Students in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities may serve as Undergraduate Teaching Assistantships (UGTAs) in classes in their area of study to enhance their experiential learning and to build their leadership skills.
By serving as a UGTA, a student will engage the course material at a deep level; develop interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills; and receive close mentoring from a faculty member in their field.
Students serving as UGTAs normally enroll for academic credit, through a directed study or practicum, as appropriate. In some cases, stipend compensation may be available. Each department and program has its own qualifications for UGTAs. Interested students should contact the department’s Undergraduate Program Director. Typically, at a minimum, students should have completed the course in which they will TA with a very high grade (usually an A). They will also have outstanding communication and interpersonal skills.
Roles and Responsibilities of the UGTA
UGTAs assist faculty members in designing and delivering courses for fellow undergraduates. Specific duties will vary according to the needs of the program, course, and faculty members, but in general, UGTAs will engage in some combination of the following:
- helping the faculty member design the course and develop the syllabus;
- attending class sessions (normally required);
- holding office hours to confer with students;
- facilitating classroom discussion and activities;
- running study, review, or recitation sections;
- giving occasional lectures;
- proctoring exams and quizzes; and
- providing feedback on and supervised evaluation of student work.
UGTAs must understand university regulations and federal law regarding student privacy and confidentiality, the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and the relevant policies on the Northeastern University Policies Page. General guidelines include the following:
- UGTAs must never share personal or academic information about students (including grades) with anyone other than the faculty member.
- UGTAs who have concerns about students’ personal or academic wellbeing should report those concerns immediately to the faculty member.
- When UGTAs are in possession of student work, they must secure it and not allow it to be viewed by others.
Students serving as UGTAs will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, which can be found here. UGTAs should not, under any circumstances, be involved in romantic relationships with students in the course for which they are assisting. They should report to the supervising faculty member any potential conflicts of interest resulting from personal relationships, past or present, with other students. The university’s sexual harassment and non-fraternization policies can be found on the Northeastern University Policies Page.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Supervising Faculty Member
The supervising faculty member will meet regularly with the UGTA and provide ongoing training and mentorship related both to the specific content of the course and to teaching practice more generally. If students are receiving academic credit, faculty members should provide opportunities for research, writing, and reflection in addition to teaching practice.
Faculty, as instructors of record, are responsible for assigning and submitting accurate grades in their courses. Any evaluation provided by UGTAs must be closely supervised by faculty members to ensure fairness and consistency and should be confined to objective or, alternatively, strictly formative or low-stakes assessments. In most cases, the faculty member should review any assessments conducted by UGTAs before assigning grades or returning student work.