Topics Map > Teaching, Learning & Academic Administration > Short-Term Staff (STS)
Topics Map > HR & Payroll > Short-Term Staff
Topics Map > HR & Payroll > Policies
Topics Map > Teaching, Learning & Academic Administration > Graduate Student Affairs > Graduate Assistantships

Lecturer (SA) appointments in L&S

This document provides technical instructions related to Lecturer (SA) appointments in L&S. This document also provides guidance on how to effectively supervise and support Lecturer (SA)s.

Background

Lecturer (Student Assistant)s, also referred to as LSAs, are graduate students who will teach a course in place of faculty or instructional academic staff.
The requests to hire LSAs are part of the short-term staffing request process. In appointing Lecturer (SA)s, the College needs to consider both the appropriateness of the appointment and the supervision being provided.

For many LSAs, the position is an important opportunity to gain and sharpen skills of independent teaching on the way to a career in academia. It is essential that departments set clear expectations and provide comprehensive and organized support and guidance to their LSAs; such guidance helps LSAs stay on track in all their commitments and helps to ensure a quality learning experience for enrolled students.

This document outlines a number of hiring procedures as well as recommendations and best practices for supervising and supporting LSAs. We recommend that departments develop and make widely known their own detailed policies for the hiring, supervision, and evaluation of LSAs.

Hiring Procedure

Selection of LSAs

  • The Graduate student should be qualified to teach the course. In all but the most unusual situations, the student will have completed course work that puts them at least at the level of a master's degree. The Lecturer (SA) title is exempt from the campus minimum qualifications policy.
  • Attention should be paid to ensure that the LSA appointment dues not interfere with the graduate student's time to degree.
  • Attention should be paid that the graduate student is eligible for an assistantship appointment.

Selection of courses to be taught by LSAs

  • Courses should have existing course materials that can be shared with the LSA. E.g., examples of course syllabi, schedules of lectures, grading schemes, assignments, previous exams, etc., and guidance on their deployment.
  • LSAs are typically hired for courses numbered below 700 that do not carry the graduate course attribute.
  • If the course does carry the graduate course attribute, we consider factors such as the following:
    • The course to be taught may be taken by Master’s level students, but the proposed LSA already has substantial work in the discipline beyond the Master’s level (e.g., has completed all coursework and is completing a dissertation in the area).
    • The course is one in which graduate students from other fields enroll to supplement their core studies, but the instruction is not a core part of the advanced graduate curriculum in the instructor's discipline (e.g. foreign language instruction for a graduate student preparing to conduct fieldwork abroad; broad level introductory statistics or research methods in a field that uses statistical methods); or,
    • The graduate student who would be employed as the instructor is considered qualified under the terms of the campus-wide minimum qualifications policy (e.g. a student with an MSW teaching a course for MSW students).
    • These situations will be reviewed on a case by case basis and require approval by the Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Academic Affairs, Lynne Prost.

Professional Development

Departments may supplement LSA appointments to include additional compensation for professional development.

The additional percentage for professional development is up to departmental discretion, but the total appointment should not exceed 50%. The appointment letter should clearly distinguish the appointment percentage associated with each activity (e.g., 33.4% for teaching and 10% for professional development). 

A detailed Professional Development Plan must be approved. Plans should be emailed to Lynne Prost for review and should include:
  • The LSA(s) and the mentor(s) for each
  • A detailed account of the expectations for both the graduate student and the mentor over the course of the semester
  • A list of planned professional development activities. These must include regular interactions with a faculty or instructional staff member (who may or may not be the individual on record as the direct supervisor of the LSA appointment), and might also include participation in appropriate and relevant workshops or similar programs, readings, classroom visits, literature reviews, etc.
  • The criteria for determining eligibility for the supplement (e.g., is this provided to all LSAs?)
  • A description of the assessment that will be used to determine the efficacy of the professional development training, such as an exit interview.
  • The stipend amount and percentage of the appointment, and the funding source you intend to use to cover the costs.
    • The department is responsible for all associated expenses. Departments can use 131 funds or gift funds to cover the professional development portion. Otherwise, you may charge the full costs of the appointment to STS 101 resources. The funding source will be reviewed by Mary Beth Roberts in the L&S Budget Office, and by your Academic Associate Dean.

