Guidelines for Training and Supervision of Graduate Assistants with Teaching Responsibilities

Graduate assistants with teaching responsibilities play an important role in undergraduate education at Miami University, serving as lab instructors, instructors of record, and assisting faculty with teaching responsibilities. Graduate assistants (GAs) frequently work closely with undergraduates by answering questions, providing instruction and feedback, facilitating discussions, tutoring, and other teaching activities. By nature, GAs are often inexperienced teachers who are seeking to develop their teaching abilities and are frequently pursuing a teaching career of their own. Therefore, Graduate Council recommends that departments provide training and supervision of GAs to facilitate their development as teachers and to insure that undergraduate education goals are being met. The following are suggestions that departments are encouraged to adapt to the specific demands and nature of their disciplines.

Graduate Assistant Teacher Training and Supervision

  • GAs should receive regular feedback on their performance and specific guidance when improvement is needed.
  • Departments should have a written policy and procedure for handling GAs who do not meet performance standards and do not respond to feedback.
  • Faculty are responsible for the syllabus, learning outcomes, and teaching materials. GAs should only create syllabi, and learning outcomes, and select teaching materials under the careful guidance of the course supervisor or a faculty member.
  • GAs should receive the syllabus, learning outcomes, and teaching materials for the class they will be teaching or assisting as far in advance as possible.
  • GAs are encouraged to take part in university-wide teaching development opportunities such as participating in GSTEP (Graduate Student Teaching Enhancement Program), DUOS (Doctoral Undergraduate Opportunity Scholarships), the certificate in college teaching, attending CTE workshops, and attending the Lilly Conference.
  • GAs should have a designated supervisor for teaching responsibilities who they can go to with questions and concerns.
  • GAs who are the instructor of record should receive additional training and development throughout the semester to support their teaching responsibilities. 

Training Topics

Effective GA Teacher Training Includes the Following:

  • Information on effective teaching practices
  • Instructional pedagogy in general and specific to the discipline
  • Pedagogical content knowledge
  • Cultural differences in classroom expectations and practices
  • Organizing and preparing lectures and learning activities
  • Grading procedures, including fair and effective grading
  • Good teaching practices and student responsibilities (MUPIM 5.4/OAC 3339-5-04 and Graduate Handbook 1.7) 

GA Teacher Training Must Include the Following Topics:

  • Academic integrity policies (Student Handbook 1.5 and Graduate Handbook 1.5)
  • Information on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA - Student Handbook 1.12)
  • Information on the policy prohibiting sexual harassment (MUPIM 3.6/OAC 3339-3-06/Student Handbook 5.14/Graduate Handbook 2.16)
  • If relevant, information on using equipment or materials safely and complying with safety and health regulations.

Implementing GA Teacher Training

Teacher training can be implemented with a variety of models. Existing models at Miami include formal courses, seminars, colloquia, brown-bag meetings, and one-on-one mentoring. Credit can be offered for the study of teaching and pedagogy, but students should not receive credit for tasks for which they are being paid. Departments are encouraged to take advantage of the week before classes start in August for conducting training. Graduate assistants are required to report to work and are paid for the week before classes start in the fall semester.