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Graduate Assistantship

Department Information

When offering an assistantship it is important that the student understands it is only an offer and that the College of Graduate Studies (COGS) is the final approval authority. An assistantship is not valid until the College of Graduate Studies has approved it. Departments are encouraged to develop supplemental procedures for administration of those assistantships allocated to them. Areas which may be addressed in these procedures include, but are not limited to:

- Establishing deadlines for submission of applications.

- Establishing the date for offer notification.

- Criteria for assessment of applications.

- Graduate Assistant job responsibilities.

Steps for Hiring a Graduate Assistant

The following links provide you with guidance on hiring and paying your graduate assistant:

Steps for Hiring a Graduate Assistant Steps for Hiring a G.A.
Graduate Assistant Start and End Dates G.A. Start and End Dates per Semester
Graduate Assistant PAF Flowchart Processing GA PAF Flowchart

Graduate Assistantship: Offer Letters

Graduate Assistantship Offer Letter The signed offer letter must be attached to the DocuSign PAF.  It is important that the start and stop dates in the offer letter match the PAF.  If the dates do not match, the PAF will be returned to the department for correction.

*All Graduate Assistantship offer letters for international students must be sent to the International Student Affairs Office (Andrew Bleignier) when issuing the offer to the student and then again upon acceptance, for the completion of the I-20.

Graduate Assistant PAF (Personnel Action Form)

The GA PAF is processed online with digital signatures using the DocuSign system.  Before initiating the DocuSign PAF, the following information should be available for input into the system:  student information including T#, address, birth date, email, first semester enrolled at Tennessee Tech as a graduate student, current program code, FOPAL string, signed and scanned offer letter, number of hours registered, citizenship, and visa status.

The GA PAF and directions for completing the PAF are found at the Human Resources website: HR Forms Page

Deadlines For Approval of the Graduate Assistantship
PAF'S:  All Graduate Assistantship PAF's along with the original offer letter are to be submitted via DOCUSIGN to the College of Graduate Studies by the following deadlines each semester:

Fall:  July 27th
Spring:  November 23rd 
Summer:  April 27th 

PAF Start and End Dates For This Year:

SUMMER 2020:

GTA, Both sessions:  Start 5/26/2020 End 8/7/2020
GTA, 1ST SUMMER SESSION: Start  5/26/2020   End 7/3/2020
GTA, 2ND SUMMER SESSION: Start 6/29/2020  End 8/7/2020

GSA, Both sessions:  Start 6/1/2020  End 8/4/2020
GSA, 1st Summer session: Start 6/1/2020 End 7/1/2020
GSA, 2nd Summer session: Start 7/6/2020 End 8/4/2020

GRA, Start and end at any time during the month

Fall 2020 - Spring 2021:

GRA: Start and end at any time during the month

GTA, Both semesters:  Start 8/17/20, End 5/7/2021
GTA, Fall Only: Start 8/17/20, End 12/11/20
GTA, Spring only: Start 1/12/2021, End 5/7/2021

GSA, Both semesters:  Start 8/24/20, End 4/30/2021
GSA, Fall only:  Start 8/24/20, End 12/4/20
GSA, Spring only:  Start 1/19/21, End 4/30/2021

Maintaining Graduate Assistant Files

All graduate assistant worker file records are subject to audit by: Immigration and Naturalization Services, The Department of Labor, The State Comptroller of the Treasury, Open Records Act, and Tennessee Tech Internal Audit.

The hiring department is required to keep a file (online or paper) for each graduate assistant employed by that department.  Each graduate assistant worker file must contain: Graduate assistantship application, copy of graduate assistantship offer letter(s), copy of Personnel Action Form(s), copy of valid I-9 card, all training material including dates of completion of Title VI and Title IX online training courses, GTA Academic Preparation Certification Form (when applicable), work performance evaluation for each semester of employment, and all re-appointment offer letters. Below you will find links to the documents you will need for the GA file.

Graduate Assistant Teaching Associate Academic Preparation Certification Form

*Only used when hiring a Teaching Associate

Graduate Assistant Training

Graduate Assistant: Evaluation Forms

Evaluation is a very important part of the Graduate Assistantship experience. The evaluation should be an ongoing process of communication between the Graduate Assistant and the supervisor. A formal evaluation should be performed each semester and the results maintained in the departments Graduate Assistant worker file.

Graduate Support or Research Assistant Evaluation GA Support and Research Evaluation
Graduate Teaching Evaluation GA Teaching Evaluation

Research Graduate Assistant: Intellectual Property Policy

Graduate Research Assistants need to have a complete understanding of Tennessee Tech's Intellectual Property policies and how it may impact them. Advise all Research Assistants to visit the Tennessee Tech Intellectual Property website and the TBR Intellectual Property website.

Preamble

Both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools (TCGS) maintain the position that the goal of the graduate assistantship should be to enhance the ability of the student to complete his or her graduate degree. Enhancement of the ability to complete the degree should not be interpreted such that the financial support provided by the graduate assistantship is the only part of the graduate assistantship that helps the student to achieve the goal of completing the graduate degree. 

Programs of graduate study are designed to transform the individual from student to (knowledgeable practitioner or) professional scholar. When a graduate assistantship is well conceived and executed, it should serve as an ideal instrument to help facilitate the desired transformation. The primary goal of an assistantship, then, is to facilitate progress toward the graduate degree. Rather than interfere or conflict with the student’s educational objective, the assistantship is to aid in the prompt and successful completion of the degree program. While the student assistant makes progress toward an advanced degree, he or she also receives work experience in a profession under the supervision of a faculty mentor. The graduate assistant is both student and employee. As a student, the graduate assistant must perform well academically to retain the assistantship. A graduate assistant will receive counseling and performance evaluation regularly by a faculty mentor to develop his/her professional skills. As an employee, the graduate assistant must to meet teaching, research, and/or administrative obligations. He or she is to work under the supervision of experienced faculty and receive in-service training. In sum, the graduate assistant receives financial support for graduate study by contributing to the teaching and/or research mission of the university. The totality of responsibility may be greater than that required of other students or staff members, but the opportunities for professional development also are greater for the graduate assistant.

- Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools (C.W. Minkel & Mary P. Richards, 1987, A Model Policy for Graduate Assistantships Administration)

Accepting/Declining an Assistantship

Tennessee Tech adheres to the following for full-year assistantships: Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants Acceptance of an offer of financial support (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. In that context, the conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties. Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution. In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15, and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institution and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.

-National Council of Graduate Schools

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