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Department TA Handbook

Table of Contents

  1. The Responsibilities of a Teacher
  2. Teaching Assistant (TA) Appointment Title
  3. Eligibility
  4. Teaching Assistant Duties
  5. Code of Conduct for Teaching Assistants
  6. Evaluation
  7. Instructional Development
  8. Employment and Forms of Pay
  9. Office and Keys
  10. Classrooms and Supplies
  11. Textbooks
  12. Typing Services
  13. Photocopying
  14. Mailboxes
  15. Time Management
  16. Guidelines for Supervising Faculty
  17. Emergencies

TA Handbook

1. The Responsibility of a Teacher

As teachers of statistics we assume a great responsibility. We may significantly alter the attitudes to statistics of our students, and their competence in the subject. Since we will be dealing with students in many fields, our teaching attitudes and abilities will be seriously tested. Future engineers, biologists, chemists, economists, physicists, psychologists and others (in particular, statisticians) need to understand and apply statistical methods to their disciplines. This involves much more than simply solving standard problems with standard techniques. It means they must learn to think statistically.

Thus, it is important that we teach as well as we possibly can. This calls for a deeper understanding of the subject, rather than simply being able to solve problems correctly and teach students a similar skill. It calls for an understanding of the nature of students' difficulties, actual and potential, and the ability to encourage students to express their difficulties without shyness or fear of ridicule. We must, in addition, find creative ways to increase the students' understanding. Simple repetition, for example, is unlikely to be effective. We must find alternative questions and explanations that lead the students to greater insight.

At this point, one might feel that the responsibility of being both a TA and a graduate student is too great. However, graduate education in statistics using TAs has been going on for over 50 years. The effort expended on effective teaching has many rewards. First of all, it becomes easier with time. By consciously employing effective techniques in our teaching, these eventually become part of our natural repertoire. This does not mean that our teaching capabilities reach a maximum level, for there is always room for improvement. It simply means that the effort required to teach effectively is diminished, while the enjoyment comes in many forms: respect, grateful evaluations from students, the experience of working constructively with other people, and the pride in knowing that one has contributed to the enlightenment of certain individuals. Besides, the need to give an account of a particular topic leads to the clarification of our own ideas.

The teaching we do is not merely a formality entitling us to a subsistence wage, with only research qualifying as an important activity. This view contributes to a poor attitude, and our teaching suffers as a result. As TAs, we must realize that our years as a graduate student are a period of apprenticeship in a craft, and that this craft comprises both research and teaching. Even those TAs going into industrial or government work can expect to spend a fair amount of time instructing their colleagues as well as learning from them. Clear explanations of your work are necessary for any complex project. (Top)

2. Teaching Assistant (TA) Appointment Title

A TA (title code 2310) is chosen for excellent scholarship and promise as a teacher, and serves an apprenticeship under the active tutelage and supervision of a regular faculty member. The department chair, acting upon nominations made by department members, is authorized to appoint TAs. However, the Dean of the Graduate Division must approve all exceptions to appointment criteria .

The selection, supervision, and training of all TAs are important responsibilities of the teaching department, and in particular the department chair. All candidates for appointment and reappointment are subject to careful review and recommendation.

The TA is not responsible for the instructional content of a course, for selection of student assignments, for planning of examinations, or for determining the term grade for students. Neither is a TA to be assigned responsibility for instructing the entire enrollment of a course nor for providing the entire instruction of a group of students enrolled in a course. The TA is responsible for the conduct of recitation, laboratory, or quiz sections under the active direction and supervision of a regular member of the faculty to whom final responsibility for the course's entire instruction, including the performance of TAs, has been assigned. (Refer to the UCSB Red Binder Section IV-10 for further information.) (Top)

3. Eligibility

Academic apprentice positions provide the single largest source of graduate student support at UCSB. They also constitute an important aspect of graduate training, with oversight by UCSB faculty. All students who receive academic appointment positions must maintain continuous enrollment and remain within normative time to degree. Students who have exceeded the time limit for completion of the master's degree (four years plus a one-quarter grace period) are also not eligible to hold academic appointment positions.

