Teaching and Graduate Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships

The English department encourages our graduate students at both MA and PhD levels to apply for teaching assistantships, and we consider the professional support and teaching opportunities we offer second-to-none. We have been charged by the university to improve student literacy by putting all undergraduates through a minimum of three writing courses at the 100 and 200 level, and so there are many opportunities for graduate students to teach classes. It is important to note that though the position title is “Teaching Assistant,” these instructors really do not “assist” anyone other than their students. The classes they teach are their own, and they are responsible for all content and grading. While the department’s first priority is to staff the many sections of freshman composition it is required to teach each semester, TAs may also teach more advanced courses in composition, technical and professional writing, creative writing and literature.

A little more information: A Teaching Assistantship is a financial award to a graduate student for part-time work in teaching or research while the student pursues study toward an advanced degree. Teaching Assistants earn a stipend and receive a tuition remission up to 12 credits per semester. Current information on TA salaries can be found on the OGS website here. During their first semester, first-year TAs at both the MA and PhD levels teach one section of freshman composition and are required to take English 537 (Teaching Composition), a graded, three-credit practicum that counts towards the required pedagogy or professional studies hours of your degree program. After their first semester, TAs teach two sections per semester. The award of a Teaching Assistantship also includes graduate student health insurance.

The Department holds a teacher orientation each semester, and runs a training program and a summative and formative evaluation process so that its Teaching Assistants maintain effective practices and standards. Teaching Assistantships begin in the Fall semester, and applications are due by January 15, as part of the admission process. You should include two recommendation letters from someone willing to write about your potential as a teacher as well as an expository writing sample of 10-15 pages.

To apply for an A&S Teaching Assistantship, please consult with the Graduate Director in your home department.

Teaching Assistants must be registered for 6 hours of graduate credit in both Fall and Spring semesters and 3 hours if they teach during the Summer term. You can find all there is to know about English department Teaching Assistantships in the Graduate Handbook, pp 48 – 62.


Graduate Assistantships

The English department not only provides Teaching Assistantships, but offers several Graduate Assistantships, some with a course release, others with extra pay, and all offering the chance to gain valuable experience in research, administration, and teaching outside of the Core Writing program. The department’s standing GAships are listed below; each year other opportunities become available subject to funding and departmental need.

In addition to the list below, GAships and readerships are often created to support the research and teaching of individual faculty, special projects, and departmental initiatives. English graduate students also often find GAships in other departments and programs such as CAPS, the Anderson School of Management, the Feminist Research Institute, Women Studies, the Health, Medicine and Human Values Program, and others.

Standing Departmental and Affiliate Program GAships

Rhetoric and Writing
First-year Writing/RW GA
Core Writing/RW GA
Writing Across Communities/RW GA

Creative Writing
Works in Progress/Poets and Writers organizer
Taos Summer Writer’s Workshop
Blue Mesa Review Editor
Blue Mesa Review Associate Editor

Academic Programs
Undergraduate Office GA
Graduate Office GA
American Literary Realism Editorial Assistant

Medieval Studies
Medieval Outreach Fellow
Medieval Scholar Support (Spring only)
Webmaster for MEGSE

For more information about Graduate Assistantships, see pp 47 – 48 of the Graduate Handbook.


Assistantship Reappointments

By definition, assistantships are term appointments. Students should not assume that they will be reappointed merely because notification of termination at the end of the appointment period has not been received. Reappointments are contingent upon the continuing availability of funds, satisfactory performance of the assistantship recipient, relevant departmental policies and academic eligibility.


Termination of Assistantship Before End of Appointment Period

The graduate unit will make notification of termination to the student and forward a copy of this notification to the Dean of Graduate Studies. In the case of students who are placed on academic probation, Graduate Studies will terminate the contract and notify the appropriate graduate unit and the student. The stipend for assignments that are terminated before the end of the appointment will be prorated for the period during which the assistant was employed.


Medical Leave While Holding an Assistantship

Assistantship recipients who suffer a serious medical condition requiring absence from assigned duties for two consecutive weeks may be granted, upon written request to the head of the graduate unit, a two-week sick leave without loss of stipend. After this leave, the student will be paid only for the time the assistantship responsibilities were fulfilled. The graduate unit must notify the Graduate Studies office whenever it grants an assistant a two-week sick leave, as well as the date that the assistant returns to his/her position.


Absence without Leave

Individuals who are awarded a contract and receive payment from the University of New Mexico, but who do not attend or are absent without leave will be required to repay any stipend collected from UNM.


Grievance Procedures for Students Holding Assistantships

Student who hold assistantships and are seeking direction for submitting a formal grievance related to the assistantship are referred to the section on Academic Freedom of Graduate, Teaching, Research and Special Assistants in the University of New Mexico Faculty Handbook.