VIII. Guidelines for Graduate Teaching Associates

VIII.1.   Preamble

    Each year the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at The Ohio State University awards a number of Graduate Associateships to graduate students who are working toward the degree. The most numerous of these Associateships, by far, are Graduate Teaching Associateships. The position of Graduate Teaching Associate (GTA), essential to the functioning of the Department, carries with it important responsibilities. Chief among these is the maintaining of a proper balance between academic studies—the first priority for the Associate—and professional preparation, i.e., teaching. The great majority of Graduate Teaching Associateships in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese are within the area of Spanish language teaching. For this reason, among applicants to the Portuguese PhD program, priority will be given to those who have some proficiency in Spanish. 

    The Graduate School Handbook, Section 9 (Graduate Associates) contains important additional information regarding the position of Graduate Associate. 

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VIII.2.   Eligibility

    In order to hold an appointment as Graduate Teaching Associate, every student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese must satisfy the following eligibility requirements. The appointee:

1. must have been officially admitted to and be enrolled in the Graduate School, and be pursuing a degree program in the Department;

2. must, in the case of international non-English speaking students, certify proficiency in spoken English before assuming GTA duties involving direct student contact (see Section IV.2);

3. must, prior to the semester of initial appointment, attend and successfully complete a training workshop, attend and successfully complete Spanish 7801 (The College Teaching of Spanish and Portuguese), and attend demonstration classes throughout the semester (as assigned by teaching supervisors);

4. must register for Spanish 7801 and at least two other graduate courses during the semester of initial appointment;

5. must (except in the case of doctoral students who have advanced to Candidacy) register during all subsequent semesters for a minimum of three graduate level courses that lead toward the degree, plus 8893 or 8894, and total at least 8 graduate credit hours;

6. must, in the case of doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy, register for 3 graduate credit hours each semester;

7. must be in good standing in the Graduate School (i.e., have a cumulative point-hour ratio [CPHR] of 3.0 or better) when the appointment or reappointment becomes effective;

8. must maintain reasonable progress toward the degree.

Note:  While the appointment of a graduate degree candidate as GTA is the normal form of financial aid in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, students may on occasion be appointed to the position of Graduate Research Associate (GRA), which involves assisting a faculty member with research, or to the position of Graduate Administrative Assistant (GAA), which involves carrying out specified administrative tasks. Such appointments are not usual and are normally supplementary to an appointment as GTA. In general, GRAs and GAAs must meet the same standard of eligibility as GTAs. If they have no teaching duties, however, GRAs and GAAs are exempt from the requirements of attending the training workshop, enrolling in Spanish 7801, and certifying proficiency in spoken English.

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VIII.3.   Initial Appointment

    All Graduate Associates, including Graduate Teaching Associates, must be enrolled in the Graduate School. Applicants for an Associateship who are not enrolled must make simultaneous application for admission. As explained earlier, application materials for admission are available from the Admissions Office of the University.

    As part of the admissions process, the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department evaluates all applications for Associateships, taking into account academic achievement in previous course work, letters of recommendation, previous experience in the culture, use and command of the language (travel, study abroad, and so on), prior teaching experience, if any, and any other information which seems useful and pertinent. Applicants to whom an Associateship is awarded are subsequently sent a letter stating the terms of the appointment. This letter is signed by the Chair of the Department, and, if accepted, by the applicant.

    Offers for new Associateships are normally made late by late February or March, although circumstances may on occasion oblige the Department to make additional appointments later in the academic year. In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15, and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time prior to April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the Chair of the Department.

    GTAs normally are appointed for two semesters. Summer appointments may also be available (see Section VIII.14).  The Department will rescind the contract of those who relinquish their appointment in the absence of extenuating circumstances. Associates who wish to interrupt their teaching duties must inform the Graduate Studies Director, the HR/Fiscal Manager, and the Chair; they must also petition the Graduate Studies Committee to be allowed to resume their GTAship by the beginning of advance enrollment for the semester in which they plan to return. It should be understood that such a petition does not, however, guarantee a Teaching Associateship for the desired semester. Associates who are absent from the program for more than two semesters may be asked to reapply for admission to the program and Teaching Associateship.

