Graduate Teaching Assistants Program

Department of Entomology
Texas A&M University

Program first adopted 11 December 2002, revised in 2010 and 2014.
Current Revisions from Faculty Retreat, January 2015

ATTENTION:  The call for applications for Spring Semester 2017 is now open, see email announcement from Dr. Teel. Applications are due by close of business Monday, December 12, 2016.

Purpose: The goal of this program is to offer qualified graduate students in good standing with the Department of Entomology with opportunities to obtain education, training, mentoring, and experience in college level teaching, while simultaneously providing students in our classes with the best possible educational experience. Graduate students with career interests in college-level teaching are encouraged to participate in opportunities offered by the Graduate Teaching Academy (gta.tamu.edu), part of the TAMU Center for Teaching Excellence (cte.tamu.edu) to leverage their experience as a teaching assistant and gain valuable preparation for employment for faculty positions with teaching appointments.

Teaching assistants are a highly valued part of Academic Programs in our department. Classroom and on-line teaching in Entomology and in Forensic & Investigative Sciences courses carry high expectations for defining and communicating learning outcomes, lesson relevance, demonstrations, and assessment, as well as providing mentoring and guiding student discovery.

Plan Early: Graduate students are encouraged to discuss their interests in service as a teaching assistant with their major advisor and with the faculty-of-record for the respective ENTO or FIVS courses well in advance of the call for TA applications.

Participation in the department teaching program can be fulfilled in two ways:

1.  As a paid Graduate Teaching Assistant

a. Half-time=20 hours/week (depending on size of assignment)
b. Quarter-time=10 hours/week (depending on size of assignment)

2. As a graduate student taking ENTO 685 Directed Studies variable credit under the direction and supervision of a faculty member for the purpose of developing and/or implementing a new course, new teaching techniques, or other teaching related activities of merit.

The Associate Department Head for Academic Programs is responsible for coordinating and supervising this program, for conducting departmental TA training before the beginning of each regular long semester, and for reporting data and trend analyses to the Department Head, Education Committee, and faculty.

Steps Associated with Application, Compliance, Evaluation, and Selection of Teaching Assistants:

 1. Applications will be called twice each year by email to faculty and graduate students:
Applications for Fall Semester TAs will be called in April.

Applications for Spring Semester TAs will be called in November.

  • Application submission deadlines are set in coordination with Semester Registration schedules.
  • The application is completed using the Qualtrics Survey System with open and closing dates announced in the call.

2. Compliance and eligibility will be evaluated for each applicant’s status as a student good-standing and as an assessment of degree progress:

  • Program progress will be assessed with respect to the date of matriculation (including degree plan, proposal, prelims, time to degree, annual committee meeting)
  • GPA standing will be assessed upon posting of grades at the end of the semester of TA application.
  • Verification of training requirements
    • Hazard Communication Training
  • Verify examination scores for ELP program for International Students
  • Verify posting of Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Rubric #1 will be used for compliance evaluation (using John Doe example of a PhD student):

rubric1

3. Evaluation of Criteria for Consideration

Rubric #2 below will be used to score the content provided in the Qualtrics application and in the submitted CV. Assessment of prior service as a TA in our department will be based upon the instructor-of-record evaluation conducted at the end of the semester, using a scoring rubric for assessment of preparedness, resourcefulness, timeliness, professional demeanor and student engagement (scale 0-5, with 0 low, 5 high, and score of 3 being neutral).

rubric2

 4. Other Considerations

  • Rubric #3 below will be used to assess other considerations for a teaching assignment:

rubric3

 

 

5. Selection and assignment of TA’s will be based upon

  • Rubric assessments #1-3 above,
  • Departmental teaching needs driven by courses, sections, number of students to be served as posted in the Schedule of Classes found in Howdy,
  • Best match of enrollment demand with applicant interest and skills, applicant academic schedules (the applicant’s academic schedule must match the assignment), and faculty requests,

6. Resolution of teaching budget.

  • This resolution is subject to budget allocations and delays due to timing of legislative budget cycles and changes in internal budget processes.

7. Assignment Review and Approval with the Department Head.

8. Memoranda of Offers

  • Memoranda of offers are made to applicants through their official TAMU email with deadlines for signature acceptance and contingencies set for forfeiture of assistantship pending:

i. Completion of training with the Teaching Assistant’s Institute (Center for Teaching Excellence) – NOTE: this university mandated training will be assigned for applicants who have not been a TA before, or for those who cannot verify prior training, and must be completed prior to the beginning of the semester of service, and

ii. Attendance at the Entomology TA Orientation and Workshop held at the beginning of each regular long semester.

  • Those not selected will be notified by email or phone.

9.Verification of signed memoranda of offers will be posted for coordination with payroll processing.

10. Resolution of any late changes that require rebalancing assignments prior to first date of classes.

NOTES:

  1. Every effort will be made to make TA assignments as quickly and efficiently as possible, however some element of the process are subject to delay and out of departmental control. Patience with the process is appreciated.
  2. As part of university Outcome Assessment, each Teaching Assistant will be evaluated by the Instructor of Record for the course(s) they are assigned. Results of this assessment will be reported through the Associate Department Head for Academic Programs, to the Graduate Operations Committee Dean for the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences on an annual basis as requested. Assessment of TA performance will be scored for preparedness, resourcefulness, timeliness, professional demeanor and student engagement (scale 0-5, with 0 low, 5 high, and score of 3 being neutral). This rubric will be reviewed each semester during the TA Orientation-Workshop.
  3. A report of each TA application cycle data set will be made to the Education Committee for tracking and trend analysis. Post results online for faculty view as part of the Education Committee minutes, and a report of findings will be made at the Department Faculty Meeting.

 

 

Comments are closed.