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 9-month stipend.

The central assignment of department Teaching Associates is serving as the instructor of record for two sections of our basic oral communication courses. These courses include: COMS 151/L (Fundamentals of Public Speaking) and COMS 225/L (Argumentation).  Teaching Associates also provide departmental service in one of several co-curricular areas of the department.  These areas include:

  • The CSUN Forensics program, where TAs coach competitive debate and individual events and assist in administrative tasks.
  • The Aronstam Departmental Library, where TAs contribute to the operation of the library and the maintenance of the collection.
  • The CSUN Performance Ensemble Program, where TAs help coordinate and promote performance events.
  • Department Service Learning Programs, where students provide administrative support to faculty supervising service learning projects.
  • Technological Support, where students help maintain department webpages and other department information systems.

Departmental Service Assignments require an average of approximately five hours per week during the semester.

TA training is provided to all teaching associates right before the start of the fall semester.  Training takes place over several 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 monthly TA meetings, 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. The Department recognizes excellence in graduate student teaching and academics through a number of scholarships and awards available including the International Communication Association Outstanding Teaching Associate Award and TA fee remission. Funds to support student travel to academic conferences may be available.

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.

The stipend (for a nine-month period) ranges from approximately $13,992 to $16,112, depending
upon residential status and the type of service provided to the department.

The 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.