To be eligible for any academic appointment, graduate students must be:

Currently registered graduate students, enrolled in at least 8 units (12 units is the normal load).

In good academic standing (i.e., 3.0 GPA; fewer than 12 units of unfinished coursework - defined as Incomplete (I), No Grade (NG), or No Record (NR); not on academic probation or subject to dismissal).

Chosen for academic appointment on the basis of high scholastic standing.

Certified as having language proficiency in spoken English if their native language is not English, PRIOR to the department making the offer.

Appointment or reappointment must be for a period of one year or less. Graduate students holding these academic appointments should be under the direction of a UCSB faculty member. Graduate students in teaching appointments may not supervise or evaluate other graduate students. GIVEN THEIR NON-DEGREE STATUS, EAP RECIPROCITY students are not eligible for a student academic appointment. You will find additional information regarding student academic appointments in Academic Personnel Procedures for UCSB (The Red Binder) , Section IV: Student Academic Titles at ( http://www.acadpers.ucsb.edu/RB-toc.html) .

Students who are appointed to Associate in ___, Reader, Tutor/Remedial Tutor, and Teaching Assistant titles fall under an agreement between The Regents of the University of California and the Association of Student Employees, International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), AFL-CIO pursuant to the provisions of the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA). Departments are required to post on the campus website vacancies in these titles (per Article 21). Academic Student Employee Positions are listed at http://www.ltsc.ucsb.edu/asep/asep.php, and details of the agreement are available at http://www.ucop.edu/humres/contracts/ase/asecontract.html. If you have questions concerning the contract, please contact Suzanne Forester (x7217). It is extremely important that the university complies with the contractual agreement.

All appointments or combined appointments are limited to 50% time (an average of 20 hours per week) during the academic terms. An exception may be granted for a graduate student to be compensated to a maximum of 75% for total service on campus, please see the exception process below. The 50% time restriction will apply without exception for most international students, dependent upon their visa type or country of origin (consult OISS for further information). All continuing students may work 100% time during the summer, provided they were registered and paid fees for the immediately preceding Spring quarter.

Total length of time a student may hold any one or a combination of the following titles may not exceed four years (12 quarters): Reader, Remedial Tutor, Teaching Assistant, Associate in ___. Under special circumstances, an exception may be granted for additional appointments beyond 12 quarters, please see the exception process below. System-wide regulation does not permit graduate student appointment beyond 18 quarters.

Exception Process

Graduate Division has delegated to the student's home department the authority to approve certain employment exceptions, when that department is in good standing by virtue of past compliance. (Departments not in good standing will be contacted by Graduate Division.) Departments are delegated authority to approve or deny the following exceptions: (1) a total of 50-75% appointment in either Graduate Student Researcher, Teaching Assistant, Tutor, or Reader-monthly stipend; and/or (2) 13-15 quarters service in either Teaching Assistant, Associate, Tutor, or Reader-monthly stipend--provided that the student is registered and enrolled in the required 8-12 units and within good academic standing (GPA of 3.0 or higher, fewer than 12 units incomplete, and not on probation or academic degree progress monitoring). Departments should review cases and assess whether the exceptional employment will affect the student's timely degree completion . In situations where appointments are made by departments/units other than the student's home department, the employing department must verify the student's eligibility for the appointment with the student's home department.

A request for exception appointment must come to the Graduate Division for review at least six weeks prior to the start of the proposed employment in the following instances:
(1) all appointments for Associate positions,
(2) appointments of graduate students on probation,
(3) students who have already worked in academic appointments 15 quarters or more,
(4) proposals to employ a graduate student at more than 75% time,
(5) employment of students in exception to fellowship requirements,
or (6) in instances where any of the above academic eligibility criteria are not met.

The 50% time restriction will apply without exception for international students, dependent upon their visa type or country of origin (consult OISS for further information).

(Top)

4. Teaching Assistant Duties

Your Teaching Assistant duties each quarter will normally consist of preparing for and meeting discussion sections and holding office hours. Full-time section duty is normally two to three sections (depending on section size) and one office hour per week.

