Graduate Appointments

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University Policy Number 3009

Categorized:

Responsible Office:

Policy Procedure:

Related Law & Policy:


I. Scope

This policy defines the different types of appointments (assistantships and lectureships) that Graduate Students may hold and the required qualifications for such appointments.

II. Definitions

Graduate Assistantship: A form of student employment for admitted, full-time master’s and doctoral students that involves a supervised, educationally appropriate experience, stipend, and possibly tuition support. The university offers three types of assistantships: graduate professional assistants (GPAs), graduate teaching assistants (GTAs), and graduate research assistants (GRAs).

Graduate Lectureship (GL): A form of student employment for admitted, full-time or part-time, master’s or doctoral students for which they are Instructor of Record for a credit-bearing undergraduate course.

Graduate Student: A student enrolled in a doctoral or master’s program.

Instructor of Record: Graduate students who serve as Instructor of Record for undergraduate courses and are under the supervision of a faculty member but are responsible for all teaching and support activities associated with the course to which they are assigned.

  • GTA Instructor of Record assignments and GL assignments require that the students have at least 18 hours of graduate-level course work in the teaching discipline to be assigned full responsibility for teaching an undergraduate course.
  • International students who will be assigned as a GTA Instructor of Record or GL and who were required to take an English Proficiency Exam for admission into George Mason must participate and sufficiently perform in a language proficiency assessment administered by INTO Mason’s Learning Resource Center prior to starting their first GTA or GL assignment. The Learning Resource Center defines and determines sufficient performance.

Full-time Assistantship: An assistantship of at least 20 hours of work per week.

Part-time Assistantship: An assistantship of less than 20 hours of work per week.

Stipend: A fixed, periodic payment granted to a student for services rendered as a Graduate Assistant or Lecturer.

III. Policy Statement

The purpose of this policy is to formalize and standardize the hiring of graduate students as Graduate Assistants or Lecturers.

Graduate Assistantships and Lectureships provide a supervised opportunity for graduate students to gain experience in their field of study through teaching, research or professional career preparation. Consequently, any assistantship or lectureship must aid the student in the successful completion of the graduate degree.

To ensure academic quality for undergraduate students, George Mason University requires that all graduate students appointed as a Graduate Teaching Assistant or Graduate Lecturer and serving as the Instructor of Record must hold a minimum of 18 graduate credits in the discipline of instruction, consistent with the requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

To meet these standards, the university must ensure that graduate students are appropriately qualified to teach the courses to which they are assigned, but also that their credentials and qualifications are documented in a timely fashion and in accordance with SACSCOC requirements. Graduate students must not be permitted to begin teaching until their qualifications have been evaluated and documented according to the relevant procedures.

A. Graduate Assistantships

  1. Assistantship Qualifications

To hold any Assistantship, graduate students must:

a. be admitted to a master’s or doctoral degree program,

b. be full-time students as defined by the University Catalog,

c. be in good academic standing and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in each semester they hold an Assistantship, and

d. meet the university’s English proficiency requirements.

2. Assistantship Payment and Benefits:

a. Graduate students who serve as Graduate Assistants are paid in accordance with the minimum compensation rates established each year by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and published on its website.

b. In addition to stipends, Graduate Assistants may receive tuition support through tuition grants or tuition waivers. Graduate Assistants may be eligible for subsidized health insurance (see University Policy 6001: Health Insurance for Graduate Students) and in-state tuition rates (see University Policy 6003: In-State Eligibility for Doctoral and MFA Students).

3. Graduate Professional Assistants (GPAs):

a. Graduate students participating in non-teaching/non-research positions performing work

  • related to their program of study,
  • commensurate with their level of study, and
  • providing professional experience in their field of study.

b. Positions must be significantly connected to the students’ fields of study and career preparation.

c. Students should not be hired into GPA positions for work that should be done by a non-student worker. The intent of this position is to provide students direct experience in their field of study.

4. Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs):

a. GTAs either serve as Instructors of Record or support faculty who are Instructors of Record (see Qualifications for details).

b. Classroom Instruction Support:

Graduate students participating in classroom instruction support under the supervision of a faculty member assist department faculty in teaching courses, including laboratory teaching assignments, or in providing other appropriate professional assistance. This may include:

  • Teaching a small section of an undergraduate course
  • Tutoring individuals or small groups of students
  • Holding office hours and meeting with undergraduate students
  • Assisting with the grading of homework or exams or written assignments
  • Administering tests or exams
  • Assisting a faculty instructor with a large lecture class by teaching students in recitation, laboratory, or discussion sessions
  • Helping software users in a computer laboratory

c. Assignment Limits for All GTAs:

GTA assignments are limited to two undergraduate lecture courses (maximum of 6 credit hours), or six semester hours of recitation sections, or nine semester hours of laboratory per semester.

5. Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs):

Graduate students participating directly in research or research support activities under faculty supervision.

B. Graduate Lecturers

1. Graduate students who serve as Instructor of Record for credit-bearing undergraduate courses under faculty supervision. GL assignments are limited to 2 courses (maximum of 6 credits hours) per semester.

2. Lecturer Qualifications:

To hold a lectureship, graduate students must:

a. be admitted to a master’s or doctoral degree program,

b. be enrolled as either a part-time or full-time students as defined by the University Catalog,

c. be in good academic standing and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in each semester they hold the lectureship, and

d. meet the university’s English proficiency requirements.

3. Stipend and Tuition:

GLs are paid by didactic hour in accordance with the Adjunct Faculty Matrix. In addition to stipends, Lecturers may receive tuition support through tuition grants or tuition waivers.

IV. Responsibilities

A. Each school, college, institute, department, and unit of the University shall make Graduate appointments in compliance with this Policy.

B. The Office of the Provost will create Procedures to implement this Policy.

V. Forms

 Available at https://provost.gmu.edu/graduate-student-appointments/

VI. Dates:

 A. Effective Date:

This policy will become effective upon the date of approval by the Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance and the Provost and Executive Vice President.

B. Date of Most Recent Review:

N/A.

 VII. Timetable for Review

This policy, and any related procedures, shall be reviewed every three years or more frequently as needed.

VIII. Signatures

 

Approved:

 

______/S/________                                      ___6/22/2017___

Senior Vice President for                                         Date

Administration and Finance

 

______/S/________                                     ___6/25/2017___

Provost and Executive Vice President                   Date