GSH Section 9 - Graduate Associates

Graduate Associates Introduction - 9.0

A graduate student’s principal objective is to earn a graduate degree. The graduate school recognizes that paid apprentices for research, teaching or service activities at the university can form an enriching experience for graduate students. This section summarizes the major types of paid apprenticeships for graduate students, graduate associate (GA) appointments. In addition, during their program of study some graduate students can support themselves directly through external sources. These include federal aid and loans, sponsorships and scholarships provided by entities external to the university, (summarized in Section 9.6). Additional information may be obtained from the student’s appointing unit, the Graduate Studies Committee, or the Office of Human Resources. Each office participates in the formulation of GA rules.

General Information - 9.1

Titles. The three graduate associate (GA) titles are: Graduate Administrative Associate (GAA), Graduate Research Associate (GRA), and Graduate Teaching Associate (GTA).

Appointment as a GA contributes to the overall objective of earning a graduate degree by providing an apprenticeship experience along with financial support. This apprenticeship complements formal instruction and gives the student practical and personal experience that can be gained only by performing instructional, research, or administrative activities. It is expected that GA responsibilities will not interfere with a student’s reasonable progress (Section 5.4) toward completion of the graduate degree and may align and support the student’s graduate degree. It is important for the student, the advisor and the academic unit employing the GA, to understand that the student is to work a maximum of 20 hours per week on duties that are not directly related to their graduate degree. The monitoring of these activities will vary by unit.

Responsibilities. Specific GA responsibilities are determined by the appointing units. These may include teaching classes, recitations, and labs; advising and counseling students; grading papers; gathering and analyzing data; writing reports; and assisting faculty members and administrators.

Eligibility. To hold a GA appointment, a student must satisfy the following eligibility requirements. The student:

  • Must be pursuing a graduate degree at this university.
  • Must meet minimum Graduate School registration requirements:
    •       Take eight graded (i.e., A-E or S/U, non-audited) credit hours during each semester when a 50 percent or greater GA appointment is held, except during the summer term, when the minimum is four.
  • Take four graded (i.e., A-E or S/U, non-audited) credit hours during each semester a 25 percent appointment is held, except during the summer term, when the minimum is two.
  • For doctoral students who have achieved candidacy status, take three graded (i.e., A-E or S/U, non-audited) credit hours each semester or term when a 50 percent GA appointment is held. Students are required to be continuously enrolled after passing the candidacy examination (Section 7.7).
  • Must be in good standing in the Graduate School when the appointment or reappointment becomes effective.
  • Must maintain reasonable progress toward a graduate degree. It is the responsibility of each Graduate Studies Committee to determine what constitutes reasonable progress in its degree programs.
  • Must certify proficiency in spoken English before assuming GTA duties involving direct student contact (applies only to international and permanent resident non-English speaking graduate students).
  • Must satisfy other requirements published by the Graduate Studies Committee or appointing unit.
  • Must, if enrolled in a bachelor’s/master’s combined program, hold only a GA appointment that does not involve teaching of other students.
  • Audited courses do not count toward these requirements.

Monitoring. Responsibility for monitoring of eligibility for GA appointments is the joint responsibility of the Dean of the Graduate School and the Graduate Studies Committee. It is also the Graduate Studies Committee’s responsibility to ensure that GAs are only performing the work associated with their specific type of appointment (e.g., GRAs should not teach courses, etc.).

Terms of Appointment, Reappointment, or Termination - 9.2

Offer of Appointment. Any student accepting a GA appointment must be provided with a Recruit-to-Hire (new appointments) or Period Activity Pay (reappointments) document stating the terms of the appointment (Appendix E).

Time of Offer. The following timetable is suggested for the offer and acceptance of appointments and reappointments by appointing units and students. This timetable provides adequate time for students to make course scheduling and other necessary decisions. This university adheres to the Council of Graduate Schools’ resolution regarding GAs as summarized below:

In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15 and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the appointing unit to which the commitment has been made.

Those appointing units offering initial appointments after April 15 must make offers as early as possible during the spring semester and summer term.

Period of Appointment. A typical GA appointment is for autumn and spring semesters; however, work patterns are determined locally and may vary due to summer term staffing needs. GAs should be hired for no less than a full semester, unless prior approval has been established with the Graduate School. The following appointment dates should be used to direct the efforts for GAs each semester:

  • Autumn Semester: August 16 through December 31. 
  • Spring Semester: January 1 through one business day prior to the start of Summer Term.
  • Summer Term: The first day of Summer Term through August 15.

Note: these dates may be variable depending upon the day of the week on which they fall.

Percent Time. The majority of GAs are appointed at 50 percent time with an average load of 20 hours per week over the duration of the appointment period. Appointments that routinely require more than 20 hours per week must be made at the appropriate percentage level. (For instance, an appointment regularly requiring 22 hours per week must be made at the 55 percent level and be paid accordingly.) A GA may not hold an appointment for more than 75 percent time, whether as a single appointment or combination of appointments.

International students may not be appointed for more than 50 percent time either as a single or a combined appointment.

GAs may be appointed for less than 50 percent (partial appointment). With the approval of the Graduate School, GAs may be appointed at 25 percent time, averaging 10 hours per week; however, only one half of their fees will be authorized.

Stipend. This university establishes a minimum stipend for GAs. The current minimum stipend is $21,280 (or $2,364.44 per month) for a nine-month 50 percent GA appointment and $28,373.33 (or $2,364.44 per month) for a 12-month 50 percent GA appointment. For appointments greater or less than 50 percent, the stipend amount should be prorated accordingly (e.g., $3,546.66 per month for a 75 percent appointment, $1,182.22 per month for a 25 percent appointment, etc.). Appointing units determine stipend levels above the minimum within university stipend policies. Levels of responsibility, years of experience, progress toward a graduate degree, and performance as a GA are the most common factors used by appointing units to determine stipend levels.

