Teaching Requirement of Ph.D. Candidates

Beginning with students admitted in the Fall of 1991, teaching experience will be a requirement for Ph.D. candidates. Normally, students will fulfill this requirement by serving a minimum of two quarters (approximately 8 units) as a teaching assistant. Students may fulfill this requirement during their first year in the Ph.D. program, although assignments will be made as influenced by the student’s needs and the needs of the Department. Assignments of students to individual courses will be made by the GTA Faculty Mentor in consultation with the course instructors and the Department chairperson. Students entering the Ph.D. program with previous experience as teaching assistants may apply this experience to the teaching requirement. (See “Procedures for Requesting Waivers/Substitutions for the Ph.D. Teaching Requirement”.)

While serving as a teaching assistant, students will be appointed at 0.49 FTE and their monthly salary, which will be equivalent to that paid GRA’s, will be paid from GTA funds (unless the student is supported by a fellowship).

For those students supported primarily on GTA funds during their first year in residence, it will not be necessary to identify a major professor prior to admission to the Department. In addition to enhancing recruitment opportunities, this will provide an opportunity for new students to rotate through a number of laboratories with openings. With more students serving as Teaching Assistants, more students will have the opportunity to rotate. This does not preclude or eliminate the option for a student to be assigned to a laboratory without a rotation. A student assigned to a laboratory prior to fulfillment of the teaching requirement is required to teach prior to completion of the Ph.D. and will receive GTA funds in lieu of GRA funds while teaching.

Teaching will not be a requirement for Master’s students. However, Master’s students would be made aware of teaching opportunities when they occur and will be encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities.

Three models for completion of the teaching requirement include but are not limited to the following:

  1. A student will serve as a teaching assistant in the same course in subsequent years. This has the advantage of continuity, thereby allowing the student to focus on the improvement of specific skills in the second year.
  2. A student will serve as a teaching assistant in two different courses during their first year in the program. This has the advantage of breadth, thereby exposing the student to different teaching situations, mentors, and classes.
  3. A student will postpone the teaching assignment beyond the first year. This has the advantage of flexibility, thereby allowing a student to take advantage of a fellowship, improve English skills, makeup deficiencies, etc.

Approved by the Graduate Faculty of the Department on March 25, 1991

Procedures for Requesting Waivers/Substitutions for the Ph.D. Teaching Requirement

  1. Requests for waivers or substitutions for the teaching requirement should be made within the first year of the student’s academic program and no later than the time at which the student’s program is filed. Requests for a waiver or substitution that are made after a program is filed will not ordinarily be granted.
  2. Requests should be submitted by the student with an explanation of why the waiver or substitution is being requested. Requests should be submitted in writing, addressed to the Associate Chair, and accompanied by a supporting memorandum from the major professor.
  3. Decisions to grant or refuse requests for waivers or substitutions will be made by the Associate Chair on the basis of the general guidelines developed by the Department. Ordinarily, such decisions will be made in consultation with the Teaching Assistant Mentor.

Approved by the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology on April 26, 1999

Guidelines for Granting Waivers/Substitutions for the Ph.D. Teaching Requirement

  1. Requests for waiver or substitution of one term of the teaching requirement will ordinarily be granted if the student can document that they have had the reasonable equivalent of one term of teaching experience involving group settings and some area of the life sciences (e.g. teaching experience in another department or university). For this purpose, professional seminar and poster presentations will not be considered teaching experience, because it is assumed that all graduate students will have this type of experience.
  2. Requests for waiver or substitution for both terms of the teaching requirement will be granted rarely and in only those cases where the student can document comparable teaching experience.
  3. The Department reserves the right to refuse to appoint a graduate student to a teaching assistantship.
  4. Appeals of the decisions of the Associate Chair may be lodged with the Graduate Studies Committee. The appeal request should be addressed to the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee and copies to the Associate Chair. If desired, decisions of the Graduate Studies Committee may be appealed to the Chairperson of the Department.

Approved by the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology on April 26, 1999.

Modified June 2020

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