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VIII.4.   Reappointment

    The contracts of Graduate Teaching Associates are renewed by the Chair of the Department upon the recommendation of the faculty. The faculty recommendation results from an annual review, usually carried out in the spring semester, of both the teaching and the academic record of all GTAs. Prior to the review, students must submit the Annual Evaluation of Student progress form to their Advisors. Subsequent to the review, academic Advisors meet with their advisees to discuss the outcome of the review and to inform them of any specific suggestions for improvement that may have emerged from the review.

    Graduate Teaching Associates may expect to be reappointed provided that:

1. they are in good standing in the Graduate School (i.e., their Cumulative Point Hour Ratio (CPHR) is 3.0 or better;

2. they are making satisfactory progress toward their degree, which is defined, among other ways, as meeting the various deadlines outlined earlier in the descriptions of the integrated M.A./Ph.D. programs;

3. their teaching performance has been satisfactory;

4. course enrollments and the departmental budget permit such reappointment.

    Note: A student whose graduate CPHR falls below 3.0 after 9 graduate credit hours have been completed is placed on probation by the Dean of the Graduate School.  Once this is raised to 3.0 or better, the student is removed from probation and placed in good standing in the Graduate School. Provided that the student is in good standing and teaching evaluations are satisfactory, the appointment as a GTA can be continued; if a student is not in good standing, the appointment becomes null and void.

    Letters of reappointment are normally sent in May. Acceptance or rejection by the candidate must be received in written form by the Chair of the Department no later than two weeks after receipt of the offer. The letter of acceptance is considered binding upon the individual and cannot be rescinded without the approval of the Chair.

    Associates who are not reappointed will be so informed in writing by the Chair of the Department, who will state the reasons for non-reappointment. Among other possible reasons is the Associate’s acceptance of outside employment without prior consultation with his/her Advisor (see Section VIII.7). If the Associate wishes to appeal the non-reappointment, the appeal must be put in writing, and it must be received by the Chair within two weeks of the date of the non-reappointment notice. If the appeal is denied by the Chair, grievance proceedings may then be initiated according to the guidelines given in Section VIII.6.

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VIII.5.   Termination

    It is the responsibility of the Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese to ensure that the quality of teaching in the Department is maintained at a high level. Upon receiving evidence that termination of a GTA’s appointment is called for, the Chair shall carefully investigate the situation and, if the evidence gathered from all interested parties is sound and substantial, shall terminate the Associateship. GTA appointments may be terminated prior to the end of the appointment period only with the written approval of the Graduate School. A GTA appointment is terminated prior to the end of the appointment period for any of the following reasons:

1. the GTA is no longer enrolled in the Graduate School

2. the GTA is registered for fewer than the number of credit hours required for a GTA appointment or fewer than three credit hours for a doctoral student who has passed the candidacy examination

3. performance as a GTA is determined to be unsatisfactory by the employing unit

4. the GTA graduates

5. the appointing unit has insufficient funds

6. unsatisfactory academic performance.

    A GTA whose appointment is terminated will receive notification of the termination in the form a letter from the Chair, stating the reasons for the termination. If the Associate wishes to appeal the termination, the appeal must be put in writing, and it must be received by the Chair within two weeks of the date of the notice of termination. If the appeal is denied by the Chair, grievance proceedings may then be initiated according to the guidelines given in Section VIII.6.

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VIII.6.   Grievance Procedures

    Graduate Associates should report grievances related to their appointment directly to the Chair of the Department. If the Chair cannot resolve them to the satisfaction of the Associate, they may be remanded to the Graduate Studies Committee or to an ad hoc committee appointed by the Chair. If a resolution cannot be obtained through departmental procedures, the established procedures of the Graduate School will apply (see Appendix D of the Graduate Student Handbook for more detailed information).

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VIII.7.   Outside Employment

    A Graduate Associate who is considering additional employment outside the University should consult with his/her Advisor who will in turn consult with the Director of Graduate Studies. A careful evaluation of the impact of the additional commitments on the student’s academic progress will then be made. If this evaluation reveals that the outside employment will significantly slow the student’s academic progress, the employment will be strongly discouraged. If the student accepts the employment in spite of the negative recommendation of the Department, and if it is later determined that his/her academic progress has been affected, reappointment as a GTA may not be offered.

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VIII.8.   Length of Appointment

    Financial support for Graduate Associates and fellowship recipients for whom fees are waived will be provided for no more than ten semesters while pursuing the integrated M.A./Ph.D. program degree; no more than 4 semesters in the case of students in the M.A.-only program; and no more than 8 semesters in the case of students in the Ph.D.-only program. No additional funding is possible after a Presidential Fellowship, by Graduate School regulations. 

