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Terms of Appointment, Reappointment, or Termination

Section 9.2 of the Graduate School Handbook

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 for a nine-month 50 percent GA appointment and $28,373.33 for a 12-month 50 percent GA appointment. 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.