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Guidelines for Summer Session Instruction

Approved by the University-wide General Education Committee on 4-21-99

The University-Wide General Education committee recognizes that training the teachers of tomorrow is a important mission of a Research I university such as ours. Teaching experience is vitally important to our graduate students as training for their careers, and a key credential for their future employment. The winter session, presession, and summer sessions provide a unique opportunity for graduate students to serve as instructors of record, while regular faculty are otherwise engaged. Graduate students may not serve as instructors of record in Tier One courses during the fall and spring semesters.

The following are guidelines for selecting and supervising graduate students as instructors of record in Tier One courses during inter-sessions, presessions, and summer sessions.

  1. All graduate students assigned to teach as the instructor of record a Tier One class, during intersessions, presession or summer sessions must be adequately trained in both the substantive area and in instructional methods. Consistent with UA policy on GATs, all GATs must complete 1) the UTC training course for GATs (minimum of 16 hours) and 2) a department-specific program or course in teaching methods (minimum of 8 hours). In selecting a GAT to serve as instructor of record, departments should give top priority to those who have worked as a GAT in the same course during the fall or spring semester, and second priority to those who have worked as a GAT in other Tier One courses taught by the department. In choosing from GATs with similar experience, departments should pay close attention to evidence of teaching effectiveness as found in Teacher Course Evaluations and supervisory reports. They should finally consider the students' progress toward the graduate degree, in order to make certain that the teaching assignment will not adversely affect, or be affected by, remaining degree requirements. These criteria are intended to select the best and most experienced GATs for serving as the instructor of record in Tier One courses.
  2. When selecting the GAT, the department must identify a supervising faculty member. This person should be familiar with the Tier One guidelines and should be experienced in teaching Tier One courses, preferably the specific course proposed, and should be prepared to serve as a faculty mentor. Prior to the GAT teaching responsibility, the supervisor/mentor will review the syllabus and handouts and initiate the mentoring relationship. When the GAT begins teaching, the faculty mentor will be available to answer questions, to provide tips about teaching, and to write a report to the department head on the GATs performance in the course. The department head, meanwhile, can serve as a back-up advisor for timely questions, administrative issues, and problems that arise if the faculty mentor is not available to give an immediate response.
  3. After the course is taught, the department head must keep the letter of appointment (citing the GAT's qualifications), the syllabus (as approved by the supervisor), the Teacher Course Evaluation results (the Graduate College mandates use of the long form for GATs), sample assignments with evidence of students' success (including sample responses when available), and the supervisor's report. These materials must be included in the portfolio of information on the course that the General Education Committee reviews every three to five years. Materials from the summer offering of the Tier One course will be kept by the department head and included in the portfolio that is reviewed by the General Education Committee during its 3 to 5 year review process.