Graduate Assistantships provide students with training and valuable professional experience in a higher education work environment. Assistantship duties should contribute to the students' intellectual growth and degree goals.
Assistantships are considered primarily as a form of financial aid to help graduate students complete graduate school. Fairmont State University recognizes student employment as an assistantship only under the definitions, conditions and identified categories below. Student employment outside these parameters will not be deemed Assistantships.
Teaching assistants (TA) assist faculty with instructional responsibilities or serve as the principle instructor in one or more courses. TAs are selected on the basis of past teaching experience or academic promise as effective instructors in their field of study. Duties may include assisting faculty with teaching-related tasks (e.g., leading discussion groups, lecturing, laboratory, preparing instructional materials, grading exams), responsibilities associated with a self-contained class, and/or advising students.
Graduate Teaching Assistants who have the primary responsibility of teaching a course for credit and/or 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.
Research Assistants (RA) are selected for excellence in scholarship and promise as researchers. RAs work in research, administrative, academic and other university settings to assist faculty or other university personnel on research projects.They do part-time research as a portion of their training under the direct supervision of regular faculty members or work with administrative units to support the research initiatives of the institution. Duties vary by discipline and program, but generally include data collection and entry, data analysis, attending conferences to present results, and training and supervising less experienced researchers.
Service Assistants (SA) work with the administrative staff of a school, department, college, or office to assist in the operations of the university whose mission is closely related to the student's area of academic study or interest. Service assistantships are available for academic and nonacademic units. Duties vary widely, but may include gathering, organizing, and analyzing information, implementing and evaluating programs, academic advising, academic tutoring, career counseling, preparing marketing materials, and recruitment events.
A full-time graduate assistantship appointment is for a maximum of twenty (20) hours per week, and a half-time is for 10 hours of work per week. A student may hold two half-time assistantships to total no more than 20 hours of time per week. The remainder of student's time is typically spent in making progress toward degree completion. 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 positions. 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 Graduate Assistantship application form can be found in the Graduate Studies Forms & Resources section of the website.
"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
"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