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Teaching Assistant Policy

1. Introduction

a) Teaching Assistants contribute to the learning and teaching environment at XJTLU by providing support to module leaders. Teaching Assistantships (funding available to pay such assistants) provide an opportunity for graduate students to gain teaching experience that is an important part of their own academic development.

b) Graduate students in the Policy refer to XJTLU postgraduate research (PGR) students, XJTLU master’s students and graduate students (PGR and master) from other state universities. Stipulations on how to hire individuals who are not currently registered students to undertake teaching related activities (e.g. part-time teacher/lecture) can be found in General Policy on Non-Full-Time Staff Management.

c) This Policy outlines the responsibilities of the XJTLU Graduate School (XGS), academic units, and module leaders in relation to the recruitment and monitoring of Teaching Assistants.


2. Policy

Teaching Assistant responsibilities

a) XJTLU full-time graduate students are normally restricted to 500 hours of work (including Teaching Assistantship) each academic year, so that they continue to have sufficient time for their research and other studies.

b) XJTLU PGR students who are continuing into their fourth year for the purposes of writing up their thesis are not restricted to the hour-limit, but individual academic units may decide on appropriate limits on a case-by-case basis.

c) Duties that may be performed by teaching assistants include the following, an explanation of which should be provided by the relevant module leader/supervisor to the Teaching Assistant upon recruitment:
i. Laboratory demonstration and support for practical work in the classroom
ii. Attendance on and support with field courses
iii. Group tutoring
iv. Scheduled office hours for one-to-one tutoring
v. Invigilation of formal examinations and/or class tests
vi. Marking of formative assignments with appropriate training
vii. Other appropriate activities as determined by academic units

d) At the discretion of relevant academic units, XJTLU PGR students may be permitted to undertake the following additional responsibilities with appropriate training and guidance:
i. Delivery of occasional formal lectures and/or seminars within their area of expertise after having received appropriate training and initial supervision from their supervisor or the respective Module Leader. Such training might be provided by individual academic units, or the Education Development Unit (EDU). Relevant health and safety issues should be covered in this training.

i. Assistance in marking of summative assessments with appropriate training and under the supervision of the module leader, subject to prior approval from the Head of the academic unit delivering the module. However, they must never act as the sole examiner on any summative assessment. All assessment tasks marked by XJTLU PGR students must be moderated, and they are not permitted to act as moderators.

e) Delivery of lectures and marking of summative work should normally be at the undergraduate level.

f) Under no circumstances, may a master’s student studying at XJTLU or any graduate student studying at another university be permitted to engage in the additional teaching and assessment activities permissible for XJTLU PGR students.

Teaching Assistant payment

g) Holders of the XJTLU PGR full scholarship are normally required to serve as teaching assistants as part of the conditions of their scholarship. There will be no pay for these Teaching Assistant assignments. The XGS will circulate the list of compulsory teaching assistants to academic units before the beginning of each semester, and academic units should ensure these students are assigned Teaching Assistants responsibilities.

h) Where self-funded PGR students and holders of the XJTLU fees-only or partial scholarship undertake their Teaching Assistants responsibilities, they would be paid at the rate in operation at that time.

i) The pay rates for postgraduate research and master’s students will be established on an annual basis and published along with the advertisement for Teaching Assistantships. There will be differential rates of pay for XJTLU PGR students and all other postgraduate Teaching Assistants.

j) Postgraduate research students from other universities undertaking Teaching Assistant duties under this policy will be paid at the same rate as XJTLU master’s students.

k) When calculating the hours for payment, preparation time should be included in the total hours of the teaching assistant work. The typical hours of work that are recognised and paid on a range of teaching assistant responsibilities and activities can be found in the appendix.

l) Paid Teaching Assistants will be asked to sign a service agreement according to HR’s policy and procedure on hiring non-fulltime positions. Teaching assistantships will be subject to pay rates established by the University, and will be funded from the relevant academic unit’s budget.

Training

m) Teaching Assistants are required to participate in Teaching Assistant training sessions that are delivered by XJTLU Education Development Unit (EDU) throughout the semester. The XGS will coordinate the training time with the EDU and inform academic units. Participation in these sessions is not a paid activity. Academic units are responsible to inform their Teaching Assistants to attend the training sessions. Academic units should normally offer additional training sessions to Teaching Assistants.

n) The Education Development Unit will ensure that attendance at training sessions is recorded and records will be maintained by the XGS. The XGS will inform academic units about the attendance and/or absence of Teaching Assistants at the training sessions. Module leaders have responsibilities to give substitute training sessions before the start of any teaching activities to any Teaching Assistant who hasn’t attended the training sessions delivered by the EDU and report to the XGS that the training has taken place.

o) Any student appointed as a Teaching Assistant who does not attend the training will have their Teaching Assistantship removed and may not act in this capacity.

p) In addition, every module leader/supervisor must provide guidance to the Teaching Assistants for their specific module.

