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TA Appointment Process

Overview

The EE department employs approximately 30 students each quarter as Teaching Assistants (TAs) for classes as well as, occasionally, special course-related projects (e.g., new lab development).

Graduate students in EE serve as the primary source for our pool of TAs. Only in rare circumstances do we employ graduate students from other departments as TAs for EE classes. Such circumstances would include courses that have specific knowledge needs for which only specific students are qualified and/or available. We will consider undergraduate EE students for TA positions only when we have fully exhausted our pool of available graduate students.

Determining TA Needs for Courses

Available TA Candidate Pool

The pool of available TA candidates each quarter is composed of two separate sources. The first pool of candidates includes those students who, upon admission to the EE graduate program, were guaranteed TA funding for a certain period of time. The second pool of candidates includes those students without guarantees of TA funding who wish to be considered for TA positions for that given quarter. Students in this pool have submitted formal applications during an announced application period.

Priorities for TA Selection/Assignment

Priorities for placing TAs from the two pools described above in specific courses are based on the following order:

  1. EE students who have either 1-year or 3-year guarantees of funding
  2. EE students who have been requested by a particular course instructor
  3. EE students who have previously served as instructors for courses
  4. EE students with previous TA experience who are in good academic standing and who also have specific skill sets and experience for lab classes (we strive to have at least 1 TA in each lab class who has previous experience with that course – either as a student or as a previous TA).
  5. EE PhD students who are interested in academic positions and who do not have previous TA experience
  6. EE students with previous TA experience who are in good academic standing and taught well in the past
  7. EE PhD students in good academic standing
  8. EE MS students in good academic standing
  9. Non-EE students

Lead TA Program and Selection

In addition to TAs for specific courses, the EE department employs a Lead TA each year. This person serves as a mentor and adviser to new TAs and as a source of technical assistance to all TAs, course instructors, etc. The Lead TA organizes and teaches an autumn quarter seminar for all new TAs, holds office hours, visits classrooms and labs, coordinates workshops on specific topics for interested (new and continuing) TAs, and consults with TAs as necessary. This person may also spend some part of his/her time in actual TA duties associated with a specific class if the need arises.

The Lead TA is selected every spring quarter for the following academic year. There is a separate application process announced to all graduate students. Finalists are selected and interviewed by a committee consisting of the Associate Chair for Education and his/her designees. Competitive candidates will be those graduate students with prior experience as a TA, strong student and faculty feedback/ratings, and who have a stated interest in assisting the department in the development of a strong TA program.

April 2006
EE Curriculum Committee

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