USE OF GRADUATE STUDENTS IN 3000 AND 4000 LEVEL COURSES
As part of its commitment to provide quality undergraduate education, the College of Arts and Sciences expects faculty members to be assigned to teach undergraduate courses at all levels. Typically, graduate students engaged in instruction will be placed in lower division courses and a regular faculty member assigned to monitor the quality of instruction being provided. It is the policy of the College of Arts and Sciences that graduate students should not be assigned to teach 3000 and 4000 level courses, although the Dean or designate may approve exceptions in particular cases. Requests for exceptions should address: 1) the qualifications of the particular graduate student who is to teach the course; 2) the plan for faculty mentoring/supervision of the graduate student teaching the course; and 3) the exceptional staffing situation in the department that resulted in the request.
Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTAs) are directly involved in the teaching and learning functions of the university. Learning to teach is an invaluable part of the overall education of graduate students--especially those who plan to pursue careers in which teaching skills play an important role. At the same time, Graduate Teaching Assistants make a vital contribution to undergraduate instruction. Bowling Green State University is fully committed to insuring that both GTAs, and the undergraduates whose learning they impact, receive maximum benefit from this arrangement.
The Graduate Student Enhancement Program (Grad STEP) initiates graduate students into the learning community and sensitizes them to the general issues they will face in working with undergraduate students. However, it cannot prepare them for the discipline-specific challenges of teaching. Nor does it provide on-going mentoring and supervision. These are the responsibility of the departments or programs that utilize graduate assistants in instructional roles.
Preparation. Graduate Teaching Assistants must be well-prepared for their instructional responsibilities. This requires that, at a minimum, departments and programs require all GTAs with in-class instructional responsibilities to enroll in an appropriately designed course on teaching their discipline no later than their first semester as a teaching assistant. Provision must also be made to insure that GTAs without in-class instructional responsibilities (e.g., grading, computer laboratory monitoring, etc.) are effectively prepared for their responsibilities.
Supervision. Graduate Teaching Assistants are to carry out their responsibilities under appropriate departmental supervision. It is the department's or program's responsibility to have an effective program of supervision and to insure that both GTAs and their supervisors have a clear understanding of the supervisory relationship.
Mentoring. Graduate Teaching Assistants should be encouraged to explore issues relating to teaching and learning on an ongoing basis through interactions with faculty (and peer) mentors. This is especially important for doctoral programs which give GTAs a variety of different teaching assignments and are preparing them for professorial positions. It is the department's or program's responsibility to have an effective mentoring program designed to expand and refine GTAs' understanding of teaching and learning on a continuing basis.