The Responsibilities of Graduate Fellows
Our current policy as specified in the Graduate Handbook defines the following obligations for graduate fellows:
Graduate students are expected to work a maximum of 15 hours per week for a professor to whom they are assigned. While graduate fellowships do not preclude students from additional employment outside the university, the responsibilities of graduate fellows take precedence over any other employment. Some professors prefer to use their assistants for research, while others use them for teaching and grading assistance.
While this policy notes a maximum, it also implies an expectation that graduate students are to work 15 hours per week for a professor. This responsibility takes precedence over any other employment. This means that if you are working outside of the university, you must alter that work schedule to meet the class and research time requested by the faculty member. Since fellows will not know for whom they will be teaching or what their daily commitments will be in the fall until just before classes begin, it is critical that they plan accordingly and inform any potential autumn employer of their obligations to the department from the end of August onward.
The content of the work performed with the faculty member is expected to include course-related and research-related activity. If course related activities have been completed, fellows are expected to report back to faculty members and spend the remainder of their time each week working with the faculty member on research related activities. This is a critical component of graduate education. Its significance should not be underestimated. There is also a very high opportunity cost of working outside of the university if on fellowship as you must maintain a full load and already put in 15 hours per week for the University. The remaining time is precious and should be preserved at all costs.
Fellows are not expected to perform any personal favors or to undertake tasks not related to academic pursuits by the professors to whom they are assigned. Any complaints in this regard should be directed to the Associate Chair & Director of Graduate Studies (Marc Howard), the Department Chair (George Shambaugh), or the Departmental Ombudsman (Father Schall).
Fellows are expected to conduct themselves in a respectful and professional manner in and outside of the classroom. Fellows are expected to demonstrate a high level of accomplishment in their work for a professor, either as a teaching or research assistant, and in their course work. Course work standards include, but are not limited to, maintaining about a 3.67 GPA, and having no more than two cumulative “Incompletes.”
Questions about your rights or responsibilities as a TA or RA? Please email Paula Evans, our Graduate Program Administrative Officer.
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