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Biology Graduate Program Teaching Assistantships

Selection Committee

The chair and members of the Graduate Assistantship Selection Committee serve as the selection committee for awarding teaching assistantships.


When positions are available, application materials will be solicited twice each year: March 15 for fall assistantships and Oct. 15 for spring assistantships. To be eligible for consideration, an applicant must have completed 18 hours of graduate course work (biology and secondary specialization).

Applicants must submit:

To be considered by the committee, all application materials must be submitted to the committee chair by the above dates. The department head and the chairperson of the committee will decide if the application period needs to be reopened. This decision will be based on the number and quality of the applications received.

Evaluation Procedure for Teaching Assistantships

Each applicant will be evaluated on these criteria:

Relevant Experience and Background

An applicant with experience and appropriate background (i.e., took the course and made an A or B as an undergraduate and/or served as a graduate assistant for the course) will receive the highest ranking.

Fewer points are credited to those applicants who have not been directly involved with the course, but who have demonstrated the ability to teach the material (i.e. excellent grades in related courses, experience in giving presentations). No points will be awarded to those applicants having no related background or experience.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation must address the applicant’s interest in teaching and his/her ability to teach.

Teaching Potential

This portion of the evaluation is the most difficult to define and evaluate, but is also the most important. Based on letters of recommendation and the overall impression of the applicant, committee members must address the applicant’s ability to teach.

These types of questions will need to be answered:

Each committee member will independently score applicants in each of the four areas. Then, the sums from each committee member will be tallied for each applicant. These scores will be used to rank the applicants by position and these rankings will be used to award assistantships.

It is also the committee’s responsibility to determine the acceptability of applicants. This responsibility begins with the top-ranking candidate and continues for each listed candidate.

The committee has the choice of sending one of several recommendations to the department head:

Term of Employment

Teaching assistants are employed for a nine-month period (fall and spring semesters). Student evaluations are required for each semester of employment. There is no guarantee of summer employment or second-year employment.

Normally, teaching assistants will not be employed past the first year. However, if students have not completed graduation requirements, have performed their teaching duties to the satisfaction of the department and the department has need of their teaching abilities, they may be employed as teaching assistants for an additional semester or year.

The department head and chairperson of the selection committee will make the decision whether to extend employment.