All students (with some possible exceptions, see below) in the Graduate Program will teach as part of their graduate education. The minimum requirement is two semesters of graduate teaching OR one semester of teaching and one approved professional development experience. The student's advisory committee and the graduate coordinator must approve any professional development experiences used to meet this requirement. Prefessional Development activities submitted for a TA exemption are expected to be equal in time and effort to a TA-ship.
Teaching in MIBO or BIOL graduate or undergraduate courses will meet the requirement, but other courses should be checked with the Graduate Coordinator for approval. Maintaining laboratory cultures or handling AV technology for distance learning courses will not constitute “teaching” for this requirement. Students with fellowships that preclude receiving teaching assistantships may still fulfill this requirement through appropriate classroom activities equivalent to those of teaching assistants, with approval from the Graduate Coordinator.
Choosing when to teach
It is useful to consider teaching options early in the graduate program. Grad students are expected to discuss with their major advisors the time frame in which the teaching requirement will be met. Various factors will affect the decision of when to teach, including the timing of university fellowships, faculty research grants and specific constraints of research and coursework. The availability of TA positions will also affect assignments.
Required courses and meetings associated with teaching assistantships
GRSC7770 is designed to facilitate graduate student interactions with other students, primarily undergraduates. All students are required to take GRSC7770 in preparation for the teaching requirement. This course is only offered from the Microbiology department in fall semester, and it is recommended that the class be taken before students are TAs. Most students should take GRSC7770 in the first year of the graduate program.
Teaching laboratory meetings (distinct from GRSC770) will be required for graduate students teaching most lab classes. These meetings will be used to prepare for teaching specific courses. These meetings are part of the teaching assignment, and should be attended unless arrangements are made with the instructor. This requirement is necessary for quality control of the laboratories and for trouble-shooting and training incoming TAs.
The University holds an annual fall orientation for graduate TAs and lab assistants prior to the start of classes. This orientation is required for all new graduate teaching and lab assistants who will have instructional responsibilities during the academic year. Our department expects compliance with this regulation.
Some teaching assistants will be working for the Biology program rather than the Microbiology department. All Bio-TAs must meet requirements for safety training and meetings specified by the Biology Office.
Teaching Exemption (Other than Professional Development)
In rare and justified cases, exemptions to this requirement may be granted. Reasons for such an exemption include but are not limited to a student who has previously taught as a graduate student or a student who has requirements in their graduate studies above and beyond typical program requirements (e.g. MD/PhD). Poor English skills or sufficient grant support will generally not be considered reasons for an exemption.
Petitions to be relieved of teaching requirements should be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator, who will confer with the GAC. Petitions from current students must be endorsed by their major professor. A petition based on previous teaching should include a list of courses taught, credit hours, duties, credit hours (if any) earned by the student for teaching, and contact information for at least one faculty course supervisor. Petitions for other reasons should likewise include pertinent information. Ideally, petitions should be submitted prior to matriculation or early in the student’s program of study.
An exemption was instituted by GAC recommendation and faculty approval by email vote in June 2004. It was amended with altered wording at a faculty meeting 8/7/2013.