Note: Appointments for Summer Session are not included in these counts. However, University Fellowships and funding received from other units within Arts & Sciences are included.

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VIII.9.   Workload for Graduate Associates

    A GTA in Spanish and Portuguese is normally assigned to teach one language course, normally SPAN 1101-1103, per semester this is considered a 50% appointment. More senior GTAs may be assigned to teach General Education (GE) or higher level courses. In order to provide teaching assignments to all graduate students in the Portuguese graduate program, GTAs pursuing an integrated M.A./Ph.D. in Portuguese will be required to teach Spanish during their funded period, most likely during their first two semesters in the program. 


    GTAs work under the supervision of the Chair and the Director of Language Programs. A GTA appointment to teach one section of an elementary or intermediate language course per semester, including approximately four hours of classroom instruction and two office hours per week (one regular office hour plus one hour by appointment), two hours per week to assist with the conversation tables or the tutoring room, proctoring exams, mentoring, and/or other duties as assigned. Approximately twelve additional hours are spent preparing class, attending staff meetings, grading, and performing those tasks expected of a university-level instructor. Total hours are twenty per week. Under-enrolled courses that are approved to run by the Chair (in consultation with the Dean) normally require one extra service hour from the GTA (pending availability, the GTA may choose another appointment for a class that meets minimum enrollment). When a GTA is the instructor of a large-enrollment GE course, enrollment cap will be at 40 students. When enrollment is between 35-40 students (on the first day of the semester), the GTA will receive a one-hour reduction in required service hours. 

VIII.10. Absences from teaching

In order to ensure coherence for the undergraduate students in our courses and to maintain consistent expectations for our instructors, we ask graduate students to follow the following procedure when they are absent from their teaching duties:

1. Notification of absence:

Graduate students should notify SPPO's Fiscal & HR Manager ahead of time when they are planning to be absent from teaching duties (e.g. to attend a conference, serve on jury duty, etc.). If not possible in advance (e.g. the onset of an illness), then the HR Manager should be informed of an absence as soon as possible after it occurs. In either case, please provide appropriate documentation when possible (e.g. confirmation of conference participation or notification). Please note that only doctor's appointments of an emergent nature will qualify to provide compensation for instructor coverage. It is an expectation that all other doctor's appointments are scheduled during non-teaching times. 

The email should contain the title of the course (e.g. PORT 1101; SPAN 3403); the date(s) & times of the absences; and the name of the person who will serve as the substitute.

Please also copy on the email the Language Program Director (for SPAN 1101-2202 and PORT 1101-1103) or the Vice Chair (for SPAN and PORT 3000+ level courses as well as GE courses). 

2. Substitution of instruction:

a. Instructors should make arrangements to find a substitute for the class/es for which they will be absent. At the 1100 through 2202 course levels, buddy lists are provided to instructors to facilitate this process. 

b. The Department will compensate substitutes who cover for cases of illness, conference attendance, and family emergencies. Because of existing visa regulations, the Department can only compensate domestic students or lecturers. If an international student does the subbing, the two instructors are welcome to make a mutually acceptable arrangement between them (such as replacing the sub in their service hours, baking cookies for the sub, reciprocating in the substitution if/when that occasion arises, etc.). 

    The Department adheres to the Graduate School policy on short-term absences and leaves of absence. See Graduate School Policy for more detailed information. For maternity leave, if a GTA can teach at least 80% of a course before going on leave, s/he can teach that course and a substitute will be found for the remaining weeks on maternity leave. Otherwise, to fulfill the GTAship they will be assigned 20 hours of work related to the language program (with an expected minimum of 10 hours to be completed on campus) until or following their maternity leave.

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VIII.10.   Evaluation of Performance

    All GTAs are periodically visited in their classrooms by an evaluator assigned by the appropriate departmental committee. The purpose of such visits is to evaluate the GTA’s performance as an instructor and to offer helpful advice. After each classroom visit, the evaluator meets with the GTA to discuss the visit and the substance of the evaluation. The evaluation is then put in written form and two copies are made: one of these is given to the GTA; the second forms part of the record that is considered at the time of annual review. GTAs are evaluated on such areas as preparation for class, appropriateness of techniques to class content, use of the target language in the classroom, adherence to the guidelines established by the Department, and general classroom acumen.

