Teaching assistantships and proctoring

Teaching assistantships in Pharmacy

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.

TA and proctor responsibilities

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
  • 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
  • adequately prepare for their work
  • familiarize themselves with the regulations governing assignments, tests, and final exams
  • 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 and notify the grad coordinator and course instructor*
Image of a graduate student teaching assistant talking with PharmD students

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.

TA eligibility requirements

Priority for pharmacy TA positions is give to eligible pharmacy graduate students for whom TA funding is included in their minimum funding package, as noted in the offer of admission. 

To be eligible for TA positions in Pharmacy, students must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • be in good academic standing
  • successfully complete the School of Pharmacy TA training 
  • have the skill set necessary for the positions applied for
  • be available in person for the full term (unless otherwise stated) including proctoring of final exams

Pharmacy TA training

Pharmacy TA training takes place within the first weeks of the Fall and Winter terms, in two parts:

  1. ExpecTAtions - School of Pharmacy, an online course that is completed in LEARN
  2. Synchronous Pharmacy TA training workshop

New students and anyone who has not completed both components of training are required to do so before taking a TA or proctor position in Pharmacy.  The exception is for students who begin in a spring term when Pharmacy TA training is not offered; these students will be offered a TA position in the fall term with the expectation that they will complete the required training when it is offered in the fall term. 

Students who have previously attended a synchronous Pharmacy TA training workshop are not required to attend the synchronous training again but are invited and welcome to attend.  

Once students have completed the full training, they must maintain their training by completing the online course quizzes at least once annually and obtain a minimum score of 8/10 for each quiz. Students may wish to review the modules to ensure they obtain the minimum required score.  

Students will have access to the ExpecTAtions - School of Pharmacy course in LEARN at the start of the term and must complete the quizzes prior to the in-person workshop (even if they are not required to attend the in-person workshop).    

Teaching assistants (TAs) are expected to be available to proctor exams as part of their duties for the term; often, additional personnel is required to assist TAs and instructors in supervising and administering exams. In such cases, students who are not the course TA are hired for these additional proctor positions.

*In last minute emergency situations, students must send an email to the course/lab coordinator and the grad coordinator to inform them of their unavoidable absence.  

Applying for TA positions

Approximately one to two months before the start of a new term, the administrative coordinator graduate studies and research (grad coordinator) will email students to notify them when the TA application is open.   

Eligible students should review the available positions, course descriptions and class schedules, and complete the TA application form by the posted due date.

The grad coordinator will then coordinate the TA assignments with the guidance of the Graduate Officer and course instructors as needed/appropriate, and send offers to students, accordingly. 

Those who do not complete the application by the communicated deadline may not be eligible for a position. Priority is given to those students who prove themselves to be exemplary employees, and who have the appropriate experience and training.

Priority for TA positions is given to those students form whom TA is part of their minimum funding. Sometimes additional positions are available. Extra TA hours (beyond the number of TAs guaranteed to a student in their offer 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. 

In cases where additional proctors are required, the grad coordinator will post a proctor sign up sheet and notify students. An e-mail notification will be sent to both the course instructor, the TA(s) and the additional proctor(s) to confirm the positions. Every effort is made to ensure that the distribution of additional paid positions is fair and equitable.

In accordance with the general regulations for full-time graduate students, Pharmacy students are normally allocated a maximum of 120 TA hours (1.0 TA units) in any one term. Any student wishing to work more (up to 20 hours per week) must seek permission.  

Getting paid

Eligible pharmacy students receive a TA salary based on completion of 1.5 TA units (1 unit = 120 hours) at the hourly TA pay rate, subject to deductions as required by law, as part of their minimum funding package as noted on the offer of admission.

    Any graduate student who receives funding is paid according to the schedule found here: https://uwaterloo.ca/human-resources/support-employees/payroll/pay-dates

    • TA positions are temporary appointments and paid in equal installments at the end of each month worked.
    • Proctor positions are casual appointments. Students are responsible for entering their own hours in Workday upon completion of the shift. Proctoring for exams that occur after the payment cut off date will be processed in the following cycle.

    New students are responsible for entering their direct deposit information in Quest. Doing so will ensure you receive any refunds faster.  For details, see the Refunds information on the Student Financial Services website. 

    Once hired (as a TA, RA, or proctor) you will also need to add your direct deposit information in Workday. For additional information about Workday, see information specific to graduate students on the Human Resources website.

    Returning students who have submitted their information previously are responsible for ensuring their tax credit, direct deposit, and mailing address information is kept up to date (in Workday and in Quest).

    ​International students will need to obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and should contact an immigration consultant for support.

    TA performance and evaluations

    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:

    • 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 may result in the student being declared ineligible for proctoring for 1-2 terms.