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2017-2018 Undergraduate Bulletin

University-Wide Standards for Undergraduate Teaching Assistants

at Florida State University

These are University-wide standards that any undergraduate student must meet prior to assuming one of the various instructional roles. These are meant to be University-wide minimum standards; departments may adopt additional or more stringent standards. Programs which do not use undergraduate students in instructional roles would not be affected by these standards. They are meant to cover the formal use of undergraduate teaching assistants, whether paid or working in a credit-earning capacity, in course instruction.

As a general rule, undergraduate teaching assistants should not engage in grading the work of their peers when grading requires subjectivity. The companion policy, University-wide Standards for Graduate Teaching Assistants at Florida State University, details the policies that apply to the use of graduate students as teaching assistants.

General

Administrative responsibility for the teaching assignment rests within the department or program in which the student is employed as an undergraduate teaching assistant (UgTA). Each department is responsible for providing orientation, training, supervision, and evaluation of its UgTAs, and for assigning a faculty member to work closely with the individual undergraduate student to assist him or her in carrying out teaching responsibilities and to facilitate professional development. There should be a departmental orientation for UgTAs prior to beginning their teaching responsibilities. Departments must also ensure that all UgTAs receive training about sexual harassment, FERPA, the Academic Honor Policy, and how to identify and handle situations of potential conflicts of interest.

It is recommended that each program have a discipline-specific teaching manual for its undergraduate teaching assistants to supplement the University teaching manual, Instruction at FSU, which can be viewed online at http://distance.fsu.edu/instructors/instruction-fsu-guide-teaching-learning-practices.

Undergraduate Assistantship Job Code

To monitor compliance with University policies and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements, it is imperative that the proper appointment classifications be used for undergraduate teaching assistants. It is the responsibility of departments that employ undergraduate teaching assistants to establish the appropriate job code according to teaching responsibility. The Human Resources Office (HR) will verify the requirements for each classification and is the office to contact if there are any questions. Job codes can be accessed at http://hr.fsu.edu/PDF/Forms/compensation/OPS_Job_Codes.pdf.

Note: HR advises that undergraduate teaching assistants be appointed in an A003 (Teaching Assistant), A004 (Research Assistant), A005 (Laboratory Assistant) or an A022 (Instruction/Teaching) job code, to be determined at the department level based on their job duties. A003, A004, and A005 are hourly appointments and should be used for those assisting instructors, researchers, or in a laboratory.

Minimum Requirements for Different Levels of Instruction (provided face-to-face or online)

All UgTAs must:

  1. attend training on Sexual Harassment, the Academic Honor Policy and the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA);
  2. receive supervision by the instructor of record and by the administrator in charge of departmental and/or program curriculum;
  3. participate in planned and periodic evaluations of the teaching assistant; and
  4. demonstrate successful completion of the course or equivalent.

In addition:

  1. Grading Assistant
    • must follow program specific guidelines for grading
    • must be an undergraduate majoring in the discipline or related field
  2. Proctor for Computerized Exams and Laboratories
    • must follow program specific instruction on proctoring exams and laboratories
    • must be an undergraduate majoring in the discipline or related field
  3. Lab Section Assistant
    • must follow program specific instruction in laboratory demonstration
    • must be an undergraduate majoring in the discipline or related field
  4. Recitation/Discussion Section Assistant
    • must be an undergraduate majoring in the discipline or related field
  5. Class Tutor
    • must demonstrate successful completion of the course or equivalent

Sexual Harassment, Academic Honor Policy, and FERPA policies and equivalency

University policy on sexual harassment training is provided by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance (EOC) within Human Resources (http://www.hr.fsu.edu), the Academic Honor Policy training is offered by the Office of the Vice President of Faculty Development and Advancement (http://fda.fsu.edu/) and the FERPA training is offered by the Office of the University Registrar (http://registrar.fsu.edu/).

Certification of Spoken English for Undergraduate Teaching Assistants

Departments who choose to employ international undergraduate students who are not native speakers of English as UgTAs must certify the student's ability to communicate in spoken English using either the SPEAK exam or the speaking portion of the IBTOEFL. A score of 50 or higher on the SPEAK test, or 26 or higher on the speaking portion of the IBTOEFL, certifies a student to teach at any level. A score of 45 on SPEAK, or 23 to 24 on the Speaking section of TOEFL iBT, certifies a student to teach at levels 1 and 2. The Center for Intensive English Studies (CIES) offers courses in Spoken English (EAP courses). CIES also administers and scores the SPEAK test. For more information, please see http://www.cies.fsu.edu. Departments must send documentation regarding those UgTAs it has certified in English competency to the Office of the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement.