The goal of graduate education is transformation of the student into a professional and/or a scholar, and graduate assistantships at UNC Charlotte are conceived to facilitate this transformation. Whether the assistantship duties are performed in the classroom, the laboratory, or a University office, they provide valuable experience in teaching, research, or administration that is an integral part of the student's graduate education. The major goal of the assistantship is two-dimensional: to promote the student's progress toward a graduate degree and to provide additional resources to accomplish the mission of the University.
Graduate assistants receive financial support for their contributions to the teaching, research, and service missions of the University. However, the quality of their supervision, the kind of work they are assigned to do, and the outcomes expected of them distinguish graduate assistants from other employees--even those of the same educational background who receive similar pay.
The University makes a commitment to students supported through assistantships -- regardless of the source of the funding. A part of this commitment involves maintaining the synergistic relationship between the student's studies and assistantship responsibilities. Because these activities must be mutually reinforcing, the student's supervisor has the responsibility both to assure that assigned duties contribute to the student's graduate education and to guide the assistant through the assigned duties.
General Policies and Terms and Conditions of Appointment
The following policies and terms and conditions of appointment apply to all graduate assistants at UNC Charlotte. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in the denial or termination of an appointment.
- To be eligible for appointment as a graduate assistant, an applicant:
- Must have a baccalaureate degree, or a baccalaureate degree and work experience, that equips them for the assignment;
- Must have been admitted to full standing in a graduate degree program; and
- Must have had an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 or better overall; or must have completed at least six hours of graduate work with a GPA of 3.0 or better.
- To retain their appointment, graduate assistants:
- Must participate in any required orientation program;
- Must follow instructions of the employing department to complete the INS Form I-9 to certify eligibility for employment prior to the first day of employment. Assistantships will be terminated if no I-9 has been completed by the first day or employment. (International GAs complete this form in the International Student/Scholar Office.)
- Must enroll in at least six or nine semester hours (or equivalent thesis / dissertation research) during each semester depending on the type of assistantship;
- Must work no more than twenty hours per week in the assistantship and any other employment on or off campus;
- Must perform assigned duties satisfactorily according to the terms of appointment and participate in the supervision and evaluation processes required for the assistantship;
- Must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0; and must make satisfactory progress toward completion of a graduate degree at UNC Charlotte or through an approved interinstitutional degree program.
General Policies and Requirements for Tuition Awards
The Graduate School has resources to provide tuition awards to a limited number of new and continuing graduate students who have assistantships during each academic year. Students must be nominated by their Graduate Program Director to be considered for these awards. The following policies and requirements apply to all graduate tuition awards at UNC Charlotte.
The Graduate Assistant Support Plan (GASP) is a highly competitive multi-year support package used to attract and retain top quality doctoral students to UNC Charlotte. Students enrolled in this plan are eligible to receive full payment of in-state tuition, non-resident tuition (if required), and health insurance. To be eligible a student must be a doctoral student who holds a graduate assistantship or appropriate fellowship of at least $6,000 for the academic year ($8,000 for the calendar year) and must be enrolled full-time (at least 9 credit hours) for each term of support. GASP Policy
The Graduate School has three types of merit-based awards for master’s students: Philanthropic Awards, Exceptional Scholar Awards, and Merit-based Tuition Awards. Master’s students must hold a research or teaching assistantship of at least $6,000 for the academic year ($3,000 per semester.)
Teaching Assistantships. Graduate teaching assistantships enhance student understanding of the content and pedagogy of the discipline and extend faculty resources and their contribution to the teaching mission of the University. Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) work under faculty guidance and are assigned a variety of instructional responsibilities depending upon their educational background and experience. These responsibilities are included in three major categories:
- Grading papers, setting up laboratory experiences, keeping class records, preparing instructional materials, and/or other instructional duties;
- Teaching a laboratory or recitation section of a course; and
- Teaching an independent section of a course.
The assignment to GTAs of full responsibility for teaching courses in a classroom is subject to the Criteria for Accreditation of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and UNC Policy Manual section 400.3.6: Training, Monitoring and Evaluation of Graduate Teaching Assistants.
- GTAs who have primary responsibility for teaching a course for credit and/or for assigning final grades for such a course must have earned at least 18 graduate semester hours in their teaching discipline, be under the direct supervision of a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, receive regular in-service training and be evaluated regularly. (Comprehensive Standard 6.2.a)
- Students for whom English is a second language may be appointed as GTAs only when the English Language Training Institute certifies that the applicant's proficiency in oral and written communication indicates that the appointment is appropriate. (UNC Policy Manual section 400.3.6)
- GTAs must possess a demonstrated competence in the subject matter that they will be teaching as determined by experts in the field. They should have an appreciation for the theory and practice of the subject matter as well as a developing understanding of the major themes and divisions of their field. (UNC Policy Manual section 400.3.6)
- GTAs should have an appreciation for the teaching and learning enterprise acquired from their own undergraduate and graduate academic programs, as well as by means of both required and optional teacher training seminars, symposia, workshops, publications, and university staff resources. Competency to teach includes an effective command of the language of instruction, usually American English, and an appreciation for the culture of the American university classroom. (UNC Policy Manual section 400.3.6)
- GTAs must be graduate students in good standing in their programs. (UNC Policy Manual section 400.3.6)