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.
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 myCampus under the Departments area.