Chapter 16 - Teaching Assistantships

A teaching assistantship is a contractual agreement between the School and a graduate student for a specified number of hours of teaching support during a term. All teaching assistantships are governed by the PSAC TA TF 901 Collective Agreement.  Teaching assistantships serve several functions:

  • Most importantly, they provide teaching support to the undergraduate programs of the School;
  • they are a basic component of financial support for graduate students;
  • and they are an important part of the professional development of graduate students.

However, it is important to stress that the stipend received by teaching assistants is payment for services and not an award.

Provincial regulations require that full-time graduate students work no more than ten hours per week, not to exceed 130 hours per term. The current rate of pay for Graduate Teaching Assistantships is $37.88 per hour.

All new teaching assistants may attend the education session provided by SKHS during Orientation Week.  The session is led by experienced TAs in the School facilitated by the SKHS Graduate Coordinator.

Teaching assistantships come in several different forms and may involve one or more of the following responsibilities:

  • Laboratory Instructor - Formal laboratory sessions are held in biomechanics, exercise physiology and motor learning. Usually lab instructors lead undergraduate students through structured laboratory assignments. They may also provide instruction and supervision related to use of equipment and treatment of volunteer test subjects, and they may give assistance in the analysis and interpretation of data. Marking and administrative duties may also be assigned as part of this type of TA. In some instances, preparation time may be included in the hours.
  • Laboratory Demonstrator - This assignment usually involves assisting course instructors in biomechanics, exercise physiology or motor learning by providing demonstrations to undergraduate classes. These demonstrations may teach the use of equipment and testing protocols, or illustrate typical responses of human subjects to different exercise situations. The TA may be involved in providing background talks to the class, setting up equipment, recording data or explaining analysis of data collected during the demonstration. Again, preparation time, attending lectures, marking and/or administrative duties may be assigned as part of this type of TA.
  • Seminar Leader/Marker - Teaching assistants in the social sciences are often assigned responsibilities either as markers, or as a combination of marker/seminar leader. Seminar leaders are normally allocated one hour of preparation time for each seminar. With reference to marking, the time that a student devotes to marking each paper should be agreed upon mutually by the TA and the course instructor.

Teaching assistants and course instructors may agree that it is necessary for TAs to attend course lectures to prepare to lead seminars.

If it becomes apparent that the time committed to a TA assignment, substantially exceeds the original hourly allocation per week, the TA should inform the course instructor.  If the matter cannot be resolved, it should be referred to the Graduate Coordinator.  All changes must be represented on a revised Teaching Assistant Agreement and filed appropriately.

When graduate students have marking responsibilities in more than one course per term (which is common), course instructors should attempt to coordinate the due dates of the TA assignment duties so that they do not fall at the same time.

Teaching Assistantship assignments are paid to students through the Queen’s University Electronic Payroll System. The SKHS Graduate Assistant prepares the contract on line; the Director approves utilizing their electronic signature, the student accepts utilizing their electronic signature; and the Department of Human Resources clears the contract for payment utilizing their electronic signature. A photocopy of each completed contract will be placed in the student’s official file in the SKHS Graduate Office. Students may print out copies of their own contracts should they choose to do so.