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TA/PA Appointments: Some FAQs Welcome to the L&S Admin presentation “TA/PA Appointments: Some FAQs.” This material was presented live on June 18, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "TA/PA Appointments: Some FAQs Welcome to the L&S Admin presentation “TA/PA Appointments: Some FAQs.” This material was presented live on June 18, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 TA/PA Appointments: Some FAQs Welcome to the L&S Admin presentation “TA/PA Appointments: Some FAQs.” This material was presented live on June 18, 2012 and has been modified into a self- paced presentation. After you review a slide, click anywhere to advance the presentation. Additional information and clarifications provided during the live presentation will appear in text boxes (like this one). To exit the presentation at any time, press the Escape Key. To go back to a previous slide, press the Backspace Key. Click to begin the presentation Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

2 Goals for Presentation To give you a basic understanding of PA and TA appointment fundamentals A more in-depth training will happen in early spring next year, when we’re thinking about TA budgets and long-term support guarantees. Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

3 Definitions TAs are grad students who have been assigned teaching and related responsibilities under the supervision of a faculty member or academic staff PAs are grad students employed to assist with research, training, administrative responsibilities, or other academic support projects or programs Reader/graders are hourly PAs who are employed to assist with grading TAs have positions working in the classroom, and are associated with a particular class. The only rare exception if a TA is working on pedagogical component to a course. Requests for reader/grader should sent to Brian Bubenzer at The instructor is still expected to grade, however the reader/grader will be available to help with that workload. Hourly reader/grader PA job title should not be confused with hourly PA job title; the rates of pay are different. Hourly PAs are rare, and are assigned when the number of hours and schedules are difficult to predict. A recent example is math PAs that were working at SOAR. Because of the SOAR schedule and how it coincided with the PA’s schedules, hours were difficult to predict. Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

4 Beware the Student Hourly for grads! If the duties require graduate-level expertise, the student hourly title CANNOT be used, and the student must be appointed (in most cases) as a project assistant. Mistitled employees frequently turn up with requests for higher pay This issue often comes to L&S Admin attention when a supervisor requests a raise for a student hourly because of the level at which the student is performing. If the position require graduate-level expertise you cannot give it a student hourly title. Who can help you determine what level of work a position requires? Brian Bubenzer, Assistant Dean for Graduate Education in L&S is a good starting point. Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

5 The collective bargaining agreement is no longer in effect, but most policies and procedures remain in place. We’re working some things out as we go – please contact us with any questions! Most policies and procedures that were in the collective bargaining agreement have continued. For example, policies regarding posting requirements, sick leave and hiring criteria are all still in place. A new set of policies has been drafted and will be released by Academic Personnel. Until then, as a general rule you should use the old policies and procedures. If you have any questions about a particular situation, contact Brian Bubenzer at Of the changes that have occurred– most include the relationship between the university and the union (such as the grievance policy). Because the union no longer exists, these policies will change. Also, some benefits, such as health insurance, have changed. Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

6 Do we need to post TA and PA positions? Departments with TA positions are required to post (on a bulletin board accessible to grad students): Procedures for applying for TA-ships A listing of courses that typically have TAs assigned Information about PAships that may become available Hiring criteria must be available Policies around posting have not changed. Hiring criteria can drop off a department’s radar, which can be an issue if there is a complaint regarding a hiring decision. Every department should have an updated hiring criteria document that describes the hierarchy of who will be hired for open positions. For example– ‘The department will give first priority for TAs to applicants with long term support guarantees. If there are additional positions, next priority will be given to applicants with teaching experience.’ The department determines the hiring criteria for their positions. Once that criteria has been established, the department must follow it. The documented criteria will also help if a question is raised of why did X student receive a TA, and Y student didn’t. Please review your hiring criteria to ensure it describes what actually happens in your department. Revised copies should be sent to Brian Bubenzer at Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

7 Specific TA positions need not be posted UNLESS  You expect to hire from outside the department. In that case, post on the job center website (at least one week).  Note: This includes any program or unit that does not have its own graduate students.  Reappointments and appointments that fulfill support guarantees are exempt from this.  When in doubt, post You’re not required to post every TA position, but it most be posted for at least a week if you expect to be hiring outside of the department. Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