You will have several responsibilities in addition to those of preparing for and meeting the sections and holding office hour. You may, for example, be asked to proctor and grade some exams. (Be aware that this can make for a hectic finals week. Plan ahead!) You may be expected to give review sessions before examinations. Under some circumstances, you may be asked to attend some of the course lectures. There may be other tasks, such as assisting with the grading of homework. You are also required to attend and participate in the Departments TA Training Program.

This may sound complicated, and create a lot of work. It is therefore necessary that you be organized and plan ahead. Toward this end, it is extremely important that you talk to the instructor(s) whom you will be assisting in the few days at the beginning of the quarter before formal instruction begins and find out exactly what is expected of you. Further, it is usual for a TA to meet weekly with the instructor throughout the quarter.

Since you will also be expected to maintain a high level of achievement in your own classroom work, there are limits to what will be asked of you. With this in mind, if you begin to feel that your TA duties are keeping you from performing to the best of your abilities, either in your TA responsibilities or your classroom work, you should see the Graduate Advisor, Lead TA, TA Faculty Coordinator, or the Chair. They will be happy to try to help you resolve any problems.

4.1 Pre-Instructional Week Duties

During the Fall Quarter Pre-instructional Week there will be required meetings for all TAs. Also during this week there will be campus-wide TA workshops that are required for all new TAs (experienced TAs are welcome). You should therefore arrange to be in the department before the Pre-instructional week, in the event that you are asked to assist with the arrangements.

4.2 Scheduling Office Hours

As a full-time teaching assistant, you are required to hold one office hour per week. You and your office mate will be studying a lot in your office, so whenever possible, schedule your office hours when your office mate is not around. Also, chaos can result if you both schedule them for the same time. Since you will want to attend various seminars and colloquia, you should not schedule your office hours for these times either. One final observation: Students will often want to stay well beyond your posted office hour. You will, however, have too much of your own work to spend all day helping them. To alleviate this problem, some TAs schedule each office hour one hour before they must leave for class. Also, you may politely ask the students to leave and come back during your next office hour.

After you have scheduled your office hours you will need to report them to the department office. The Undergraduate Advisor (South Hall 5607A) will give you a door card to be completed with your schedule and posted outside your office. You should announce your office hours in your first few meetings with each section. Once you announce the hours, be sure to keep them . You must notify the main office if an emergency prevents you from doing so. Be sure the instructor knows your office hours so that they can be announced at the first class meeting. Also, it is your responsibility to encourage the students to take advantage of your office hours. Remember, those three hours per week are their time, not yours!

4.3 Tutoring and Counseling for Students

Occasionally students will seek information from you about personal counseling services.

CLAS (Bldg. 477, 893-3269) will assist some students at no charge and also make available lists of private tutors. It is the responsibility of the student to negotiate suitable payments with the private tutors for services rendered.

A list of graduate students who are willing to privately tutor is available online at http://www.pstat.ucsb.edu/projects/leadtatraining/tutoring.htm. If you would like to have your name on the list, please contact the Lead TA. Important note : It is unethical to tutor your own students for money.

Students in need of personal and/or career counseling should be sent to Counseling and Career Services (Bldg. 599). The staff there is capable of handling students with minor or serious adjustment problems. Do not assume the responsibility of dealing with the psychological problems of your students. If a student appears to have a persistent problem and will not seek counsel elsewhere, be sure to discuss the situation with the Chair or Graduate Advisor. Undergraduate students needing academic advising should be referred to the Undergraduate Advisor.

4.4 International Students

If English is not your native language, you may be required to enroll in special ESL courses to improve your language skills in addition to your statistics courses. In such cases it may be necessary to take a reduced course load or slightly alter your departmental responsibilities until your language skills are adequate for successful performance in the classroom. It is important to realize that the demands of a class upon your English abilities are much greater than those of ordinary person-to-person conversation and that students often will blame you for their inability to understand the course material. As a consequence the development of your ability to communicate in English is an important component of your professional development and will require continued effort on your part. In addition to ordinary skills you will want to develop good speaking techniques. Write important phrases or technical words such as "hypothesis" or "random variable" on the chalkboard the first several times you use them. That way the students will learn to associate your pronunciation of the word with the proper term. Also, never talk with your back to the students and if a student asks a question, move away from the chalkboard and toward the student. Finally, if you don't understand what a student is saying, be honest, and say, "I do not understand." Experience has shown that TAs who have a genuine desire to communicate and help their students are understood quite well despite strong accents. International students often have a tendency to speak too quickly. Try to speak slowly; count to three after each full-stop before starting a new sentence!

