Expectations for Graduate Research and Teaching Assistants
Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) may receive a stipend and/or credit waiver for fulfillment of a certain number of hours assisting with research. Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) may receive a stipend and/or credit waiver for fulfillment of a certain number of hours spent assisting faculty in the preparation and teaching of courses. GRAs and GTAs have different roles, as their name suggests, however sometimes these roles overlap within a department.
Both GRAs and GTAs should have a formal contract through the department that stipulates their full-time equivalent (FTE) status, and their expected weekly hours of work. An FTE of .25 indicates an expected 10 hours of work per week, while an FTE of .50 indicates an expected 20 hours of work per week.
Graduate faculty should be careful to respect the FTE appointments of their graduate students and be sensitive to the imbalance of power inherent in the advisor-advisee relationship. The employment time of GRAs and GTAs should be spent on work for the department or institution, not personal work for graduate faculty (e.g., grocery shopping, mowing lawns, babysitting).
Depending on the department or the graduate student's role, various training sessions or online modules may be required. These could include training in the following areas: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Institutional Review Board (IRB), Discrimination Prevention and Title IX, Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR), International GTA Certification, and others, including discipline-specific expectations. Consult with your department and with the School of Graduate Studies to ensure these training requirements are met.