Communication Studies

Graduate Degree Teaching Associateship

The Department’s Teaching Associate program provides select graduate students with an opportunity to acquire experience as a college instructor and to receive economic support in the form of a stipend.

The central assignment of department Teaching Associates (TAs) is serving as the instructor of record for two sections of our basic oral communication courses. Most TAs teach 2 sections of Fundamentals of Public Speaking (COMS 151/L) each semester. TAs are expected to: Select Course Textbook & Develop Course Syllabus (in Consultation with the Basic Course Director); Develop and Deliver Course Material; Evaluate & Return Student Work; and Hold Weekly Office Hours (at least one hour per section).

The department, contingent on funding, also has Instructional Student Assistants (ISAs) who work with our award winning Forensics and Performance Ensemble programs. (TAs with an ISA assignment in either Forensics or Performance Ensemble teach only one section each semester; some students may be selected to teach a section of COMS 225, Argumentation). ISAs are expected to attend weekly meetings for their program as well as competitions/performances as discussed with their respective program coordinators.

TA training is provided to all teaching associates right before the start of the fall semester.  Training takes place over three days and includes training in pedagogy, policies, and practices.  Training is required of all TAs prior to their first year of service.  Ongoing training and support are provided through required monthly TA meetings with the Basic Course Director and feedback from teaching observations.  Additional information, guidance, and support are available from department faculty, peers, and University workshops focused on pedagogy.  The Department also offers courses directly related to communication instruction, including: COMS 680: Communication Education and COMS 437: Communication for Youth Institute. COMS 680 explores the communication dimensions of adult education and critical pedagogy while COMS 437 provides instruction and service-learning in communication education for younger students.

TAs are expected to maintain good academic standing and must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average while a teaching associate.

Associateships are awarded in the spring for the following academic year and are normally renewable for a second year, subject to students’ eligibility and satisfactory performance as a Teaching Associate. Students are eligible for a Teaching Associateship for only two years from the semester they enter the graduate program.

Department will begin reviewing TA applications on March 15th for TAs to be appointed for the following Fall semester.  Since the TA selection process can be highly competitive, applicants are strongly advised to have their applications complete prior to March 15th.  There are no TA appointments made for the Spring semester.