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The upper-division curriculum group has agreed on the following policy for TA and grader responsibilities.
We teach two Paradigms per quarter, and each Paradigm has one TA. TAs may be hired as either full-time ("1.0TA" or 0.40 FTE) or half-time ("0.5TA" or 0.20). The full-time TA has duties that average out to 16 hours/week over the quarter, while a half-time TA has duties that average out to 8 hours/week over the quarter. See below for a description of how the hourly expectations break down for each course role.
We expect graduate students to be assigned as Paradigms TAs and graders. While it is possible for these jobs to be handled by undergraduate students, it is rare that an undergraduate student will develop a sufficiently deep level of understanding to either TA or grade homework at the level we expect. Note that we do have Learning Assistants (when the class size is large) who assists in class and attends prep meetings with the professor, but their job is not described in this document.
A full-time TA is expected to work for 16 hours/week on average, over 11 weeks. They are also expected to work for one week before and after the eleven weeks of instruction + finals, but those hours of work cannot be shifted into the term, and are something of a mystery. Each TA is expected to spend 2 hours proctoring a final exam (we have two final exams, and two TAs, so each TA proctors one final). Typically the professor will also proctor, so that there can be a "quiet room." This leaves a full-time TA with 14 hours that are not spent working during finals week, and a half-time TA with 6 hours not spent working during finals week. These hours are distributed over the weeks of instruction. There is also a maximum of 24 hours that a student can be asked to work in any one week.
A significant contribution to any TA assignment is prep time. This typically involves the TA reading over the course material and solving problems on their own to ensure that they are ready to help students. This prep time needs to be self-directed, as each TA will need to shore up their own weaknesses and aspects of the course with which they are unfamilar. Meetings with the professor can reduce the prep time required by a TA, provided the meeting involves discussing course content, how problems are solved, etc. One can hope that time spent with a professor is more efficient than self-directed prep time, hence if TAs spend less time meeting with a professor, we must assume that the TA will need to spend correspondingly more time on their own familiarizing themselves with the material.
A half-time TA only works during the 5 weeks of their course.
|Duty for 5 "on" weeks||Hours/week|
|Time spent in class||7|
|Meetings with prof (or more prep)||5|
|Prep for class||2.2|
The duties of the half-time TA total 17.2 hours/week for 5 weeks, which when 2 hours of proctoring are added in reaches the total allowed hours for the quarter.
The duties of a full-time TA are a superset of the duties of the half-time TA. The full-time TA works during both halves of the quarter. Their additional duties consist of grading one problem set per week for all ten weeks as well as meeting with the professor and doing "Course development" during the other half of the quarter. Work done all quarter long:
|Duty for 10 weeks||Hours/week|
|Time spent grading||6|
During the "other" Paradigm, the full-time TA will meet with the professor 3 times per week to get instructions on homework and give feedback on student work.
|Duty for 5 "off" weeks||Hours/week|
|Meet with prof||3|
Average hours/week = 8.6 (0.5TA duties) + 6 (actual grading) + 2.8 ("off" meetings and course improvement) = 17.4. When 2 hours of proctoring are added in, this reaches the total allowed hours for the quarter.
Note that the total hours spent by the full-time TA is twice that of the half-time TA, but some of that work is spread across the entire quarter.
Note also that during their "on" quarter, the full-time TA works 17.2+6 = 23.2 hours/week. This is only slightly under the maximum workload per week, so the most additional work the full-time TA could be expected to do during their "on" week would be 0.8 hours in a given week. In practice, we would prefer to leave this margin, in case grading takes unexpectedly longer in a given week (e.g. if finishing up the last problem graded takes longer than expected).
The duties of a grader are a subset of extra duties of the full-time TA during their "off" weeks. A Paradigms grader works during only one half of the quarter. Their duties consist of grading one problem set per week for 5 weeks as well as meeting with the professor.
|Duty for 5 weeks||Hours/week|
|Time spent grading||6|
|Meet with prof||2|
The grader works 8 hours/week for 5 weeks, for an average of 4 hours/week over the 10-week period, or 3.64 hours/week over the 11-week period.