Teaching assistants at The American University in Cairo are graduates or graduate students who enhance their own learning experience and that of undergraduate students by assisting course instructors in facilitating learning activities for courses inside and outside the classroom. Graduates or graduate students can be awarded a teaching assistantship by a department or an academic unit through the teaching assistantship system, managed by the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies, and based on allocations made to the department or the academic unit. This award is for one semester. Teaching assistants are to be used by departments and academic units in supporting primarily undergraduate courses.
For a graduate or a graduate student to be considered for a teaching assistantship award, he/she must meet the following criteria:
- Hold a bachelor's or master's degree in a field relevant to the course(s) he/she would be supporting. In this respect, undergraduate students, as well as holders of PhDs, cannot be awarded teaching assistantships
- Have a GPA of at least 3.2 in the latest degree he/she holds
- Be competent in the field of relevance to the course(s) he/she would be supporting
- Have good English language skills and communication and interpersonal skills
Graduates or graduate students awarded a teaching assistantship must attend training aimed at improving their teaching skills. Teaching assistants are expected to carry out one or more of the following, based on course and/or departmental guidelines:
- Attend and observe classes of the course to which they are assigned
- Take attendance in classes, labs, and studios in the presence of the course instructor
- Run trials of the work to be carried out by students prior to the lab and/or studio session
- Support students in carrying out experimental and/or creative work in labs and studios
- Assist in preparing answer keys for assignments, where applicable
- Assist in grading the quantitative components of the course, weighted assessments such as assignments, quiz, reports, and exams (quantitative components are those which can be graded with a key, not requiring the grader to make judgment calls)
- Assist in recording and/or calculating students’ grades, which are not the final course grades
- Assist in uploading course material onto online course management tools (e.g. Blackboard)
- Assist in preparing course material under the guidance of the course instructor
- Conduct revision, review, and/or problem sessions which do not require the introduction of new materials to students
- Lead in-class discussions and group activities which do not require the introduction of new materials to students
- Assist in proctoring quiz and/or exams, in the presence of the course instructor
- Hold office hours
Additionally, for blended learning courses and MOOCs, teaching assistants are expected to carry out one or more of the following:
- Interact with students in online discussions and blogs, where applicable
- Responding to students queries online
- Holding online office hours
Teaching assistants should never be responsible for:
- Grading the qualitative components of the course, weighted assessments such as assignments, quiz, reports, and exams. Qualitative components are those which require the grader to make an independent judgment call
- Independently proctor quiz and/or exams. Independent proctoring entails the presence of the teaching assistant in the room where the quiz and/or exam is held while the course instructor or qualified substitute proctor is absent
- Independently introduce new material to students. A teaching assistant may not substitute for the course instructor in delivering new course material to students, where the effect is to relieve the instructor of his/her teaching responsibilities. This rule stands whether the instructor is present in the classroom and/or lab or is not present
- Record or calculate official grades. A teaching assistant cannot have access to Banner, and any grading or weighted assessments the teaching assistant carries out must be reviewed and approved by the course instructor for the grade to become official. Instructors are ultimately responsible for course grading
- Take attendance without the course instructor being present
Responsibilities of Departments Using Teaching Assistants
Departments and academic units using teaching assistants are responsible for implementing and abiding by regulations of the assistantship system, namely:
- Adhering to the eligibility criteria for teaching assistantship awards
- Conducting interviews for graduates or graduate students newly considered for teaching assistantship awards and using the Interview Form
- Developing departmental and/or course guidelines for determining teaching assistants specific responsibilities within the overall set teaching assistants responsibilities
- Submit needed documents for processing TA awards; such national ID, educational certificate and bank account certificate
- Ensuring that teaching assistants and course instructors abide to set teaching assistants responsibilities
- Provide TA assignment information onto the TA online system. Secure needed signatures for TA award processing. A total load of a teaching assistant cannot exceed 30 hours/week
- Ensuring that teaching assistants attend training workshops held for the development of teaching assistants’ skills in teaching/learning
- Conducting teaching assistants' evaluation
Responsibilities of Course Instructors Using Teaching Assistants
A faculty member is fully responsible for the delivery of his/her courses, labs, and/or studios. He/she is solely responsible for the follow-up on the progress and performance of students in the course, lab and/or studio. When using teaching assistants, course instructors assume the responsibility for the teaching assistant's performance in assisting with their courses, labs, and/or studios. In this respect, course instructors are expected to:
- Abide by the responsibilities of teaching assistants
- Mentor teaching assistants in performing duties assigned to them
- Monitor and record teaching assistants’ availability to students
- Monitor and assess teaching assistants’ performance, ensuring quality control
- Regularly meet with their teaching assistants outside of class sessions to follow up on their progress in assisting with the course. These meetings should take place at least once every two weeks during the semester
- In cases where more than one teaching assistant is used in a course, lab and/or studio, ensure that those teaching assistants work as a team, with a clearly defined division of responsibilities where applicable
For teaching assistants in multiple section courses, the different course instructors must also ensure that those teaching assistants work as a team, following the departmental guidelines in place for course coordination
With the aim of enhancing their own teaching and learning skills, new teaching assistants are required to attend training workshops delivered by the Center for Learning and Teaching at AUC held at the start of the semester.
Teaching assistants must choose one of the two alternative dates to attend the workshops.
Teaching assistants must register for one of these dates through the department/academic unit awarding them the teaching assistantship.
For Fall 2020, training will be held on the following dates:
Saturday, September 12: Mansour Hall, P024 Hatem building, from 8:30, am - 3:30 pm.
Tuesday, September 15: P007 hall, Conference Center, from 8:30 am - 3:30 pm.
Frequently Asked Questions
For frequently asked questions, click here.