Monitoring and teaching quality assurance

q) All new Teaching Assistants will be observed by the module leader (or designate) in the early part of the semester, and will meet with the Teaching Assistants to give them constructive feedback.
r) If the Module Leader (or designate) has concerns that a Teaching Assistant is not fulfilling their duties to the appropriate standard, the module leader shall inform the teaching assistant in writing of the areas for improvement with clear information about the improvement period. Where, following such period of improvement, there are still concerns about the quality of the work undertaken that cannot be resolved, the Head of the relevant academic unit will be advised of the problem by the Module Leader, and, if necessary, the Teaching Assistantship will be withdrawn.
s) Where a teaching assistantship of an XJTLU PGR full scholarship holder is withdrawn due to unsatisfactory performance as described above, his or her PGR scholarship (monthly stipend) will also be suspended.

t) Teaching Assistants will be evaluated in the Module Evaluation Questionnaires at the end of semester and there will be written evaluation by the Module Leader. The academic units will retain the written evaluation record.

3. Procedures

Recruitment and selection

a) Academic units should submit their vacant Teaching Assistantship positions to the XGS who will advertise them on the XJTLU website. Academic units may advertise the positions on their own website but it is the responsibility of the academic unit to ensure that information in the two locations is consistent. Normally, postings will be made prior to the start of semester, but there may be additional postings from time to time, depending on the requirements of academic units.

b) Academic units are responsible for receiving all applications and for evaluating the suitability of academic qualifications and the student’s English skills for their modules.
c) Preference will be given first to qualified XJTLU PGR students who are in receipt of an XJTLU PGR full scholarship, then second to other XJTLU PGR students and XJTLU master’s students. Finally, postgraduate research and master’s students from other universities will be appointed to fill outstanding vacancies.
d) There is no automatic assignment of a Teaching Assistant to their own supervisor’s modules or their own academic unit’s modules.

e) Applicants are required to provide their academic transcripts of previous studies, a list of previous teaching assignments, and other relevant information the academic unitsmay request.

f) The Head of the relevant academic unit or designate will approve the appointments and individual applicant will be notified at least one week before the teaching starts.

g) For Teaching Assistants who are paid on an hourly basis, the academic unit should request the formal appointment through HR using the HR Non-Full-time Post Request/Appointment Form.

Post-recruitment and payment

h) Academic units should report the recruited Teaching Assistants information to the XGS in the beginning of each semester. Any Teaching Assistant recruited during the teaching terms should also be reported to the XGS.

i) Academic units should ensure that Teaching Assistants have the appropriate access to class lists and XJTLU Learning Mall and that students know who their Teaching Assistants are.

j) The XGS will maintain an official record of teaching assignments of all teaching assistants’ responsibilities.

k) Teaching Assistants are invited by XGS to appropriate training sessions.

l) For Teaching Assistants who are paid on an hourly basis, the academic units are responsible for liaising with HR (or its designated agency) to effect payment to Teaching Assistants.

m) Academic units are required to provide all details of Teaching Assistants, their responsibilities and their payments to the XGS by the end of each semester.

Appendix: Guideline for Calculating Teaching Assistant Hours (TA Hours)

The table below lists the typical hours of work on a range of teaching assistant responsibilities and activities. Based on the nature and requirement of TA work in different disciplines, academic units may develop their own guideline to regulate and manage the TA hours. However, local guidelines shall not contradict this university policy and its appendix.

Type of Work

Description

TA Hours

Lecturing

Deliver lectures with specified learning outcomes within a clear and established teaching programme/framework.

First Session: Up to 5 hours preparation for 1-hour lecture

 

Repeat Session: Up to 2 hours preparation for 1-hour lecture

Group Tutoring

Facilitate student learning, typically in a seminar or tutorial setting, under the

supervision of, or in liaison with the module leader

First Session: Up to 3 hours preparation for 1-hour tutorial Repeat Session: Up to 1 hour

preparation for 1-hour tutorial

Laboratory Lead

Lead student learning in a laboratory or workshop session with learning outcomes within a clear and established teaching programme/framework.

Demonstrate the use of practical equipment and processes and experimental design/statistical analysis and answer related

questions.

First/Repeat Session: Up to 2 hours preparation for 1-hour lead

Laboratory Demonstrating

Support student learning in a laboratory or workshop session, under the supervision of, or in liaison with the module leader.

Demonstrate the use of practical equipment and processes and experimental

design/statistical analysis and answer related questions.

First/Repeat Session: Up to 1 hour preparation for 1 hour demonstrating

Marking

Mark and provide feedback on students’ formative or summative assessments in

accordance with the academic unit’s requirements.

Actual hour for the work as determined by the relevant academic units

Invigilation

Invigilate student examinations in accordance with the requirements of the Regulations for the

Conduct of Examinations.

Up to 1.5 hours preparation for each examination

Field Course

Attend and support student learning in a fieldwork setting under the supervision of, or in

liaison with the module leader

Actual hour for the field course

Office Hours

/One-to-One Tutoring

Support student learning individually; Provide assistance to student consultations or feedback

Actual hour for the office hours/tutorial

(Last Review Date: 15 June 2022)

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