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GA/TA Students' FAQ

How do I get an appointment as a TA or GA?

The number of Teaching Associate (TA) and Graduate Assistant (GA) appointments available is determined primarily by a department's size and budget. Students who are interested in TA and GA positions should inquire directly with the department they are studying in.

What if my department does not have a position available?

If a department has filled all its available TA and GA positions, it is possible for a student to pursue a position as a GA in another department so long as the subject matter is related to the student's course of study. For example an English student may be a GA in Rhetoric and Writing Studies. A student may only TA within their home department. There are no exceptions.

What does a TA or GA do?

According to the Classification and Qualification Standards of the CSU:

"A Teaching Associate classification is distinguished from the Graduate Assistant and Student Assistant classifications by assignments that primarily involve classroom and laboratory instruction. Responsibility for a course may be vested in the Teaching Associate under the direct supervision of an appropriate faculty member. Detailed information regarding the TA classification can be found at http://www.calstate.edu/HRAdm/Classification/R11/Teaching_Associate.pdf

According to the Classification and Qualification Standards of the CSU:

"The Graduate Assistant is distinguished from those classes used for undergraduate student help in the instructional program who perform clerical or other routine tasks such as grading examinations, recording grades, etc., by the following:

  • Graduate Assistants are provided part-time employment and practical experience in fields related to their advanced study
  • Graduate Assistants provide professional non-teaching assistance to faculty members

In short, what distinguishes GAs from TAs is that they have no responsibility for "the instructional content of a course, for selection of student assignments, for planning of examinations, or for determining the term grades for students." Detailed information regarding the GA classification can be found at:
http://www.calstate.edu/HRAdm/Classification/R11/Graduate_Assistant.pdf

What would I be responsible/accountable for as a TA or GA?

Teaching associates are expected to be responsible members of the university community by meeting classes as scheduled; being prompt; keeping good records; holding examinations at officially announced times; giving suitable assignments; teaching classes in multiple-section courses in consonance with other sections; and providing the substance and method that the course requires. Teaching associates are subject to such direction as the senior faculty imposes regarding selection of textual material, grading practices, course content, and other instructional matters. For a more complete discussion of professional responsibilities of faculty, please refer to the University Policy File. (Does the TA have any responsibility in regards the syllabus?)

Graduate Assistants' responsibilities vary with the assignment given. Both TAs and GAs are expected to adhere to the highest standards of ethics in their professional relationships with students. For a complete statement of university policy on the issue of sexual harassment, see Appendix in the TA/GA Handbook.

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