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.

Definition

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.

Process for Creating a Workload, Seeking Approval, and Distributing the Workload

1. Identify the required duties of the employee (see "Duties" below).
2. Determine the number of hours associated with each duty (i.e., how much grading time? How many office hours? How many course meetings over the semester?).
3. Create a document listing the duties and associated hours required to complete those duties (see "Sample Workloads" below).
4. Submit the document to Brian Bubenzer (brian.bubenzer@wisc.edu) in the College of Letters and Science for approval (email approval will follow).
5. Distribute workload to appropriate employees and their supervisors as early as is practicable.  

Duties
  • The department and supervising staff member establish the required duties of the employee. 
  • Duties might include, but are not limited to, preparation for teaching, teaching time, lecture attendance, grading, office hours, course meetings, course administration, email time, etc.
  • In determining the amount of time expected for an employee assignment, give consideration to 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).
  • The appointment level is based on the department’s determination of the amount of time it should normally take to perform the assigned duties including orientation and training. Satisfactory performance of these 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.
  • Workloads are based on an eighteen-week semester.
Communicating with TAs and PAs about workloads
  • The supervising faculty/staff member 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. 
  • 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

Generic example: sampleworkload.pdf
Head TA workload example: DinoStudiesHeadTA.docx
Summer example (online course): SummerTAWorkloadAgreement.docx

Detailed campus policies related to TA workload are located in the Graduate Assistant Policies and Procedures document.

For more information or with questions, please contact Brian Bubenzer