COEHD Graduate Assistant Policy & Procedures Manual

 

The College of Education and Human Development has hired you as a Graduate Assistant (GA). We are pleased to have you associated with the college. In case we get so busy that we forget to tell you, we appreciate the contributions you'll be making! This guide is an attempt to help GAs understand the formal and informal procedures of the University of Nevada, Reno and the college. We have probably left some things out, so if you think of items that should be included in this guide, please inform the Associate Dean. We will update this document periodically and your feedback will help us.

Supplemental Materials

 

What is a Graduate Assistant?

A Graduate Assistant (GA) is a graduate student who is hired as an employee of the college. The GA may teach a course, supervise lower-level students in internships or field experiences, and/or assist faculty with their teaching and related research. GAs are assigned to their responsibilities each semester, depending on experience and faculty or college needs. GAs are required to work 20 hours per week. In return, they receive a tuition fee waiver for a maximum of 9 graduate credits as well as a monthly stipend. For more information visit the Graduate School website.

 

How does a graduate student become a Graduate Assistant?

Applicant can apply to the departments of their choice on the College of Education and Human Development Graduate Assistantship website. Applications consist of statements of career interests, past employment, and educational experience. GAs are asked to specify areas of interest so efforts can be made to place GAs with faculty members with similar interests. GAs are asked to fill out an application every year to be eligible for re-hire. Applications are due by February 1. If openings occur mid-year, applications for these positions are due September 1.

 

Eligibility for hire

To be eligible for a GA position, students must be enrolled in at least 6 graduate level credits (12 maximum), have a 3.0 current or undergraduate GPA, and be admitted to the graduate school without provisional or probationary status. Graduate special students and students on probation are not eligible for a GA position. Individuals who will be working more than 10 hours in another job (including student internships) may be deemed ineligible. Doctoral students are given first priority for GA positions.

International Students: International students serving as Teaching Assistants must meet a minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 550 (paper version), 213 (computer version) and pass the SPEAK Test with a score of 50. (To make an appointment to take the SPEAK test, please contact IELC at 784- 6075. The cost of the test is $60). If you have taken the iBT (internet based version) of the TOFEL you must score 79/80 total and have a score of 24 on the speaking section of the test. The International Language Testing System (IELTS) score of a 7 can substitute for the TOFL. (A score of 50 on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) can be substituted for the Speak Test.)

 

Hiring process

The deadline for applications is Feb 1st for positions the following fall semester. If there are openings throughout the year, September 1st is the deadline for spring semester positions. Students applying will receive notification by March 1st for the fall semester or October 1st for the spring semester. The number of applicants selected will be based on funding and the number of positions allocated to the College of Education & Human Development. Priority will be given, in order, to continuing doctoral students, doctoral applicants, master’s students with research and/or teaching experience, and first-time licensure students. Priority will also be given to applicants who are eligible to work 10-20 hours per week and who are making satisfactory progress toward degree completion. Fall GAs will continue in the spring contingent upon an acceptable performance evaluation by their supervisor and available funding.

 

What are Graduate Assistant responsibilities?

 

Attendance and fulfillment of duties

GAs are required to work 10-20 hours per week unless fewer hours have been contracted. GAs may be asked to teach specific courses, participate in field experiences, grade assignments and exams, act as teaching assistants, or complete various types of work associated with research, teaching, or service activity. Please complete your 20 hours of GA work among the people to whom you are assigned. Example: If you are assigned to work for a professor for 10 hours and only work 8 hours, first see if you can use the other two hours for the other professor(s) you are assigned to and then check with the Program Coordinator. Besides completing tasks assigned, GAs may be expected to attend meetings and participate in various activities for the college. Attendance is expected at all functions (e.g., college fairs or new student orientations) and will be reflected on evaluations at the end of each semester. GAs are hired on 5, 10, or 12- month contracts. Typically, GAs begin work on August 1 and end work on May 31.GAs are not expected to work on University holidays. GA positions are available for fall and springsemesters only. Summer employment is not available unless it is through scholarship or grant funding.GAs are employees of the College of Education & Human Development at UNR and must adhere to all college policies and procedures, particularly confidentiality. Any information gained about individuals within your role as a GA is to remain strictly confidential (e.g., student grades, faculty evaluations). GAs are expected to meet or exceed the expectations noted in the “College of Education & Human Development: Graduate Assistant Requirements for Confidentiality and Professionalism,” in the link above.

Timesheets

Time sheets are optional, depending on your supervisor’s request. When a timesheet is completed, one copy goes to each faculty member to whom the GA is assigned, and one copy is given to the College Doctoral Committee Chair. GAs would be wise to keep a copy for themselves. Please be sure to fill time sheets out accurately and completely. If time sheets are not completed, it will be assumed that work was not done. This may be reflected in semester evaluations. When each timesheet is completed, please keep one copy for your own records, submit one copy to each faculty member for whom you worked for signature.

 

Teaching a class

Teaching a class is a half-time assignment (i.e., 10 hours per week.)

 

Emergency/Illness Leave

Graduate Assistants are required to work 20 hours per week, no more or less. The only exception is any week with a university holiday. In those cases GAs work a prorated number of hours based on an assumed 5-day workweek. In other words, each holiday weekday reduces work hours that week by 4 hours for 20-hour GAs and 2 hours for 10-hour GAs. GAs who need to take time off may work over 20 hours in advance to compensate for absences. However, this must be coordinated with and approved by the faculty member(s) to whom GAs are assigned prior to any absence. Work missed for any reason (e.g., illness or family emergency) must be made up. This includes classes, vacations, and conferences. 

 

What procedures should follow appointment as a GA?