4.5 Sickness

In you are sick and unable to meet with your students either in section or in office hours please inform the Departmental Office (805-893-2129). (Top)

5. Code of Conduct for Teaching Assistants

The Faculty Code of Conduct, which extends to the conduct of TA's, may be found at

http://www.ucop.edu/acadadv/acadpers/apm/apm-015.pdf.

It may be paraphrased for TA's as follows.

5.1 Types of unacceptable conduct

1. Failure to meet the responsibilities of instruction, including:

(a) arbitrary denial of access to instruction;

(b) significant intrusion of material unrelated to the course;

(c) significant failure to adhere, without legitimate reason, to the rules of the faculty in the conduct of courses, to meet class, to keep office hours, or to hold examinations as scheduled;

(d) evaluation of student work by criteria not directly reflective of course performance;

(e) undue and unexcused delay in evaluating student work.

2. Discrimination, including harassment, against a student on political grounds, or for reasons of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, national origin, ancestry, marital status, medical condition, status as a covered veteran, or, within the limits imposed by law or University regulations, because of age or citizenship or for other arbitrary or personal reasons.

3. Violation of the University policy, including the pertinent guidelines, applying to nondiscrimination against students on the basis of disability.

4 . Use of the position or powers of a TA to coerce the judgment or conscience of a student or to cause harm to a student for arbitrary or personal reasons.

5. Participating in or deliberately abetting disruption, interference, or intimidation in the classroom.

6. Entering into a romantic or sexual relationship with any student for whom a TA has academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or supervisory).

7. Exercising academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or supervisory) for any student with whom a faculty member has a romantic or sexual relationship .

All TA's should particularly note that the assembly of the Academic Senate has formally endorsed the position that faculty members and TA's should not become romantically or sexually involved with students in their classes or under their supervision. A romantic liaison with a current student could seriously impair the educational environment, not only for the teacher and the student involved but also for the other students. Such a relationship could give rise to charges of unacceptable discrimination by the other students and could prejudice the teacher's defense in the event that charges of sexual harassment or discrimination were to arise from the relationship.

5.2 Sexual Harassment

You should not become romantically or sexually involved with any student in your class, even if a student seems attracted to you. Your job is to help your students learn statistics. It is important to remember that most students, most of the time, will consider you to be primarily a valuable information source. Remember, students are often trying to impress their TA and get them on 'their side'. They may also be rather nervous. Some perfectly ordinary student behavior may make you feel awkward but remember that you have control of the situation and behave accordingly. For example:

1. A student comes to see you often. (He/she may just need a lot of help, and he/she finds you knowledgeable and helpful.) It is acceptable and desirable that your students attend section regularly and your office hours when they need help. You control the situation, however. So when office hour is over, you politely tell the student that you must get on with your own work. You are not obliged to see them after office hours or to arrange special meetings with them.

2. A student sits very close to you while you show him/her how to work a problem. (Since you are following the pedagogically correct procedure of writing on paper instead of the board, he/she must sit close to see clearly, also, he/she wants to get that paper to take home for further study.) Again, you control the situation. Have the student sit on the opposite side of the desk rather than next to you.

3. A student is very grateful for your help. He/she wants to pass, and you are earning your pay by helping him/her. Your students will appreciate your help.

It is far better to avoid personal interactions with your current students by keeping relationships businesslike, however relaxed, friendly and approachable you may also be. Remember that an overly personal interaction with a student in your class can permanently alter your relationship with that student, not always in a way that is helpful to his/her learning nor for the learning of the rest of the class.

Any sexual advance you make, however polite and tentative you intend it to be, may be misinterpreted by the student as containing a veiled threat. If you respond to a sexual advance from a student you run the risk of creating an expectation that you will see to it that the student does well in the course. Since you clearly can't go beyond the usual help you give any student, such an expectation could lead to trouble. Any sexual or romantic relationship with a student in your class is against the University Code of Conduct. Be warned!

