Graduate Assistants

A “Graduate Assistant” is a graduate student who is appointed as a University employee to provide the student with an apprenticeship experience and with financial support for graduate education. FairmontStateUniversity recognizes student employment as an assistantship only under the definitions, conditions and categories below. Student employment outside these parameters will not be deemed Assistantships.

There are three categories of Graduate Assistantships:

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)

  • GTAs have primary responsibility in an instructional capacity and are selected on the basis of past teaching experience or academic promise as effective instructors in their field of study. GTAs may be assigned: responsibility for a self-contained class, or responsibility for a laboratory or discussion class accompanying a faculty taught lecture class, or responsibility for assisting a faculty member with teaching-related tasks, such as lecturing, leading discussion groups, serving as an assistant to laboratory classes, advising students, proctoring examinations, preparing class materials, assisting during class, grading tests and papers, and providing general assistance in the instructional process.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistants who have the primary responsibility of teaching a course for credit and/or for assigning final grades for such a course must have earned at least 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline, be under the direct supervision of a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, receive regular in-service training, and be regularly evaluated.  All first time teaching assistants are required to attend the Graduate Assistant Professional Development Workshop that is held prior to the beginning of each semester.

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)

  • GRAs are selected for excellence in scholarship and promise as researchers. They are employed by many of the University’s academic, research, and administrative offices. GRAs provide important services in the many University research activities. They do part-time research as a portion of their training under the direct supervision of regular faculty members or support the research initiatives of the institution. This is an excellent opportunity to learn new techniques and methods as well as expand knowledge by association with the research-oriented responsibilities. The nature of the assistance varies by discipline and can involve a variety of activities, such as library work, proposal writing, data gathering, and data analysis. While placement of GRAs within their particular academic discipline is a priority, some GRAs are appointed by other units; however, the GRA will bring knowledge and skills of value to the project wherever employed within the University.

Graduate Service Assistant (GSA)

  • The title GSA generally refers to students who are employed to aid faculty and staff members with administrative functions within a service unit whose mission is closely related to the student’s area of academic study and interest. Many academic and nonacademic units have service assistantships available. The GSA is responsible to a professional member of the service unit who supervises and trains the student in the service role. Duties vary depending on administrative needs of the office making the award. The main purpose of the assignment is to assist in the service role of the unit.
  • The purpose of the assignment is (a) to provide graduate students part-time employment offering practical experience in fields related to their advanced study, and (b) to assist faculty in the direct instructional program.
  • Appointment as a Graduate Assistant does not confer any rights to permanent appointment to any person. The length of service of a Graduate Assistant does not alter the temporary nature of the appointment or confer additional rights upon such person. Appointments are generally made on a semester-by-semester basis.

A Full Assistantship requires a maximum of twenty (20) hours per week of service. Graduate assistants may not work more than a total of 20 hours per week on the average. Full-time Graduate Assistants may not be appointed concurrently in other Fairmont State University classification.

Less Than Full-Time Assistantships – Fairmont State University recognizes half-time and three-quarter time graduate assistantships. Half-time assistantships are based on a workload of 10 hours per week and three-quarter time assistantships are based on a workload of 15 hours per week.

Graduate Assistant Forms

Forms related to Graduate Assistantships can be found in the Graduate Studies Forms & Resources section of the web site.

"My assistantship has allowed me to keep working in the OSIX lab. This assistantship has put me more in a supervisory role, and I am helping undergraduate students who are studying National Security and Intelligence. Before, I was just working in the lab—now, I am actually teaching students. This opportunity is giving me the perspective of a teacher—it is also enforcing my roles and responsibilities in the field. What I really like is that I am helping students learn from their mistakes and learn from my mistakes and we can evolve together up the National Security ladder. An added benefit of my role as a GA is the financial benefit—this burden has been reduced through help with tuition and a stipend."

Tyler Hawkins, Buckhannon, W.Va. - M.S. Criminal Justice
Graduate Assistant - OSIX Lab

"The experience has widened my eyes to the true definition of a working student—it has really clued me in to what it is like to work and to be a student. The convenience factor, of my position, of being on campus is great. I worked for this program last semester, but with my Graduate Assistantship, I’ve been able to take my employment to the next level. During my undergraduate career, I was a student worker in the program, but with my assistantship, I now have the opportunity to be the coordinator of the student wellness program. In addition to the new roles and responsibilities as the wellness coordinator, I also have the opportunity to plan the student health fair."

Holly Frampton, Pine City, N.Y. - M.Ed. Exercise Science, Fitness and Wellness
Graduate Assistant - Coordinator of student wellness program