 

Required training

  • Any new graduate assistants (TA’s) are required to attend the mandatory GRAD 701/TA Training held in August and January (Except for CHEM and ENG who have their own programs). It is held the week before school starts. The workshop will consist of representatives from the university discussing such issues as FERPA, student conduct, disability resources, policy and procedures, meeting a class for the first time, IT classroom support and Lab Safety.
  • FERPA: FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. It is a federal law that was enacted in 1974. FERPA protects the privacy of student education records. Since we are an educational institution that receives federal funding, we must comply with FERPA. For more information, please see the FERPA Access information website. Graduate assistants are required to do the FERPA Training. To access this training, please go to the Online Training Classes on WebCampus.

  • Sexual Harassment Prevention Training: NSHE requires all faculty and staff to complete training that addresses sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. The training, as stated in the NSHE Board Handbook, must be completed within 6 months after an employee is initially appointed to an affiliated institution. In addition, and at least once every two years after the appointment, an employee shall receive training concerning the prevention of sexual harassment. In October 2015, UNR launched the NSHE endorsed and used system-wide interactive and engaging one-stop-shop online training by award-winning LawRoom, which focused on sexual harassment prevention, unlawful harassment prevention, and discrimination in the workplace training for faculty and staff. The online training, for both supervisors and non-supervisors, is compliant with complex federal laws, including the Campus Save Act, VAWA, Clery Act, and Title IX. For more information, including how to register, please see Human Resources and its Sexual Harassment Prevention Training page

  • Additional training can be found on the Graduate School GA Handbook
 

Payroll information

Upon notification of hire, the college will contact GAs to complete necessary paperwork. Paperwork should be completed and submitted before the 10th of the month during which GA employment begins. If paperwork is submitted after the 10th paychecks will not be distributed until the following month.

Paychecks are available on the first working day of each month for the previous month’s work. The Board of Regents requires electronic payroll delivery via direct deposit. If you do not have a bank account, a Visa debit card will be provided. The university automatically deducts federal income tax from each paycheck issued.

 

Fee waivers

GAs pay a portion of the graduate credit fee; the balance of the credit fee is paid by a grant- in-aid. Fee waivers for courses are completed by the hiring program’s administrative assistant and are submitted for the student using an online form. If the GA has already paid tuition, a tuition reimbursement check will be provided. Fee waivers for up to 9 graduate credits are available for each semester GAs are employed.

 

Insurance and Medical Benefits

GAs are required to have health insurance coverage, and coverage will be provided as part of your full-time employment as a GA as long as you are enrolled in at least 6 credits. If you already have health insurance coverage, you must submit an insurance waiver to deny coverage. You can find out more about health insurance coverage and fee waivers at the Graduate School website.

 

Mileage compensation

GAs are not provided mileage compensation for their work-related travel unless specified in a grant or special project. GAs should document their work-related travel for possible income tax deduction.

 

How are GA appointments maintained?

Evaluations

At the end of each semester, GAs and faculty will be asked to complete evaluations. The forms are located atthe end of this manual. GAs will have an opportunity to evaluate each faculty member to whom they were assigned. The faculty members will have the same opportunity to evaluate the GAs. Evaluations will be taken into consideration for rehire and termination. Fall GAs will continue in the spring if they receive acceptable performance evaluations and funding is available.

Termination procedures

GA’s serve at-will, and can be terminated at any time.

Grievances

If a GA has concerns about any matters related to working for individual faculty members, the GA may present a case to the College Doctoral Committee or the Doctoral Program Director. Concerns about sexual harassment, discrimination, and inappropriate behavior may also be brought to the Affirmative Action Office on campus. These issues may also be taken to off-campus organizations, including the Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

 

General Information

 

Office Space, Equipment, and Supplies

Office supplies are available through the program office associated with your duties. These supplies may not be used for personal or academic work. If supplies for particular items are running low or special items are needed, notify the office manager immediately so orders may be placed for new supplies.

All GAs will be assigned a desk and will have access to a computer. Keys for access to spaces where GA duties are performed will be issued at the beginning of the year. Access to the building after hours may be arranged through the program office manager.

From a campus phone, you can contact another on-campus number by dialing the last five digits of the number (do not dial “9” for an outside line). Local calls can be made from on-campus phones by dialing “9.” Long distance calls cannot be made without a personally assigned access number. If your GA work requires you to make long distance calls, get approval through the faculty member you are working for.

GAs will not be given their own personal copy codes. When making copies, please use the copy code of your supervisor. In addition, GAs may not use program or college equipment and supplies for printing that is not related to GA duties.

 

Intra-Campus/Inter-School Mail

Outgoing mailboxes are located in the various program office areas. Intra-campus mail should have the mail stop number clearly marked on it. Mail going to Washoe County schools should have the person's name, the school or department, and WCSD/190 circled in red on the envelope. Mail can be sent to the University of Nevada, Reno from WCSD in the same manner. The mail stop for each program is different, so check with the office manager. U.S. mail must have the proper postage or be sent in a program or college envelope with a typed address.

 

Learning and Resource Center (LRC)

The Learning and Resource Center is located on the first floor of the College of Education & Human Development. Students and staff can check out books, instructional materials, audio/visual equipment, and other resources from the LRC.

Instructors may also put items on reserve for their students. The LRC has a number of computers for conducting searches of the LRC’s materials and for previewing selected educational software. The LRC includes a design lab with resources for digital video editing, transfer of digital video to different media, and design stations for multimedia computer projects. Their graphics room provides access to equipment for laminating, binding, lettering, spray mounting, color copies, and other graphics resources. Use of the equipment is free for students but students must pay for materials. The LRC may also be used for conferences with students if a program-area conference room is not available.