5.3 Teaching Students with Special Needs

Occasionally you might find a disabled student with special needs in your section. The UCSB Disabled Students Program serves as the campus liaison regarding issues/regulations related to UCSB's disabled population. Disabled students will be registered with the Disabled Students Program (DSP), which provides a full range of services. The staff of DSP will provide information and guidance on

Learning Disabilities

Visual Impairments

Mobility Impairments

Hearing Impairments

For more information see http://www.sa.ucsb.edu/dsp/

(Top)

6. Evaluation

Having your teaching evaluated regularly helps you to improve your technique. The Department requires all TA's to undergo the following evaluation processes:

  Your students will be asked to fill in a form evaluating your teaching towards the end of the quarter.

  At the beginning of the following quarter, you will be required to discuss the results of your student evaluations with the Department TA Training co-coordinator.

  In addition, each TA must be videotaped at least once a year, in the first quarter they teach. The videotaping service is confidential. However, if you wish to view your videotape with the Department TA Training coordinator or the Instructor please contact them.

All TA's will receive classroom visits from the Department TA Training coordinator.

(Top)

7. Instructional Development

As a TA and future instructor, you will want to continually improve your teaching competency. The Office of Instructional Consultation (Learning Resources Bldg. Room 1130) provides important services for this. At your request, OIC will provide a videotape and critique service. They will tape one of your discussion sections and then provide various consultation options. For example, you may see your tape: (1) alone, (2) with the course supervisor, (3) with OIC's educational consultants, (4) with other TAs. This service is worthwhile and the Statistics faculty requires each new TA to be videotaped at least once during the Fall quarter. If you decide to use this service beyond the required amount (and we encourage you to do so), then contact the scheduling person at 893-4346.

Several times each quarter, the OIC offers teaching improvement workshops. For example, workshops on writing quizzes and questioning skills have been offered in the past. Also, there is grant money available if TAs wish to improve instruction or make innovations in a course for which they are a TA. The grants will cover the cost of materials and provide a TA stipend. Apply directly to the Office of Instructional Development. (Top)

8. Employment Forms and Pay

The Graduate Program Assistant, (SH 5607A) is responsible for employment form processing. Please be sure to see Graduate Program Assistant to sign the necessary paper work before the beginning of the quarter. IN ADDITION, any time you have a change of address or home phone number, please complete a Personal Data Form with the Graduate Program Assistant. Failure to do so results in your W-2 form (Tax Form) not reaching you.

Your paycheck will be received on the 1st of the month for the previous month worked. Fall Quarter appointments will receive the first check on November 1. You have the option to have your check, (1) mailed to the department or (2) deposited directly into your bank account. For more information, contact the Graduate Program Assistant. If at some point you resign the appointment, you must see the Graduate Program Assistant to sign the necessary separation forms. (Top)

9. Office and Keys

At the beginning of each academic year you will be assigned office space. You may not smoke in your office space; it is against university regulations. The Graduate Program Assistant (South Hall 5607A) will issue you your office key and any necessary outer door keys. Should you resign from the University (or from your TAship), you are responsible for returning your keys. Failure to do so could result in a holdup of your paycheck. (Top)

10. Classrooms and Supplies

At the beginning of the academic year you will be assigned a classroom in which to hold section. Later on in the quarter you may wish to schedule a room for a review session. To do so please contact the Undergraduate Advisor (South Hall 5607A).

Only office supplies directly applicable to your teaching responsibilities will be provided by the Department. Classroom supplies are available in the Main Office (South Hall 5607A). You must provide any other supplies. Scratch paper is freely available in the Mail Room (South Hall 5524). (Top)

11. Textbooks

You need not purchase the text for the course you will be teaching. A copy of each necessary text may be checked out from the Graduate Program Assistant in room 5607E at the beginning of the quarter. These texts are to be returned, in good condition, at the conclusion of each quarter.

