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UGTA Resources for Department Administrators

Undergraduate Course Assistants (UGCAs) refer to any undergraduate student worker who is providing instructional support for undergraduate courses. (Note: UGCAs may also be called "peer mentors" or "learning assistants".) As near-peers, UGCAs are a valuable part of many CNS course teaching teams, as they can provide supportive, relatable academic assistance for students. The following outlines CNS policies for the usage of UGCAs. 

  • CNS undergraduate academic assistants will be divided into three categories: Grader, UGCA Level 1, UGCA Level 2.
  • The following gives the minimum pay for CNS undergraduate academic assistants:
                                      Level Minimum Pay
                                     Grader $10/hr
                                    UGCA Level 1 $10/hr
                                    UGCA Level 2       $11/hr
  •  Every CNS department employing UGCA must…
    • provide a staff / faculty contact person and/or website for prospective UGTA candidates
    • have an official UGCA application form [Sample template for UGCA Application]
    • have a written list of UGCAselection criteria
  • Departments can decide which courses are appropriate to have a UGCA and what qualifications a UGCA should have to help with a particular course.
  • It is recommended that departments hire UGCAs with sufficient academic background for the courses they will assist with. In particular, freshman should not be hired as UGCAs.
  • It is recommended that departments have a staff point person who manages UGCAappointments. That person could also be the official supervisor of the UGCAs and approve timesheets.
  • Coming soon: Portal for department administrators to access faculty evaluations of UGCAs. This portal can help ensure you are hiring students with a great performance record!
  • Training is required for all UGTAs. This training can be offered by departments or departments can chose to send their students to a centrally offered CNS/TIDES training. UGTA Training must address the following required components:
  • It is expected that most departments (and TIDES) will offer more than just the required training components.
  • It is recommended that UGCAs who lead discussion sections or lab sections solo be given emergency response training.
  • Students can complete the UGCA training once and have that count for their entire time at UT. Note: Departments can opt to require students take their own departmental training, even if the student was trained by another department, since there may be important department specific training needs.
  • The TIDES online concentration in teaching and mentoring is available to UGCA students interested in intermediate/advanced pedagogy training.
  • It is recommended that departments create a community for in-service UGCAs, including a reflective component.
  • Coming soon: Links to details about various departmental UGCA training course content. This can help you decide if students trained by other departments need to have additional training in your department.
  • The following are acceptable roles for a CNS UGCA:
    • Facilitate class activities (walk around, answer questions, check-in with groups, distribute supplies, etc.)
    • Grade (UGTA grading should be done with faculty supervision and input. Faculty should supply or approve rubrics for non-binary grading and spot check UGCA grading. Final grades should be determined by the faculty and faculty should be responsible for all questions on grades.)
    • Hold office hours
    • Run discussion section (Must be under the direct supervision of the instructor of record.)
    • Run laboratory section (Must have an appointed faculty or staff assigned to the course/lab who is physically nearby and on-call to assist in short order. Additional training should be required for UGCAs supervising a laboratory.)
    • Run supplementary review sessions 
    • Prepare review guides or supplementary problem sets
    • Prepare and set-up laboratory supplies
    • Prepare instructional materials and make copies
    • Proctor (Must have an appointed faculty who is physically nearby and on-call to assist in short order.)
    • Drive vehicles for field courses and field trips
  • All students serving as UGCAs should either be paid employees or registered for course credit for the UGCA experience. Note: Departments may utilize their own courses or use the variable-hour (0-6 hour) NSC course for this purpose.
  • Students serving as unpaid UGCAs for credit should only be given responsibilities with clear learning experience value. UGCAs working for course credit should not be making copies or doing other menial office tasks.
  • Unpaid UGCAs should be used with caution. Not all students have the financial ability to take unpaid positions and thus such students would not have access to UGCA experiential learning, career building opportunities. Departments should be mindful of equity of access in designing compensation for departmental UGTA usage.