January 18: Employment of Graduate Student Teaching Assistants (Policy 30)

To: Graduate students at the University of Waterloo

Cc: Faculty Associate Deans, Graduate Studies, Faculty Administrative Assistants, Graduate Studies, Faculty Recruitment Officers, Department/program Graduate Co-ordinators, Department/program Graduate Officers/Associate Chairs, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs staff, The Centre staff

From:  Jeff Casello, Associate Vice-President, Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA)

Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Subject: Employment of Graduate Student Teaching Assistants (Policy 30)

Note: This email is for information

I am writing to you today as the Chair of the drafting committee tasked with rewriting Policy 30: Employment of Graduate Student Teaching Assistants (TAs). I am delighted to share that the revised Policy has been approved by the Provost and was made effective in December 2022.

As shared with the University of Waterloo Senate on January 16, 2023, the Policy was jointly drafted over several years by a very collegial and productive committee comprised of many graduate students and various university administrators. The Policy was greatly improved through multiple consultations with student groups, most notably the Graduate Student Association – University of Waterloo (GSA-UW), as well as our Faculties and academic support units.

Overall, you will note that the Policy is predicated on the creation of collegial and respectful relationships between Instructors, Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), and the administrators responsible for overseeing TA appointments. The Policy also acknowledges the concurrent roles of GTAs who, while TAing are supporting the University’s educational mission, continue to pursue their own academics.

Highlights of the updated Policy include the following:

  • The Policy defines key roles, including the TA Administrator, who will be responsible for TA appointments and for being a point of contact to support graduate students.
  • The Policy establishes expectations of the University, the TA Administrator, the Instructor, and the GTA that further emphasize the collegial goals of successful, collaborative course delivery.
  • The Policy requires transparency in the processes by which TA appointments are made known to students and through which TAs are selected.
  • The Policy also requires an agreement (See Appendix C) to be created collectively by the GTA and the Instructor that outlines core responsibilities and estimated time allocations.
  • The Policy clarifies how training necessary to serve as a GTA will be supported.
  •  The Policy specifies pathways, informal and formal, to resolve disagreements between GTAs and Instructors. The Policy also ensures that a GTA continues to receive their financial support while disputes are being resolved.
  • The Policy requires an end-of-term evaluation of the TA that will be provided to the TA Administrator and can inform subsequent TA appointments.

For the full policy document, including appendices, I encourage you to visit the Secretariat’s website: Policy 30: Employment of Graduate student Teaching Assistants (TA).

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the drafting committee members, which included staff, graduate students, and faculty members. I am pleased that through our collective efforts, we were able to create a policy that benefits graduate students and the University alike, and that supports the delivery of the University’s academic mission while acknowledging the diversity of responsibilities that our graduate students hold while serving as a TA. The Policy is in effect now; all Faculties will be working with their staff, faculty, and students to have a transparent rollout of the GTA appointment process in full effect by fall 2023. As always, I welcome your input – feel free to email me: gspa-avp@uwaterloo.ca.

Thank you for your support. 

2023 communications to graduate students