(Top)

12. Typing Services

Department secretarial service is not available to Teaching Assistants. PCs and workstations in the Computer Lab support excellent word processors (Word and LaTeX) for all graduate students. (Top)

13. Photocopying

Copy machines are located in the Mail Room (South Hall 5524). They may only be used for course related material. Seek assistance in the Main Office if you have difficulty, or if a problem occurs. Do not try to "fix" the copiers yourself.

As a graduate student who has not yet advanced to candidacy, you do not have access to the copy machine for your personal use. After you have advanced to candidacy for the PhD, you may use up to 500 copies each year for your research. Public copy machines are located in the Main Library (second floor), Arts Library, or the University Center. If you have a large number of copies to make, you might consider taking them to either the Alternative, FedEx-Kinkos (on campus), or The Alternative
Copy Shop in Isla Vista . These shops normally charge the most reasonable fees. (Top)

14. Mailboxes

You will have a Departmental mailbox in South Hall 5524. Your box will be used for intracampus mail such as communication between yourself and course instructors, colloquia announcements, etc. The box should not be used for personal mail , according to University policy. Notes for faculty members should be placed in their mailboxes (South Hall 5524). You should note that the mailbox area is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Instruct the students in your discussion sections to leave all messages for you in your mailbox. You will be issued a key to South Hall 5524.

There is one departmental telephone for graduate student/TA use located in South Hall 5520 (also known as the Rachev Meeting Room). (Top)

15 Time Management

15.1 Prioritize Tasks

Each week make a "to do" list. Before putting an item on the list you should ask yourself: Does the task have to be completed this week? Is it really necessary to do this task at all?

15.2 Write Down Your Goals, Appointments, and To-Do Lists

A personal organizer or hand-held computer can be invaluable in tracking your appointments and maintaining your to-do list. The key is to make sure you use your organizer everyday. Whenever you sit down to study, conduct office hours, or do research, open it up and browse through it so you are fully aware of your goals and commitments for the day.

15.3 Schedule your Studying and Downtime

You should block out time specifically to do classes, homework, studying and recreational or social activities. Treat these appointments as you would meetings or other scheduled appointments.

15.4 Seek Help from other TAs

Often just talking to other TAs about classroom problems or new teaching ideas can help you to discover solutions to issues you may be facing.

15.5 Learn to Say No

You do not have to agree to every request made by your students.

(Top)

16 Guidelines for Supervising Faculty

The purpose of the following guidelines for supervising faculty responsibilities are (1) to improve the quality of teaching in undergraduate courses (2) to clarify the mutual responsibilities and obligations of the professor and the TA and (3) to improve the instruction and training of graduate students as educators.

The term "teaching assistant" is used in this document to represent collectively all teaching apprentice positions including teaching assistants, teaching associates and teaching fellows.

TA assignments given by faculty are expected to involve an appropriate range of support activities, which may include: (a) assisting the faculty member in the preparation of course materials, (b) teaching in discussion sections for the faculty member in charge of the course to which he/she is assigned, (c) attending the faculty member's lectures or other instruction periods, (d) reading student papers and examinations, (e) assisting with student performance evaluations and grading, and (f) holding office hours. TAs are not to be given sole responsibility for the instructional content of any course, for the selection of student assignments, for the planning of examinations, for determining the term grade for students, for instructing the entire enrollment of a course, nor for the entire instruction of an individual or group of students enrolled in any University course.

The guidelines for faculty members in the Department of Statistics are based upon the following assumptions:

1. The quality of the undergraduate's education is best served when teaching assistants and faculty members work cooperatively and effectively together. Thus it is the mutual responsibility of the TA and the faculty member to communicate questions and problems to each other regarding teaching materials, techniques, equipment, or other related factors that affect the fulfillment of their separate duties.

2. The unequal nature of the student-teacher and advisee-advisor relationship carries with it the potential for intimidation. Thus, the responsibility for creating an atmosphere where communication is open and without threat should rest upon the faculty member.

3. The concept of apprenticeship implies that the faculty member provides some measure of active feedback for TAs. This may include the communication of course-related content and feedback regarding teaching effectiveness. Such feedback may be offered in conjunction with activities to ensure that undergraduates receive instruction of satisfactory quality. This feedback could involve the faculty member directly observing the TA in section, or discussing student evaluations. All classroom observations should be conducted with full TA agreement and sufficient advance notice.

