAs assigned to the core graduate courses cannot be asked to grade exams.
- GTAs assigned to non-introductory physics courses cannot be asked to grade semester exams for a course for which they are not TAing.
- Final exams. Grading final exams (or equivalent) for non-introductory physics courses is the responsibility of the course instructor. Exceptions can be made to allow the GTAs assigned to the course to assist the instructor with grading final exams if the course has high enrollment (35+ students). Instructors must request these exceptions from the GTA Coordinator two weeks prior to the start of final exams.
- First-year GTAs cannot proctor/grade final exams in their first Fall and Spring semesters but can be asked to proctor/grade final exams in the Summer term at the end of their first year.
- Second-year GTAs and above can be asked to proctor/grade final exams for the introductory physics classes. The GTA Coordinator will provide GTAs with a detailed proctoring and grading schedule for the introductory final exams at least one week prior to the start of final exams.
- Subbing. GTAs cannot be required to replace an absent instructor. It is the instructor’s responsibility to find a replacement from among the faculty or postdocs, unless a graduate student requests to substitute. Alternatively, a replacement instructor may be assigned by the Chair.
- Graduate students with two or more semesters of GTA experience and/or with topical expertise can request the opportunity to guest lecture. GTAs should not guest lecture for more than two weeks total in a semester. The course instructor should introduce the graduate student guest lecturer to the students in the class prior to the start of the guest lectures.
- Disagreements. If a disagreement occurs between faculty and GTA that cannot be resolved between the involved parties, then the GTA Coordinator, the GAP President, and/or the Associate Chair for Student Success can act as mediators in the discussion. If asked to mediate, the GAP president can choose whether or not to act as a mediator in these situations.