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VIII.11.   Stipends

    Stipends are determined by the College of Arts and Sciences. Levels of compensation are set according to College policy and a departmental protocol that is based in part on degrees earned and in part on amount and type of teaching experience. In addition to the stipend, the University authorizes payment of the entire tuition of the Graduate Associate appointed for at least 50%. The amount differs based on Level I (M.A. level degree students), Level II (Ph.D level students), and Level III (Post-Candidacy Examination level students).

Graduate Associate/Fellowship appointment dates are determined by the Graduate School and can be found here.

    Graduate Associates and Fellows appointed for Autumn Semester 2016 will receive their first pay at the end of August. GTAs on a nine-month appointment will receive one-half a month’s pay in August and one-half in May. Appointments for a percentage of time other than 50% carry proportional salaries.

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VIII.12.   Benefits

    In addition to the monthly stipend, students holding GA appointments of at least 50% receive authorizations that include Instructional Fees (resident and non-resident) and General Fees. Other student fees, such as parking costs, late penalties, health insurance, recreation fee, activity fee, and the mandatory COTA fee, must be paid by the student. As a Graduate Associate or Graduate Fellow of The Ohio State University, payroll deduction will be used to pay for “Other Student Fees” not covered by the standard graduate fee payment authorization, appointing unit or graduate program.

    OSU Health Insurance is a requirement of all students enrolled at OSU. Upon registration students are automatically enrolled in Comprehensive Student Health Insurance Coverage if they are enrolled at least half time each semester unless they complete the online waiver form by the deadline each year. Funded graduate students are subsidized 85% of the cost of the health insurance. The remaining balance is deducted monthly from their pay. Graduate students are also eligible for OSU Prime Care Insurance at a considerably higher premium. Funded graduate students receive an 85% subsidy of health insurance costs for dependents and the remaining balance is payroll deducted. Detailed benefits information and premium comparisons are available here.

    Continuing students who have held regular 50% GA appointments for two consecutive semesters are eligible for a fee authorization during the Summer Session without being on appointment. Typically, this will permit GAs who held a position during the regular academic year to enroll for full-time studies (minimum of 4 graduate hours) during the Summer Session, without a teaching appointment and without paying tuition and fees; note that there is no stipend.

    As noted earlier, the Department adheres to the Graduate School policy on short-term absences and leaves of absence. See Graduate School Policy for more detailed information.

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VIII.13.   Facilities

    The Department of Spanish and Portuguese makes every effort to provide all Graduate Associates with appropriate facilities to carry out GA teaching, research, or administrative duties. GTAs will be provided with a copy code in order to use the departmental copiers to print or copy instructional materials for the courses they are teaching, up to 1000 copies per course. Additional copies may be requested as needed for teaching materials.  
 
    The departmental copier may not be used for personal printing or printing related to the students’ own coursework except in exceptional circumstances. Most course assignments, final papers, exams, and dissertation chapters may be submitted via email or in the Carmen dropbox, with faculty members taking on the responsibility of printing these documents if they need hard copies. In the semester in which they are defending their dissertation, students may request an additional 300 copies in order to print out a copy of their dissertation to be delivered to the Graduate School for formatting review. Students should consult with their committee members about whether they would like a printed or an electronic copy of the full dissertation; in this case the printing is the responsibility of student.

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VIII.14.   Summer Appointments

    Depending upon enrollments and available funds, Summer session positions may be available for GTAs. The Chair of the Department awards Summer session appointments in consultation with the Vice Chair and the Language Program Director. Fulltime registration (4 graduate credit hours) is required for Summer session appointments.

    Assignment of Summer session GTA appointments is based on the following criteria:

1. Programmatic and Departmental need (defined in this context as the need to hire particular instructors with the expertise or qualifications necessary to build specific aspects or areas of the language program, or the best instructor to teach a specific course);

2. Seniority, according to the following ranked order:   
    a.  Departmental ABDs (those who have presented their prospectus and are writing their dissertation)   
    b.  Departmental post-candidacy students (those who have passed their candidacy exams but have not yet presented their prospectus)   
    c.  Departmental integrated M.A./Ph.D. students who have not yet achieved candidacy but who are making regular progress toward their degree   
    

    Assignments are also dependent upon teaching success, as verified by teaching evaluations and supervisory reports. In addition, the Department needs to meet its contractual obligations, such as those that might be offered to international students as part of their initial appointment for summer session. For all other students, Summer session appointments are not guaranteed. However, reasonable effort will be made to grant an appointment to ABD students (category [a]) who request one prior to their last year in the program so that they may continue writing their dissertations without seeking outside employment.

