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Graduate assistantships provide a supervised opportunity for graduate students to gain experience in teaching, research, studio management and/or curatorial support or administration.
The MassArt Graduate Programs fund a range of opportunities each semester to students from all programs, providing an important workforce to the college, offering valuable professional and academic experience to our grads, and building long-term relationships with MassArt faculty and staff.
Graduate assistantships are currently paid at a rate of $18/hour, and involve an average of 3-10 hours of work per week, depending on the nature of the position. Assistantship opportunities are offered directly by faculty/staff and via a list of open positions sent by the Graduate Programs Office prior to the start of each semester. Graduate students apply for approved positions directly with supervising faculty/staff based on their interests, skill-sets, and professional goals.
There are two main types of Graduate Assistantships. All positions require that a student be in good academic standing and enrollment in a minimum of 9 credits.
TEACHING ASSISTANTS (TAs)
TAs are offered targeted academic training opportunities, working under the supervision and mentorship of a faculty member. In most instances, TAs are assigned to a particular course. In limited cases, students are selected for one of our competitive expanded assistantship positions, working with a faculty member across courses and sections, providing a range of support both in and out of the classroom. TAs receive practical pedagogical experience in higher education while also making an important contribution to the educational experience of the students they serve. Faculty select their TA's subject to approval by the Graduate Programs Resource Coordinator and Dean of Graduate Studies.
ADMINISTRATIVE/TECHNICAL/RESEARCH ASSISTANTS (GRADUATE ASSISTANTS/GAs)
GAs (Graduate Assistants) provide management, academic, technical, curatorial, and operational support to a range of offices, programs, studios, labs, and galleries at the College, and may report to administrators, faculty, or other College personnel. The GA experience provides training in higher education administration and builds competencies consistent with the student's academic and/or professional objectives. A list of available GA positions for which you may apply is sent to all current and incoming students by the Graduate Programs Office prior to the start of each semester.
Graduate Assistantship FAQ's
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO WORK AS A GRADUATE TEACHING ASSISTANT (TA)?
All MFA (including Low-Residency and DMI), MDES, Graduate Art Education, and MArch students enrolled in a minimum of 9 credits and in good academic standing are eligible to apply for graduate assistantships.
Each semester, several opportunities for teaching assistantships are offered by our Studio Foundation department. The Studio Foundation curriculum introduces undergraduate students to a variety of studio techniques and media and the stages of the creative process, from inception to design, construction, presentation, critique and revision. Graduate Assistants advise students on class work, assist in dialogue with instructors about the curriculum, program, facilities and equipment, assist with research, and give in-class presentations or demonstrations of a technique in an area of their expertise.
HOW ARE TAs/GAs ASSIGNED?
Prior to the start of each semester, (approximately mid-August for Fall and mid-December for Spring), the Graduate Office sends a list of available positions (TA and GA) to all current and incoming students, including dates/times, course or office name, hours, expectations, faculty contact info, skills required for the position, and anticipated skills gained. Interested students reach out directly to the supervising faculty/staff to apply, usually with a resume and/or work sample. Students are expected to have demonstrated skills and knowledge in the course content area.
In some cases, particularly for upper-level undergrad courses, faculty invite specific graduate students to act as a TA, which eliminates the application process, provided that the position has been approved by the graduate dean.
Students should reach out to the Graduate Office and also their program coordinators for advice on which offices, departments, or faculty might be a good fit.
HOW DO FACULTY/STAFF REQUEST A TA/GA?
The Graduate Office, via Academic Affairs, sends a call to all faculty and staff each semester for Graduate Assistant Requests. Submissions (via Qualtrics survey) must be submitted by the stated deadline, and are reviewed by the Graduate Dean and are subject to approval. Faculty/staff submitting a request for a graduate assistant should expect to outline relevant details (dates/times/hours) and provide a position description and outline of skills required and anticipated skills gained. Faculty/staff who have a specific student in mind for a position must complete the request form, where they can indicate the name of the specific student requested. Submission of a request does not guarantee that the position will be approved or filled.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A TA/GA?
The primary role of a Teaching Assistant is to provide supplemental instruction that benefits the class as a whole and/or individual students. All TA sessions should be conducted in a public location and not in residence hall rooms. The faculty member is responsible for assigning the final grade on each assignment, quiz, and homework (even if the TA marks it first). The faculty member makes all ultimate decisions related to partial credit.
If a disciplinary situation arises, TAs should contact their faculty member. If a student in your class requires additional academic support, please refer them to Academic Resource Center, in consultation with your supervising faculty.
TA responsibilites include:
- Facilitation of class discussions
- Participation in critiques
- Directing peer led team learning
- Assisting with exam preparation
- Reviewing and commenting on drafts of work
- Correcting objective assignments, quizzes, and homework
- Providing studio and lab support for students
- Assisting with co-curricular activities
- Conducting course related research
- Technical Assistance for Faculty (though this should not be the TA’s primary/sole role)
The primary role of a Graduate Assistant is to provide management, academic, technical, curatorial, and operational support to a range of offices, programs, studios, labs, and galleries at the College. GAs often interact with undergraduate students in campus shops, work with other members of the college staff, and coordinate with area-specific faculty and/or studio managers, depending on the nature of the position.
Examples of past GA responsibilities include:
- Monitoring of open studio times in campus shops/labs
- Facilitating training sessions for UG students in campus shops/labs
- Assisting with office management, organization, and communications
- Assisting with campus galleries (install/deinstall of exhibitions, promotion, submission surveys, etc.)
- Maintain and update technology resources
- Providing studio and/or lab support for students
- Creating visual assets for marketing of programs and events
HOW DO FACULTY/STAFF MENTOR TAs/GAs?
Faculty mentor TAs by including them in the teaching and learning process. Some faculty include their TAs in developing the course itself, leading class discussions, supporting special projects outside of class, and providing valuable feedback to students during the semester. Faculty determine how the TA will contribute to the course and establish mutually-agreeable expectations/outcomes for improved teaching and learning in the course.
Supervisors mentor GAs by providing overviews and specific insights into the working processes of labs, shops, galleries, office, and academic programs. GAs are provided with both real-world working experience and thoughtful feedback on their performance and progress.
HOW MANY HOURS DO TAs/GAs WORK?
- The Grad Assistant’s role and hours can be flexible, including assisting across multiple class sections and days of the week
- The maximum number of hours that a student can work for a single graduate assistantship varies by position. Assistantship hours do not need to be distributed evenly week-to-week. Students can work more hours in one week, but less in the next, depending on the schedule agreed upon with the supervisor. Standard positions are generally an average of 5hrs per week. Our limited expanded positions may include as many as 7-10hrs per week.
- Grad Assistantship positions are paid a rate of $18.00/hr
- Most graduate students work 1-2 assistantships per semester, depending on their schedule, course load, and available positions. With rare exceptions, graduate students may not work more than 8 total assistantships over the course of their degree program.
- While the Graduate Assistantship program provides an invaluable workforce to the College, these positions are viewed not only as jobs, but as rich learning and community-building experiences for grad students. All grad assistants should carefully consider the balance of their coursework and their assistantships, with the former as their priority.
- The position commences on the first day of classes and ends on the last day of classes. Any hours outside of those parameters require approval from Graduate Programs.