4. Effective teaching by teaching assistants demands credibility in their roles as teachers. Thus, observations of TAs by faculty members should be conducted so as not to jeopardize the TAs' rapport and standing with their students. Evaluations and comments should take place in confidence, at a later time.

16.1 Guidelines

1. Mandatory weekly meetings between the faculty member and the course TAs should be held when all parties are present. A detailed outline regarding content and presentation of the course work should be discussed at this meeting. It is assumed that the faculty member is responsible for instruction although he/she may arrange to be occasionally replaced by other qualified personnel. The weekly meetings should be scheduled to allow sufficient preparation time for the TAs.

2. The supervising faculty should ensure that the TAs are provided with enough information concerning the upcoming discussion section that they are confident and secure with the content, presentation, and implementation of all materials. This information might include:

  rationales, goals, and objectives for the discussion.

  specific content and examples for each topic.

  emphasis or time to be spent on each topic.

  questions to ask students or discussion points to be covered.

  potential problem areas in presentation and recommended solutions.

  references to assist in the preparation of the TA's presentation.

3. Full solutions for the faculty member's lecture exams should be provided by the faculty member for the TAs. Detailed breakdowns for the assignment of points and guidelines for grading should also be provided. This will help ensure that the professor's emphases and not those of individual TAs are reflected in the grading and will contribute to the maintenance of uniformity among the different graders. TAs may be asked to review examination questions prior to the exam at the professor's discretion.

4. The supervising faculty member is responsible for instruction and grading in all University courses. Thus, although the TA may write all or portions of the quizzes, and exams, and solutions for these materials, it is expected that TA efforts be checked by supervising faculty members throughout the quarter to maintain academic standards and provide necessary feedback.

5. While experienced TAs may function as valuable resources for other TAs in a course, the apprenticeship of those other TAs is with the supervising faculty member and not with the more experienced TAs. This does not preclude an organization involving a coordinating TA for courses with multiple TAs.

6. The opportunity to give an occasional course lecture may be a welcome experience for an experienced TA. Such lecturing experiences should be limited in occurrence and carried out under the supervision and guidance of the faculty member. TAs should not be expected to lecture merely to substitute for an absent faculty member.

7. A TA's appointment specifies a 20-hour per week time commitment. This time includes lecture attendance, weekly meetings, teaching of discussion sections, office hours, grading, and preparation of instructional materials. In the event these duties consistently require over 20 hr/week, the supervising faculty must choose among the options for the use of a TA's time, with the highest priorities given to the more central duties of preparation for teaching, office hours, and some grading of student work.

8. A TA's appointment is a binding contract for the duration of the quarter. Once instruction has begun, it is unacceptable for a TA to break the contract for any reason except in an extreme emergency. Faculty should be fully aware of this.

9. It is crucial that the students enrolled in a course have confidence in the teaching staff for that course. Therefore, a professional attitude should be presented to the students by the TAs and teaching faculty at all times. Any disagreements or problems related to the teaching of the course should be handled confidentially among the teaching staff.

10. All new and continuing TAs in the Department of Statistics at UCSB are required to participate in the course for TA training.

16.2 Resolution of Problems

If problems arise concerning the roles or responsibilities of supervising faculty and TAs, the involved parties should meet with each other to discuss the problem and its resolution. If this meeting does not resolve the problem, the TA or supervising faculty member should attempt to resolve the problem through consultation with the Department Chair, who has the responsibility of resolving matters regarding department personnel. (Top)

17 Emergencies

As a TA, you are an employee of the University and are therefore the person who should take charge in the event of an emergency occurring whilst you are taking section.

Part of your teaching preparation for the quarter should include finding out details, such as the following:

(i) Where is the nearest telephone to your classroom in the event you should need to call 911?

(ii) What is the evacuation route from your classroom in case of power outage? Fire? Earthquake? These evacuation routes may differ depending upon the situation.

There is a First Aid kit in the Departmental Office.

Revised 8/6/2012

(Top)

 


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Statistics & Applied Probability
University of California
Santa Barbara, California 93106-3110
(805) 893-2129
South Hall 5607A