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VIII.15.   Teaching Upper-Level Classes

    Facilitating GTA professional development is a top priority of the Department, in part to help our programs' students be successful in seeking tenure-track positions. Teaching advanced-level courses (3000-level and above as well as GE courses taught in English) is an opportunity offered to the best-prepared students for their enhanced professional preparation. It does not constitute an entitlement, and having taught at the advanced level is not a guarantee that one will continue to teach at that level. GTAs who desire to teach courses at the GE and advanced-level may need to attend course-specific workshops or regularly visit the course during the semester for consideration. Decisions regarding assignment of GTAs to GE and advanced-level courses will be made on the basis of the following considerations:

1. Departmental need (defined in this context as the persons who are best qualified to teach a particular course on the basis both of academic success in the relevant area(s) and of teaching success as verified by teaching evaluations and supervisory reports, either in the course requested or in other courses).

2. Seniority, according to the following rank order:
a)     Departmental ABDs (those who have presented their prospectus and are writing their dissertation);
b)     Departmental post-candidacy students (those who have passed their candidacy exams but have not yet presented their prospectus);
c)     Departmental integrated M.A./Ph.D. students who have not yet achieved candidacy but who are making regular progress toward their degree

3.       Rotation, the goal of which is to afford as many students as possible the chance to teach advanced courses.

4.       Assignments of GTAs and lecturers to advanced level courses will be made by the Department Chair, in consultation with the Vice-Chair and course coordinator(s).

    All those who wish to request assignment to an advanced-level course should consult with the appropriate course coordinator at least one full semester before the course is to be given. At this time, appropriate arrangements are to be made for the interested GTA to make regular visits to a section of the course taught either by 1) the course coordinator or 2) another faculty member. In order to be considered for an advanced-teaching assignment, GTAs must request it on their Annual Evaluation of Student Progress form, indicating which advanced course(s) they would like to teach, which advanced course(s) they have already taught and when, and, if they are requesting a course for the first time, what measures they have taken (class visits, etc.) to prepare themselves to teach that course. Before making requests, applicants should consult the Master Schedule of Classes for availability of times/courses. Because of limited availability, advanced teaching assignments may not occur in the same semester in which they are requested.

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VIII.16.   Planning and Notice of Teaching Assignments to GTAs for the Autumn Semester

1) Concerning those current graduate students scheduled to teach the following academic year, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese will collect their schedules and teaching preferences no later than one week after the end of the Spring semester;

a. It is expected that the students will have registered for Autumn courses by then and will have their final Autumn course schedule ready to be submitted together with their teaching and service preferences.

2) A preliminary draft of teaching assignments will be shared with the prospective GTAs no less than two months, and a final draft no less than one month, before the start of the Autumn semester.

3) If extenuating circumstances arise and the Department needs to make changes to any teaching assignment during July or August;

a. As soon as a change has officially been made to a teaching assignment, the affected graduate student(s) will be notified by email;
b. While changes in July or August are the exception and not the norm, students need to remain flexible and understand that all teaching assignments are driven by Departmental and programmatic needs.

4) This timeline does not apply to new GTAs starting the program in the Autumn semester. These students will be notified of their teaching assignments during the orientation workshop in August.

VIII.17.   Planning and Notice of Teaching Assignments to GTAs for the Spring Semester

1) Concerning current graduate students scheduled to teach the following Spring semester, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese will put out a call for teaching and service preferences two weeks after the enrollment window for Spring graduate courses opens, which typically falls during the 3rd or 4th week of October. Students will be given a one-week window after said call to then submit their preferences. In sum, students will be given three weeks from the opening of their enrollment window to submit preferences.

a. It is expected that students will have met with their advisors and registered for Spring courses by then, and thus will have their final Spring course schedule ready to be submitted together with their teaching and service preferences.

2) A preliminary draft of teaching assignments will be shared with the prospective GTAs no later than four weeks before the start of the Spring, and a final draft no later than three weeks, before the start of the Spring semester.

3) If extenuating circumstances arise and the Department needs to make changes to any teaching assignment during December or early January;

a. As soon as a change has officially been made to a teaching assignment, the affected graduate student(s) will be notified by email;
b. While changes in December or early January are the exception and not the norm, students need to remain flexible and understand that all teaching assignments are driven by Departmental and programmatic needs.

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