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TA Policies and Procedures

Please carefully read the following information as it has important information that pertains to your appointment. It is recommended you print this information for future reference.

Teaching Assistant/Associate

It is your responsibility as a Teaching Assistant/Associate (TA) to consult with your TA supervisor to ensure you understand your TA appointment expectations throughout the appointment. Accepting this commitment will require you to schedule coursework, teaching duties, and research hours accordingly.

Should duties or expectations change during the course of the appointment, you and your supervisor should have these expectations in writing and on file with the appropriate person(s) in your department and/or college. Additionally, TAs agree not to hold any outside teaching or consultant positions without prior consultation and agreement between the department and the TA to ensure no conflicts of interest.

You must be fully qualified to be a teaching assistant by the first day of classes, and that includes certification in English language abilities if English is not your primary language. See the text below on the SPEAK Test requirements.

Teaching Assistant Development (TAD) Program

To assist you with your transition into your role as a TA, and to provide you with helpful professional resources, all first-time ASU TAs are required to complete the Graduate College Teaching Assistant Development (TAD) Program. This includes an in-person orientation at the beginning of the semester, one week before classes begin, as well as online presentations and exercises in the TAD course. Some of these online activities should be completed before TA orientation, and more information will be sent to you after you accept your appointment.

Please note that the first pay period of the semester includes the hours you spend at the TA orientation session. Please also be aware that failure to comply with orientation requirements may jeopardize eligibility for graduate appointments as well as Graduate College awards programs (e.g., travel grants, research awards and the assistantship).

Language Proficiency for International Teaching Assistants (ITAs)

Students whose primary language is not English must meet spoken English requirements as outlined by the Academic Affairs Manual (ACD 517-03) policy before they can perform any primary teaching responsibilities. https://www.asu.edu/aad/manuals/acd/acd517-03.html

Arizona State University requires all teaching assistants/associates whose primary language is not English to be certified in their English language abilities. Appointments are contingent upon meeting one of the following requirements:

  1. Take and pass the SPEAK test with a score of 55 or higher. The SPEAK test is administered on ASU’s Tempe campus by Global Launch at least 24 times a year. Only SPEAK scores from Global Launch are allowed.

  2. Take the iBT (Internet-based TOEFL) test and receive a score of 26 or higher on the oral portion of the test.

  3. Take the IELTS test and receive a score of 8 or higher on the speaking portion of the test.

  4. Successfully complete the ITA Teacher Training Course with a score of "certified."

Important Information regarding your appointment

Work Limits

The primary purpose of an appointment is to assist the student in successfully completing an academic program; therefore, students holding appointments as Teaching and/or Research Assistants/Associates (TA/RAs) may not work more than 50% FTE (20 hours per week) during the Fall and Spring semesters in all positions combined. TA/RAs may work up to 100% FTE (40 hours per week) during semester breaks and Summer semester appointments. However, TA/RAs may not average more than 62.5% FTE (25 hours per week) during the year, as measured by the Affordable Care Act (October through September). Graduate students will be terminated from their appointment if they exceed this limit and will not be eligible for reappointment for 26 weeks.

Intellectual Property Policies

Data, including but not limited to lab notes, results of analyses, research notes, research data reports, and research notebooks, comprise a category of intellectual property covered by The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) policy 6–908 (select Chapter 6, item 6–908), and the ownership of intellectual property is determined by that policy. ASU maintains ownership of research data pursuant to ABOR policy 6–908 and maintains ownership of materials under this policy. Certain types of materials may be licensed by ASU in a fashion similar to intellectual property or as part of an intellectual property licensing transaction. For purposes of this policy, materials are included in the definition of intellectual property and are subject to the provisions of that policy. ABOR policy 6–908 provides universities the discretion to retain ownership in intellectual property, to enter into agreements with industry sponsors to grant exclusive or nonexclusive licenses, or, when appropriate, to assign title to intellectual property.

Policies

There are several specific policies referenced in the TA/RA Handbook, with which you should familiarize yourself and ensure you have a clear understanding.