LSA Duties

Typically, LSAs are expected to:
  • Set the course syllabus and class policies
  • Prepare lecture material and deliver the lectures
  • Prepare and assign assignments
  • Prepare and administer exams and final projects
  • Create rubrics for grading assessments, supervise grading and participate in grading
  • Supervise any Teaching Assistants (TAs) and graders (see below)
  • Hold office hours and respond to students’ communications
  • Troubleshoot special cases
  • Determine, or, for LSAs whose course has TAs, confirm final grades for the class.

LSAs supervising TAs

LSAs are, at times, tasked with the supervision of TAs in their classes. This arrangement makes close departmental supervision even more critical. Expectations should be clearly communicated to both the LSA and TAs.

The following are recommended best practices to support LSAs in this role:
  • Assign experienced TAs to work with LSAs.
  • The LSA supervisor should clearly communicate with the LSAs and TAs on workload expectations, supervisory structure, and course responsibilities.
  • Regular weekly course meetings and communications between LSAs and TAs are recommended, with discussion focused on housekeeping items such as weekly tasks, arrangement for exams, and effective pedagogy, grading alignment across sections, and course trouble-shooting.
  • LSAs should visit course TAs’ classrooms to observe classroom dynamics, confirm that expectations are being met, and evaluate TA performance. LSAs should be given guidance on how best to provide feedback to TAs under their supervision, and any department resources on TA evaluation (e.g. rubrics) should be shared with the LSAs.
  • If peer evaluation is a concern, the supervisor of the LSA may be asked to supervise the TAs.

Supervision of LSAs

Selection of supervisor(s):

  • A faculty or instructional staff member who has extensive knowledge of the course, the learning goals for its students, and the effort required to teach it should be designated as a supervisor and mentor. This supervisor should be listed as a ‘supervisory’ instructor in SIS.
  • If needed or available, someone else within the department that serves as an instructional resource may also be part of the supervising team (e.g., faculty/staff who teach extensively in a similar class format, pedagogy experts, those with expertise in classroom technology, etc.).

Supervisor expectations

  • Supervisor(s) should meet with LSA before instruction begins to:
    • establish and reach a shared understanding of workload expectations
    • provide course related material (see below) and guidance
    • provide both general and department-specific guidance about the role of a lecturer and the responsibilities of supervising TA(s), if any are assigned to the class (see below).
  • During the semester, supervisor(s) should:
    • meet regularly to ensure expectations are met and to answer any questions and concerns the LSA may have. They should make themselves available to the LSA in a proactive fashion to offer help and guidance.
    • make prior arrangements to observe the LSA’s teaching. It is strongly encouraged that the doctoral advisor of the LSA makes a classroom observation as well, both to assist in writing letters of recommendation and to provide an additional layer of oversight to the appointment.
  • At the end of the semester, supervisor(s) should:
  • Peer evaluation:
    • For classes with enrolled graduate students who may be considered peers of the LSA, the College may further request that the supervisor evaluate the graduate students enrolled in the class, and/or provide additional instruction, and/or provide additional mentoring and assistance to the LSA.
    • These situations will be reviewed on a case by case basis and require approval by the Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Academic Affairs, Lynne Prost.

Setting the LSA up for success

It is helpful to make access to course materials and instructional guidance as comprehensive, organized, direct and clear as possible. In doing so, the department can guide and support the graduate students, so they spend time and effort efficiently and strategically.

To help the LSA succeed, supervisors should provide:
  • Assistance with and training in setting up a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Canvas.
  • Guidance on responding to student work, be it exams or papers.
  • Assistance and guidance with administrative tasks such as:
    • Course rosters
    • Room reservations
    • Access to AV equipment
    • Copying handouts
  • Guidance on expectations for instructors regarding FERPA, sexual harassment policies, consensual relationship policies, Title IX, etc.
  • Guidance on the formal accommodation process, for an accommodation that might be needed by the instructor as well as any that might be brought by students in the class via the McBurney Center.
  • Assistance and guidance for interactions with special students, athletes, auditors, or students of special concern.
  • Guidance for handling particularly challenging or controversial course content and dealing with disruptive or challenging students.
  • Assistance and guidance on creating a positive classroom environment that is welcoming to all students and promotes engagement and active learning.

Contacts for L&S Administration



KeywordsSTS, Short Term Staffing, Lecturer Title, Lecturers, instructor qualifications, grad lecturer, LSA, lecturer-SA, graduate assistant   Doc ID32748
OwnerCathy Y.GroupL&S KB
Created2013-08-14 09:07:44Updated2024-01-11 12:33:50
SitesL&S KB
CleanURLhttps://kb.wisc.edu/ls/lsa
Feedback  0   0