L&S Graduate Support Guarantee Requests
Each January, the College of Letters & Science issues a call for requests to offer long-term support guarantees for the coming academic year. As a part of that process, we request that each department with TAs and/or Readers complete a TA Staffing and Expenditure Plan. This exercise is intended to help departments think about how best to deploy their TA and/or Reader resources, and will also help insure that TA allocation plans are aligned with the department’s BSR. This document will guide you through the process of completing the TA allocation spreadsheet.
Documents & Deadlines
- Request for long-term support guarantees
- Sample letters
- Deadline for 2019-20 academic year
- Submission via email to Brian Bubenzer.
- Graduate Support Guarantees Planning Document
- Requirements of a Support Guarantee
- Length of Guarantee
- Offers of appointments with no support
- Non-native English speakers
- Offer Letters
- Contacts for L&S Administration
Detailed Instructions for Graduate Support Guarantees Planning Document
Departments requesting to make long-term support guarantees to incoming (or continuing) graduate students should fill out the Support Guarantee Worksheet (linked above). Please fill out the form following the instructions below, and include departmental sample letters.
Update the worksheet with basic details at the top, department name, your name, Department TA rate.
The following section asks for your departmental norms.
- Guaranteed appointment percentage level(s). The minimum level that you are guaranteeing support to a graduate student. This guaranteed percentage level may well differ from the normal ‘’actual’‘ TA appointment level used in your department. For example, you might guarantee at least a .334 appointment to incoming graduate students, but regularly assign TAs to .40 appointments. [Note: You may routinely appoint at a level higher than that of the guarantee, but you cannot offer graduate students less than the appointment level guaranteed, unless the student requests such an assignment.]
- Normal Length (number of years) of Guarantee. The number of years for normal support guarantees
- Estimated offer acceptance % rate by incoming students. The percentage of offers that you expect to be accepted by prospective students. This should be based on historical patterns of accepted offers, which should be included on the ‘Guarantee Notes’ page.
Support Guarantee Offers
Please list the expected number of ongoing and new support guarantees for the 2019-20 academic year.
- Number of ONGOING guarantees of support. Number of graduate students with ongoing guarantees of support who will not have exhausted their guarantees at the end of the current academic year (2018-19).
- Number of new support offers to incoming students. Number of new support offers requested for incoming students for 2019-2020
- Number of new support offers to continuing students. Number of new support offers requested for continuing students for 2019-2020
Support Guarantee Cost Estimate
This table calculates the total estimated costs for your guarantees. It compares the total possible cost if all offers are accepted versus an adjusted estimated based on the historical acceptance rate listed in the ‘Guarantee Details’ table.
This section breaks out your commitment by semester by appointment level and dollars. The blank spreadsheet contains standard titles with the campus salary minima. You may adjust the rates or add rows for additional titles as necessary.
Fill in for each semester
- Title. Adjust/add rows if necessary
- Base rate. Adjust/add rows if necessary. This should be a 9-month / C-Basis rate.
- Headcount for fall & spring.
- Total appointment percentage. Sum of the appointment percentages for the given semester. E.g., if you have two TAs at 50% plus another at 33.4%, please list 133.4%.
The fall, spring, and total academic year costs will automatically be calculated.
Requirements of a Support Guarantee
Offer letters must spell out that the support guarantee requires that the student:
It is essential that all these elements are included in the letter. If any of the conditions listed above are not met by the student, the guarantee will be voided.
- continues as a graduate student in your program and
- maintains satisfactory academic performance and
- performs satisfactorily in any assigned responsibilities.
Length of Guarantee
College policy is that offers made to new graduate students will be multiple-year guarantees unless we have specifically authorized guarantees or appointments for a shorter time period. Unless otherwise arranged with us, the length of these guarantees for an incoming Ph.D. program graduate student is:
- four or five continuous academic years for one with no prior graduate work; or
- three continuous academic years for one with at least one year of prior graduate work.
Incoming Master's degree students would have the above periods as a maximum; shorter lengths would be determined by the length of the departmental criteria for satisfactory progress toward the degree for which the student is admitted.
It is important that offer letters be specific about the length of the guarantee and the requirements for satisfactory academic and work performance.
Offers of Appointment with No Guarantee
Under some limited circumstances you may offer incoming graduate students a one-year appointment, without a guarantee for future support. Both student and department need to be very clear on what is being offered so that students do not come here with a one-year offer and an unrealistic expectation of support beyond that. Our practice for many years has been to make such short-term offers only under controlled circumstances, and to use a letter that explicitly states that there is no guarantee of support beyond the appointment being offered.
One-year offers should not be used to "try out" a student; both satisfactory academic progress requirements and the probationary terms for TA and PA appointments should be used for this purpose. Please call us to discuss this if you have questions or concerns.
Guarantees to Students who are Non-Native English Speakers
Departments must ensure that all potential non-native English speaking TAs have the requisite skills in English to be effective teachers. All departments are required by campus and Regent policy to have a plan in place for assessing the English proficiency of potential teaching assistants, and to see that they have demonstrated this proficiency before they are assigned classroom duties as teaching assistants. The responsibility for carrying out this policy resides at the department level, where the applicant materials are reviewed, and the teaching assistant assignments are made. If your department does not use the SPEAK or TOEFL test scoring guidelines to determine eligibility for TA assignments, you are asked to submit detailed information about the English proficiency of each non-native English speaking TA. Please be aware that graduate students who are not qualified in English will not be allowed to serve as Teaching Assistants. For more information on university policies related to TA spoken English proficiency see: Document 25268 is unavailable at this time.
International students on certain visas are required to verify that they have sufficient resources to live in the United States and that some assistantship stipends are not adequate for this purpose (see http://grad.wisc.edu/admissions/internationalfinancial
). Visa regulations are such that the visa application and approval process for international students can be very lengthy. Please stay up to date on changes in this area via the International Student Services Office.
Offer Letters to New Students and Continuation of Support Guarantees for Continuing Students
You will find standard offer letters linked above. You may modify their tone and otherwise tailor them to your needs. Offer letters with format that differs from the standard provided require College review and approval.
The provided standard guarantee support letter for new students allows department to vary type of appointments over the years in conjunction with departmental resources, need and student talents. It means that you promise a student support of some type (at a specified percentage level), but you are not required to make that a TA appointment or any other single type of support. Departments have often found this to be a helpful type of flexibility.
Continuing students need written assurance that you intend to continue existing support guarantee next year (provided they continue to perform well both academically and in any assigned duties). Letters sent at this time can simply be a general assurance of support unless you know that the guarantee will be fulfilled by a particular type of support.
Questions about Graduate Support Guarantee offers should be directed to Brian Bubenzer
or Shirin Malekpour