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Assistantships (for Students Admitted Prior to Fall 2023)

Normally, each student may be supported with a departmental Graduate Assistantship for a maximum of two years. All applicants for admission to the full-time MA program in History are considered for assistantships. History Department Graduate Assistantships pay a stipend and include remission of university instructional fees for the regular school year. (for Students Admitted Prior to Fall 2023)

Credit Hour, Work Hour, and Enrollment Requirements and Limits

Recipients of Graduate Assistantships are expected to register for a minimum of 9 graduate hours per semester and a maximum of 15.  Nine or ten hours are recommended.  Summer Scholarship recipients are expected to enroll for at least 3 hours in the summer.  Graduate School guidelines stipulate that Graduate Assistants are expected to work at their assistantship duties for 18 to 20 hours per week.  Graduate Assistants are also required to enroll in HST 645, College Teaching of History Surveys, which meets each year during the week before the Fall Semester begins.

Overload Employment

Graduate School regulations state that Graduate Assistants may hold no other employment, either at Miami University or elsewhere, during their term of appointment.  Graduate Assistants interested in overload work and teaching must ask the permission of their advisors, who will consult with the DGS and the department Chair.  If approved at the departmental level, the request is then forwarded to the Dean of the Graduate School, who must also approve.  Among the criteria considered: the ability of the student to carry out duties in the department's program; the ability of the student to make progress in the degree program; and the graduate status of the student.


Guidelines for Graduate Students on Stipend

These guidelines describe the typical duties of Graduate Assistants (GAs) in the department; individual assignments may vary.

In most cases, GAs are assigned to large-format undergraduate lecture courses (surveys) in which the assistant is responsible for leading two weekly discussion sections.  Sometimes, depending on the demand and availability of alternative teaching assignments, GAs may be assigned to smaller format classes, or to grading duties for one or more classes.  Occasionally a GA may be assigned to do research work in support of a faculty member.  These alternative arrangements must be approved by the DGS in consultation with the faculty member in question.

The weekly workload should average 20 hours over the course of the semester.  Those with instructional duties are responsible for abiding by the rules and regulations of Miami University, including the Good Teaching Practices defined in the Graduate Student Policies of the Miami University Policy Library.

An assistant who feels that he or she is being asked to do any inappropriate task, or tasks that take more time than the average of 20 hours per week over the course of the semester, should under most circumstances speak with the supervising faculty member and/or the DGS.  If a satisfactory solution cannot be found, the student should employ the department's grievance procedure.

Graduate Student Teachers:

The duties of the GA teaching sections of a survey include:

  • Leading two discussion sections of the same survey.
  • Creating the syllabus for the sections.  These will vary by the design of the class and the instruction of the supervising faculty but should include contact information (office hours, email, phone), the grading policy (including a breakdown of graded work), and details of assignments unique to each section.  This syllabus supplements the main course syllabus.
  • Attending all lectures and meetings.
  • Grading exams and other written work in the manner directed by the faculty supervisor and within a reasonable time (optimally one week).
  • Being available at least one hour per week during office hours, plus being available to students by appointment within reasonable limits.
  • Preparing the lecture room (setting the lights, closing the window shutters, moving lecterns, preparing microphones) and running equipment, if requested to do so.
  • Although the supervising faculty member is responsible for the design and the content of the lecture portion of the course, advanced students may be offered the opportunity to give an occasional lecture to the main class, no more than two in a semester.
  • The supervising faculty may allow assistants to help design assignments and choose readings and discussion material.

The duties of the GA serving as a grader include:

  • Grading all work in a timely fashion (it is expected that graded work will be handed back to students within one week).
  • Attending all lectures and meetings.  Graders may be asked to help prepare the lecture room (set the lights, close the window shutters, move lecterns, prepare microphones) and run equipment.
  • Holding office hours and review sessions to help students prepare for exams as instructed by the faculty member teaching the course.
  • Advanced students may be offered the opportunity to give an occasional lecture to the main class, no more than two in a semester.

Standard practices for faculty supervising graduate student teachers include:

  • Creating the content and design of the course.
  • Meeting with the entire team of student section leaders and graders before the semester begins to discuss expectations for the sections.
  • Holding regular meetings of the team to discuss the connection of the lectures to that week's discussion, discuss problems and successes of the previous week's discussions, coordinate grading standards across sections, and plan weekly goals.
  • Reviewing syllabi of assistants' discussion sections with an eye to general standards across sections so that they meet the criteria stated in the Good Teaching Practices defined in the Graduate Student Policies of the Miami University Policy Library.
  • Observing sections and writing evaluations of Graduate Assistants' teaching for their files.

Graduate Student Research Assistants:

The duties of the GA serving as a research assistant include:

  • Assisting one or more faculty members with research, either for the semester or for specific tasks, as assigned by the DGS.
  • Completing assigned tasks by a reasonable deadline agreed upon by the faculty member and graduate student before the latter begins the assignment.
  • Returning all materials to faculty members at the end of the assignment.
  • Writing a brief report to the DGS outlining the assignment and the educational benefits of the work completed.
  • Tasks will vary, but the workload should average about 20 hours per week over the course of the semester.

Standard practices for faculty supervising graduate student research assistants include:

  • Assigning tasks that enhance the student's graduate education in history.
  • Meeting with the research assistant at the start of the assignments, explaining the nature of the work, and negotiating reasonable expectations about work schedules and deadlines.
  • Meeting regularly with the research assistant to ensure that the work is proceeding in an appropriate and timely manner.  If the faculty member discovers that the student is not doing the assigned work as agreed upon, she or he should meet with the student immediately.  If the problem persists, faculty should contact the DGS.
  • At the end of the task, the faculty should discuss the assignment with the student and send a brief report to the DGS.

Procedure for appealing grades assigned by Graduate Assistants:

If an undergraduate student wishes to challenge a grade given by the Graduate Assistant and first approaches the faculty member, the faculty member should encourage the student to meet with the Graduate Assistant in an attempt to resolve the issue.  If the student is dissatisfied with the results, he or she may ask the supervising faculty member to review the grade.  The faculty member should discuss the grading with the Graduate Assistant before recommending any change.  The guidelines in this section are meant to supplement, not supersede, the formal and informal grievance procedures of the Department of History and Miami University.

Department of History

254 Upham Hall
100 Bishop Circle
Oxford, OH 45056