Resignations. Doctoral candidates who have successfully completed all program degree requirements and responsibilities associated with their GA appointment or fellowship may petition the Graduate School for early termination of their GA appointment. This petition must include confirmation from the doctoral candidate’s advisor and Graduate Studies Committee Chair that all program degree requirements have been completed and that the program supports the early termination of the GA appointment. If the Graduate School approves the doctoral candidate’s petition, all benefits associated with the graduate associate or fellow appointment will remain on the doctoral student’s account for the duration of the appointment period.

Reappointments. Academic performance and prior GA performance are among the criteria for reappointment. If a reappointment is not made, the appointing unit must notify the GA as soon as possible. Reasons for non-reappointment must be stated in writing. For two weeks after the date of the non-reappointment notice, a GA has the right to initiate an appeal to the head of the appointing unit.

Termination Criteria. GA appointments may be terminated prior to the end of the appointment period only with the written approval of the Graduate School. If a GA appointment is terminated prior to the end of the appointment period for any of the following reasons, the GA will no longer be enrolled in the Graduate School. This has significant consequences for the student, including a transfer of the cost of the tuition and fees for the semester to the student.

  • The GA is registered for fewer than the number of credit hours required for a GA appointment or fewer than three credit hours for a doctoral student who has achieved candidacy status.
  • Performance or conduct as a GA is determined to be unsatisfactory by the appointing unit; the appointing unit has the discretion to reassign or relocate the GA during the time that the University is investigating or reviewing the GA relating to performance and/or conduct.
  • Unsatisfactory academic performance.
  • Breach of the Code of Student Conduct and/or university policies.
  • The appointing unit has insufficient funds.

Volunteer GAs. Under no circumstances should graduate students serve as “volunteer” GAs where they are expected to provide service with no stipend, at a stipend not commensurate with the expected load, or without an appropriate payment of tuition and fees. Course credit cannot be awarded to a student performing in the role of a GA in lieu of a stipend.

GAs Teaching Graduate Students. Graduate associates may not be assigned to teach courses in which graduate students are enrolled for graduate credit.

Outside Employment. A GA should determine whether the Graduate Studies Committee of their program has an established policy governing this issue. Graduate Studies Committees are encouraged to establish a policy on outside employment for graduate associates. A GA who is considering additional employment outside the university should consult their graduate advisor. A careful evaluation of the impact of additional commitments on the student’s academic progress and on the student’s GA responsibilities should be made. A GA may not hold any staff position at the university, nor may a GA concurrently hold an hourly student assistant position.

Appointing Unit Responsibilities - 9.3

Within the above-stated rules, each unit appointing GAs must develop, publish, and make available its GA rules, processes, and procedures. In addition, all GAs should be informed in writing of the person or persons from whom they should seek guidance and advice about their GA responsibilities. Each unit appointing GAs must provide the following information or direct students to a publication where it is located:

  • Section 9, Appendix E, and Appendix F of the Graduate School Handbook.
  • Local criteria and procedures for selecting GAs.
  • Local criteria and procedures for reappointing GAs.
  • Period of appointment.
  • Availability of summer term appointments.
  • Stipend levels.
  • Dates for notifying students of appointments and for receiving acceptances or refusals.
  • Copies of any Recruit-to-Hire and/or Period Activity Pay documents.
  • Criteria and procedures for evaluating and reporting GA performance, including information about the Student Evaluation of Instruction (SEI) form and other student evaluations.
  • Criteria and procedures for terminating GA appointments.
  • Grievance procedures within the appointing unit, including where to address concerns and those individuals at the local and college levels charged with resolving issues.
  • Appropriate space and facilities necessary to carry out GA teaching, research, or administrative duties.

Petitions: Graduate Associate Policies - 9.4

The GSCC or head of the appointing unit considers petitions concerning waiver of rules established by the appointing unit.

Grievances Procedures - 9.5

It is generally preferable for problems related to GA appointments to be settled at the local level. Regular, clear communication between GAs and their advisors and supervisors is key to establishing and maintaining an effective work environment. However, if talking to an advisor or immediate supervisor does not resolve a problem or potential grievance, GAs are encouraged to consult Graduate Program Handbooks and other materials provided by the appointing unit to ascertain grievance guidelines that may be in place. Graduate Studies Committee Chairs and heads of appointing units can also provide information about such program guidelines. If resolution of the issue cannot be mediated locally, Graduate Studies Chairs should request assistance from the department, the college, and the Graduate School. The staff of the Graduate School is also available to provide consultation with graduate students about problems or potential grievances. There may be instances in which recourse to these persons does not provide resolution. The Graduate Council has established grievance procedures (see Appendix D).

Externally Funded Students - 9.6

There are several types of external funding that graduate students may receive from sources outside the university. Externally funded graduate students may not be eligible for the Health subsidy provided to Graduate Associates.  Such externally funded students are not hired as GAs. The payment of tuition and fees and student stipend levels will be independently dictated by these external funding agencies. A few examples include:

  • The Post-9/11 GI Bill® provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill®.
  • Government sponsorship. US or non-US government organizations will often directly pay Ohio State for the cost of tuition and fees.
  • Industry sponsorship. Employees of private sector may avail of graduate tuition and fees as an employee benefit from their employer.
Last updated