Teaching Associates & Graduate Assistants

Selected graduate students work for the Department of TV, Radio, Film and Theatre as Graduate Assistants or Teaching Associates.

GAs: Graduate Assistants help professors who are teaching large classes or classes requiring special assistance. Their duties may include grading papers, helping design lessons, teaching an occasional class or portion of a class, and holding conferences with students. Some GAs help professors with scholarly research or administrative tasks. See below for a description of workload expectations and benefits.

TAs: Teaching Associates are faculty instructors as well as students. They are responsible for all elements of the course section, from syllabus design to final grades, with support and guidance from senior faculty who will hold meetings and individual conferences, visit TA classes, review syllabi, and advise TAs throughout the year. All TA classes are also formally evaluated by students, using the University’s standard forms. See below for a description of workload expectations and benefits.

Application & Deadlines

DUE DATE: Applications are usually due around April 1, followed by interviews with the MA Advisor and the TA Coordinator. Check the most recent GA and TA positions are awarded on the basis of students’ academic records, relevant prior experience in teaching or tutoring, written applications, resumés, letter of recommendation, and classroom performance. Graduate students often work as GAs before being awarded a TA position. Most GA positions are in large enrollment General Education Courses. TA positions are mostly in TA005 (Beginning Acting), TA010 (Theatre Appreciation), and in other lower division courses in Theatre and Radio, TV, Film.

To apply for one of these positions:

Write a letter of application describing your goals and your experience, listing the graduate courses you have taken and the grades received, and naming the faculty member who is recommending you. You may write a single letter of application to cover GA and TA positions.

Have a faculty member write a letter of recommendation for you. The letter of recommendation should be sent directly to the Graduate Coordinator.

Benefits, Salary, Workload, Fee Reimbursements & Employee Parking Permits

Working as a GA or TA enhances your professional development. Graduate students who intend to pursue a career in teaching, particularly at the college level, will gain valuable experience collaborating with professors and trying their own hand at such activities as leading discussions, grading student work, and doing research. Applicants to doctoral programs are more attractive when their MA study includes teaching or GA experience.

Graduate Assistants are paid for five hours of work per week during the semester. Although this can vary, it should never average more than 10 hours per week. GAs receive five monthly payroll checks. The current monthly rate is approx. $220.

Teaching Associates receive six monthly checks per semester taught (approx $2,200 for one course) and will receive fee reimbursement during the semester(s) in which they teach. The fee reimbursement or “waiver” covers mandatory campus miscellaneous fees and mandatory state university fees at the California-resident tuition level. Those teaching one course will have fees reimbursed at the “graduate 1.0 to 6.0 units” rate; those teaching two courses will have fees waived at the “graduate 6.1 or more units” rate. TA fee waiver is a reimbursement, not a direct payment, and that the student must enroll and pay their fees first before they can get their reimbursement.Note that for new employees in Fall, the first payment arrives in November.For new spring hires, the first check comes in March. Fee Waiver Application (.pdf).

The TRFT department’s Office Administrator, Mari Aranoff, oversees all appointment and fee waiver paperwork, office assignments, and other administrative matters. TAs get a department mailbox and a shared office with a shared phone, desk, and computer. They also receive new student identification cards indicating their TA status.

TAs may purchase a faculty parking permit (see Employee Parking.) Faculty parking is almost always available at the top of the 7th St. garage.

Requirements & Cautions

TAs may take no more than 6 units of classes per semester, and there is a four-semester limit for TA positions. Although the department tries to accommodate TA preferences, re-appointment after the initial semester is not guaranteed.

GAs and TAs do challenging work, sometimes with long hours. It can be difficult to handle the dual roles of graduate student and part-time instructor, especially for students with other time-consuming commitments. TA duties include preparing lessons plans, teaching classes, holding at least one office hour per section taught, attending meetings, and responding to at least 3,000 words of writing from each General Education student.

With only very rare exceptions, students are required to successfully complete TA200 (Research Methods) before assignment to TA or GA positions.

ALL NEWLY HIRED GAs AND TAs MUST REGISTER AT SJSU HUMAN RESOURCES BEFORE THE START OF THE SEMESTER.