The teaching assistantship (TA) is a paid position whereby students are employees of the University, under the supervision of the course instructor, according to Policy 30-Employment of graduate student teaching assistants.
TAs offset the Graduate Research Studentship (GRS) funding amounts paid by supervisors and are an important part of the graduate student experience. TAs enhance students' CVs and contribute to students' eligibility for major funding and school awards.
The pay rate for TA positions is set by the Finance Office.
Eligible pharmacy students receive a TA salary of up to $5,938.00 per year* as part of their minimum funding package (as specified in the offer of admission). TAs are expected to be available to proctor midterm and final exams as part of their responsibilities.
To be eligible for a TA position in pharmacy, candidates must:
- be registered in full-time graduate studies
- have TA designated as part of their minimum funding package
- be within program time limits
- be in good academic standing
- not have other full time employment*
- attend the School of Pharmacy TA training workshop
- must have completed training at least once within the last year/three term cycle
- normally offered in fall and winter terms; dates and time will be communicated via email
- complete all mandatory training, including SO1100 Supervisor Safety Awareness and AODA customer service training, and the CMAHRO TA training (online in LEARN)
Exceptions to the first two requirements will be considered on a case by case basis, only when there are not enough eligible students to fill all available positions.
TAs are expected to be available to proctor exams as part of their TA duties for the term, but sometimes additional proctors are required.
Extra proctoring or TA hours (beyond the number of TAs guaranteed to a student in his or her Offer of Admission letter) will only be issued if all other TA positions for the term have been filled, if an instructor requires a TA with specific experience, or if additional exam proctors are required. All additional paid positions should be treated with the same consideration as a full TA position.
The hourly rate of pay for an ‘extra’ TA or proctor position is the same as for regular TA positions; payment will only be processed after the work is completed and only for the hours worked, during the next regular pay cycle. If a proctor is late for their assigned duties, they will receive remuneration for only those hours they worked.
In cases where additional positions are available, the Administrative Coordinator will post a proctor sign up sheet and notify eligible students. An e-mail will be sent to both the course instructor and the proctors to confirm the position. Every effort is made to ensure that the distribution of additional paid positions is fair and equitable, whenever possible.
Each TA and proctor position represents an employment contract and acceptance of an advertised position.
TAs and proctors are expected to act with the same professionalism and integrity as they would for any other employment contract, and must fulfil all duties and responsibilities as outlined on the advertised position/as noted on the TA Time allocation from.
Additionally, TAs must:
- complete all eligibility requirements
- attend TA training at least once per three term cycle
- meet with the course instructor before the beginning of the term, to discuss expectations and scheduling of duties throughout the term, and to complete the TA Time Allocation Form. Refer to the Teaching Assistant Checklist: Questions to Ask for tips.
- adequately prepare for their work
- obtain prior approval of the course instructor for any unavoidable absences at least one week in advance, and arrange to make up any missed work
- manage their own time, and alert the instructor as early as possible if their assigned duties are taking much longer than expected (per the TA Time Allocation Form)
- report and resolve any issues directly with the supervisor (i.e. the course instructor); if problems persist, notify the Administrative Coordinator or Graduate Officer, as appropriate
- arrive 15 minutes prior to all scheduled exams (proctors). E.g. for an exam that begins at 1pm, proctors should arrive at 12:45pm. Those who arrive late will be paid from the time they arrive; those who do not show up will not be paid and may not be hired for future proctor positions
- If, for any reason, a TA or proctor is unable to attend a scheduled exam, they must attempt to exchange the position with another graduate TA or proctor of the same gender. The student must notify the graduate coordinator and course instructor.*
TAs and proctors should additionally familiarize themselves with:
- Integrity policies the Conflict Management & Human Rights Office (CAMHRO) TA training module on harassment and discrimination, available in LEARN
- the Undergraduate Studies Academic Calendar Academic Regulations Related to Assignments, Tests, and Final Exams
- information from the Registrar's office about Cheating during a final exam
- procedures for Fire alarm evacuation
At the end of each term, instructors review and record TA performance on the TA evaluation form.
The purpose of the evaluation is to assess performance with a view to identifying areas for improvement.
Instructors are responsible for providing TAs with a performance evaluation, and for submitting the completed TA evaluation form to the Administrative Coordinator for Graduate Studies and Research, by the end of the examination period.
Unsatisfactory performance on the part of a TA will be addressed with appropriate consequences, as determined by the Associate Director for of Graduate Studies and Research or Graduate Officer. Examples of potential consequences include: A written (e-mail) warning and directions for improvement; a meeting with the Associate Director; passing the situation to the Advisory Committee for action. Some deficiencies have an automatic result. For example, not turning up to proctor an examination without (a) good and documented reason and (b) sufficient effort to arrange a replacement will result in the student being declared ineligible for proctoring for 1-2 terms.
Approximately two to three months before the start of a new term, the Administrative Coordinator will email students to notify them when the TA application is open.
The Administrative Coordinator will then coordinate the TA assignments with the guidance of the Graduate Officer, and inform students and instructors of their TAs, accordingly.
Those who do not complete the application by the communicated deadline may not be eligible for a position.
Resources and development
Fundamentals for University Teaching
Fundamentals of University Teaching is a free accredited program designed to support current Waterloo graduate students in their development as university TAs and instructors, offered by the Centre for Teaching Excellence For more information, or to register, see the Fundamentals of University Teaching Program.
CTE manual for teaching assistants
The Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) has created Teaching at the University of Waterloo: A Manual for Teaching Assistants, that includes TA relevant information about policies, preparation and teaching, grading and feedback, TA support, and more.
Conflict Management and Human Rights Office
In addition to the module in LEARN, the CMAHRO also provides Guidelines for Teaching Assistants which also addresses harassment and discrimination.
TAs should ensure that they understand this information so they are prepared to respond if a situation involving harassment or discrimination arises.