The TA/RA Handbook provides an overview of ASU policies and further information about your rights and responsibilities as a TA. It is important that you understand all of the information in the handbook, so please review it as soon as possible and contact gradinfo@asu.edu if you have any questions. It is recommended that you print a copy of the handbook for your reference.

While many of the general policies and expectations also apply to graduate service assistants (GSA) and graduate interns, GSAs and interns are not bound by the same eligibility requirements as TAs and RAs and do not receive the same benefits as TA­s and RAs (e.g., tuition remission).

The handbook describes the general roles and responsibilities of TAs and RAs as well as policies regarding their supervision and evaluation. The appointing unit is responsible for notifying each student of additional expectations.

Program Handbook

Your graduate program should provide you a Program Handbook that provides an overview of policies and further information about your rights and responsibilities specific to your program. It is important that you understand all of the information in the handbook, so please review it as soon as possible and contact the graduate support coordinator in your program if you have any questions. Please contact your academic unit to get a link to the handbook.

Credit Hour and GPA Requirement

To remain qualified for this appointment, you must be enrolled in a minimum of six (or more if the unit requires it) non-audit credit hours each during Fall and Spring semester appointments and one credit hour for Summer semester appointments.

Note that if you drop below these minimums, you will no longer be eligible for a TA or RA appointment. Your tuition waiver and health insurance premium waiver will be inactivated and you will be billed for the full tuition and health insurance amounts.

In addition, you must maintain a 3.0 GPA (or higher if determined by your academic unit) during your appointment.

Continued Eligibility

Keep in mind that your appointment is conditional based on remaining in good academic standing. [Examples of other details which can be included: have submitted complete materials as part of the annual review process, have strong TA evaluations from students and their supervisor, and must be on track and making good progress towards degree completion].

Your unit also has the right to rescind, modify, or terminate their offer at any time due to unsatisfactory work performance as defined by ASU, the academic unit, or the Graduate College.

If your appointment is terminated for any of these reasons, your tuition waiver, health insurance premium coverage, and the remainder of your stipend will be canceled. If you are unable to continue the appointment for other reasons before the ninth week of the semester, you will also lose your tuition waiver, insurance premium coverage, and remaining stipend.

If you choose not to enroll in a degree program, change your program, or withdraw at any point in time, your appointment becomes null and void. Funding is typically revoked for students that are placed on probation. Funding beyond your appointment letter is not guaranteed and it is expected that students in the graduate program seek additional opportunities for funding. Additionally, TA stipend rates may vary from year to year, but the rate in your award letter stands regardless of any changes.

Appointment Details

Your appointment letter should include details about to whom you will report and how to contact them. In addition, it should provide, at minimum, tentative assignment details including course name and number.

No later than one week prior to the start of the appointment, your unit will provide you with the specific duties, responsibilities, and nature of the assignment.

Your appointment letter may include other applicable items, such as schedule expectations about the number of hours spent on duties/projects during the week, weekends and holiday breaks, along with policies regarding absences. If this information is not included in your appointment letter, it is your responsibility to contact your unit.

Training and Orientations

Before undertaking your responsibilities, you are required to complete the following training modules:

Please plan to attend your unit's orientation (specific details should be provided in your appointment letter). In addition, there may be additional required orientations that students should plan to attend.  

Confidentiality of Student Information

As a TA, you may have direct or indirect access to confidential records and sensitive information. You must agree not to use any information from any of these records for any purpose other than those expressly set forth by your supervisor. Understand that if you improperly disclose or use information, your TA/RA appointment will immediately terminate.

In addition, you may be subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct. Sanctions under the Code may include suspension or expulsion from the university. Policies referenced can be found online at http://www.asu.edu/aad/manuals/ssm/index.html.

Changes to Appointment Status and Additional Employment

It’s critical that you notify administrators if you need to terminate your position at any time. If you are offered and would like to accept additional employment opportunities at Arizona State University, it must not exceed the combined total FTE, 62.5%, for all jobs, and you must receive approval (prior to accepting a second job offer) from your advisor (or committee chair), the Director of your unit, and from the Graduate College during this TA appointment.

The TA/RA Handbook and The Affordable Care Act (ACA) TA/RA guidelines contain details about workload.