8 Posting PA positions PA positions should be posted, unless they are:  Used as part of a support guarantee  A reappointment  An emergency hire It can be considered a emergency hire if it’s 21 days or less before the beginning of the semester/start date. Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

9 Appointment letter issues All TA and PA appointments require a letter for each new appointment Templates are provided in the Administrative Gateway; if you depart from the models, Dean’s Office approval is required Hiring departments should send a copy of the appointment letter to the student’s home academic department This is very important. Otherwise, a student can potentially pick up a large number of hours and the home department is not aware. Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

10 What are the minimum appointment levels for TAs and PAs? Appointments of less than.334% during an academic year require Dean’s Office approval, UNLESS they are combined with another grad assistant appointment that brings the total to at least the one-third level. Approval of less than one-third time also requires agreement of employee; verify in writing. Will be part of Dean’s Office review. Summer appointments can be at any percentage. This number has changed slightly; it used to be.333%. Your appointment letters should reflect this change (it has been changed on the templates) Generally, the L&S practice is to have all appointments be at least 1/3 time, so students are supported with benefits. If the appointment will be less than 1/3, it requires prior Dean’s Office approval, and candidates most formally indicate they are aware no benefits or tuition remission are included.

11 What are the maximum appointment levels for TAs and PAs? TA and PA appointments may be up to a combined total of 75% during the academic year. Graduate School is quite strict about this – exceptions must be cleared by the College first, then the Grad School. Emergencies, unusual situations. International students may NOT carry appointments that total more than 50% (except during the summer). First and foremost, students are here to be students, and it’s hard to do much graduate work if you’re working close to 100%. Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

12 How many credits do TAs need to take? The credit requirement is set by the student’s ACADEMIC department’s criteria for satisfactory progress. A copy of these criteria must be posted in the department. All grads who hold assistantships MUST register for at least 2 credits at the 300 level or higher (Grad School rule). Those on F1 and J1 visas must be registered for at least 8 grad credits; TAs are allowed to carry 4-6, depending on appt level. Exceptions must be documented in the criteria, and applied to all TAs in the department. You may not give a TA an exception unless it is offered to all the TAs in the department. The minimum credit rule is set by the Graduate School is 2 credits, and academic departments may set additional/higher criteria for their students These criteria may include standardized exceptions. For example: TAs in the department are required to take at least 6 credits, unless they are in all-but- dissertation status, in which case they only must only take at least three credits. Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

13 FICA rule: TAs who enroll for fewer than 4 credits will have FICA deducted from their pay, unless they are in dissertator status. This rule doesn’t stop TAs from taking fewer credits, if their department policies allow it. However, your department should communicate with graduate students that will have FICA deducted from their pay, and explain that it is triggered by the number of credits they are taking. Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

14 What are the experience levels for TAs? TAs are either “standard” or “senior” Senior TAs are dissertators who have at least one and two-thirds semesters of experience, although they are not required to have completed diversity training. TAs don’t change status until the start of a new term. If you have questions about whether a TA’s previous teaching experience can count towards their senior status (for example, perhaps they taught during a master’s program at another university), contact Brian Bubenzer at Generally speaking, if the TA’s previous teaching experience was similar to TA teaching experience they would receive here, that experience would be included. Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

15 How is diversity training attendance enforced? TAs may not be reappointed more than once if they have not attended diversity training It is up to departments to determine the diversity training required (subject to OED approval), and to monitor students’ completion of this requirement TAs are still required to complete diversity training (this policy has not changed). If a TA does not go to training, they may not be reappointed more than once. For example, TA teaching in the fall may be reappointed in the spring if they do not attend diversity training; they may not be appointed for the following fall if it is still not completed. The department monitors the diversity training requirement for its TA’s. Departments may develop their own diversity training, with OED (Office of Equity and Diversity) approval. Exit: Esc Key Previous slide: Backspace Key

16 Have additional questions? L&S Administrative Gateway: Contains templates, information about TA and PA appointments, awards, and more. https://kb.wisc.edu/ls/ https://kb.wisc.edu/ls/ Graduate appointments: Brian Bubenzer, Asst Dean for Graduate Education, L&S Suggestions for future L&S Admin Trainings: Nancy Westphal-Johnson, Associate Dean, L&S


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