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Teaching Assistant Workloads in L&S

This document outlines the process for creating a Teaching Assistant or Project Assistant workload, submitting a workload for approval, distributing a workload to TAs, and resolving a workload dispute.


A workload is a document that outlines the duties associated with a specific TA or PA appointment (e.g., "Dinosaur Studies 101 TA workload), and an approximation of the hours required to complete those duties. Departments are required to provide workloads to TAs and PAs per the Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures (GAPP).

Creating a Workload

The workload should clearly state the department, course number, and the general structure of the TA appointment (i.e. number of discussions/labs taught by the TA, and the maximum enrollment per discussion/lab). 

      Step 1: Identify the required duties

      • The department and supervising staff member(s) establish the required duties of the employee.
      • Duties might include, but are not limited to: training and orientation, preparation for teaching, teaching time, lecture attendance, grading, office hours, course meetings, course administration, email time, coverage of sick time for other TAs, etc. (see "Sample Workloads"  and Reference Sheet under "Additional Resources" below).

      Step 2: Determine the number of hours normally associated with each duty

      • Consider such factors as type of instruction, number of students instructed, and all other factors, including those specific to the course or group of courses to which the workload apply (e.g., a workload in a homework-intensive class might include more time for grading than a course with less homework).
      • Some suggestions and advice were provided at the March 24, 2022 presentation on workloads (see "Additional Resources" below).
      • Present the number of hours expected for each duty over the entire appointment. You may also provide an approximation of hours per week, but make it clear that exact hours will likely fluctuate from week to week for many duties.

      Total Hours & Appointment Levels

      • Both the appointment % level and the total number of hours worked over the appointment should be clearly indicated on the workload document.
      • The appointment level is based on the department’s determination of the total hours it should normally take to perform the assigned duties over an eighteen-week semester.
      • We expect that these duties include orientation and training, and recommend including time to cover the sick leave of other TAs.
      • Satisfactory performance of duties shall not require an effort exceeding: 
        • three hundred and sixty (360) hours per semester for a halftime (50%) academic year pay basis appointment; 
        • one thousand and forty (1040) hours per year for a halftime (50%) annual pay basis appointment; 
        • or a proportional number of hours for other durations or percentages of appointment.

      Workload Approvals

      Workloads must be submitted for approval under the following circumstances:

      • The workload is for a new TA position, that has not been previously approved via the TA planning process.
      • The department is changing the appointment percentage or structure of an existing TA position, such as changing the number of sections taught or the number of students per section.

      Workloads must be approved via the L&S Instructional Staffing Request Form.

      Once a workload has been approved, the department is responsible for maintaining the record so that it is readily available. Departments may use the same workload for subsequent semesters, so long as the appointment level, structure, and duties remain the same. 

      Communicating with TAs and PAs about workloads

      • The supervising faculty/staff member(s) should discuss the workload document with the employee at the beginning of the appointment period.
      • Supervisors should make it clear that TAs and PAs are engaged in professional activities, and the precise number of hours associated with specific tasks can vary from one TA to another. Fluctuations above and below the hours reflected in the appointment level are expected, corresponding to individual distinctions such as experience. Employees are encouraged to discuss duties with the supervising staff member at the outset of the appointment and as questions arise.
      • Supervisors should point out that the number of hours are stated for the full appointment period, but hours needed to carry out required duties may fluctuate over portions of the appointment period. 

      Workload Disputes

      • An employee who finds that the assigned duties appear to require more time than is allocated should immediately notify, and consult with, the supervisor or Department Chair (or designee), who will examine the factors used to determine the amount of time expected. The supervisor and the department may direct either an adjustment in the duties or, pending approval of funding, an adjustment in the appointment level.
      • Informal discussion between a supervisor and an employee is likely to be the most effective way to resolve problems in assignment of duties. 
      • If a workload issue is not resolved by information discussion, please contact HR Manager Laura Fisk for assistance.
      • Departments are encouraged to establish workload committees consisting of faculty, staff and graduate students who are current or former Teaching Assistants or Project Assistants to review new and existing workloads for Teaching and Project Assistants annually, identify persistent workload problems and recommend remedies to the department. If a workload committee does not exist, one may be established at the request of a majority of the Departmental Teaching and Project Assistants.

      Sample Workloads

      Additional Resources

      Contacts for L&S

      Lynne Prost, Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Academic Affairs

      Laura Fisk, HR Manager

      KeywordsTAs, Teaching Assistants, workloads, employment, work hours, appointments   Doc ID95768
      OwnerLynne P.GroupL&S KB
      Created2019-11-12 16:56 CDTUpdated2023-07-05 11:43 CDT
      SitesL&S KB
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