Teaching Assistant Policy

Teaching Assistants

The Department of Cultural Anthropology regards teaching assistantships as an important part of graduate education. As a condition of their fellowship, students will serve as a TA or GA each semester they are receiving Duke/Cultural Anthropology support (excluding the year spent doing fieldwork). This includes "banked" funding (after fieldwork, compensation for an outside fellowship). While on Duke fellowship money, all students are expected to stay at Duke University until the end of undergraduate finals unless other arrangements are made with the professor. 

Expectations

The work of TAs is crucial for sustaining the quality of undergraduate course offerings in the department. TAs are expected to attend every class meeting and to complete all readings. At the same time, faculty supervisors bear responsibility for mentoring their teaching assistants in the process of becoming good teachers. Each faculty member using TAs should meet regularly during the semester with their TAs. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss grading and other practical matters as well as broader issues of teaching philosophy and strategy. Whenever possible, a TA will give a lecture and/or lead discussion at least one time during the semester. As part of faculty mentoring, the faculty member must attend the class led by the student and offer constructive feedback.

Assignments

The Director of Graduate Studies makes TA assignments for each semester. The Director will endeavor to do so with as much advance time as possible so that students can arrange the rest of their schedule accordingly. At the start of each semester, all faculty members using TAs must inform the Director of Graduate Studies by e-mail what they will expect of their TAs during the semester. A copy of this message must also be sent to the TAs. Normal TA duties should take up no more than 10 hours a week on average during the semester. Time attending class and doing class readings count as part of these hours. If faculty members expect TAs to do substantially fewer than 10 hours some weeks and more than 10 in others, they should discuss this with the student early in the semester. Faculty should not expect a TA to work more than 10 hours in any given week unless they have made prior arrangements with the student.

Complaints

If complaints about TA-ing should arise on the part of either a TA or faculty member, they will be heard by the DGS and the chair of the department.