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D 9598-9605

DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY 



PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE STUDENT ACADEMIC EMPLOYEES POLICIES 12.C.3 and 12.C.4 IN THE HANDBOOK OF OPERATING PROCEDURES

On behalf of the Responsibilities, Rights, and Welfare of Graduate Student Academic Employees Committee (C-12 committee), Professor Andrea Gore (pharmacy) submitted the following proposal recommending changes to Policies 12.C.3 and 12.C.4 in the Handbook of Operating Procedures. On March 30, 2012, the C-12 committee approved the revisions to the policies. The Faculty Council has the authority to approve this legislation on behalf of the General Faculty. The authority to grant final approval resides with UT System.

The secretary has classified this proposal as legislation of general interest to more than one college or school and is being put forward to the Faculty Council on a no-protest basis. If no objection is filed with the Office of the General Faculty by April 13, 2012, the legislation will be held to have been approved by the Faculty Council. If an objection is filed within the prescribed period, the legislation will be presented to the Faculty Council at its April 23 meeting. The objection, with reasons, must be signed by a member of the Faculty Council.
SAG signature
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
General Faculty and Faculty Council



Distributed through the Faculty Council website on April 2, 2012.

 

 

PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE STUDENT ACADEMIC EMPLOYEES POLICIES 12.C.3 and 12.C.4IN THE HANDBOOK OF OPERATING PROCEDURES

Background:

A working group was convened by the provost’s office to address gaps in the Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) 12.C.3 and 12.C.4 about appointments of undergraduate students in academic titles. Specifically, the group noted that students in job codes 0066, 0070, and 0095 (tutor; undergraduate assistant; and undergraduate research assistant, respectively) had open issues regarding the following:

  1. Enrollment requirements for long semesters and the summer;
  2. A definition of “good academic standing;”
  3. Whether students could work during the summer after graduation;
  4. Mechanism for payment (monthly, hourly);
  5. Grievance processes.

The working group submitted its recommendation to the Committee on Responsibilities, Rights and Welfare of Graduate Student Employees (C-12), as this is the committee charged with the “advisory capacity for institutional policy and governance” for these titles.

The C-12 committee discussed the working group’s recommendations and implemented then as new language in HOP 12.C.3 and 12.C.4. Most of the recommendations were accepted, with minor modifications. Some additional clarifications about both graduate and undergraduate employees were also addressed during the revision process.

Summary:

The spirit of the committee’s recommendations is to clarify the nature of appointments, expectations, and to provide a policy for grievances. In addition, the question about employment during the summer after graduation has now been addressed and allows undergraduate students to benefit from such employment. Several other inconsistencies in policy have also been reconciled.

12.C.3 GRADUATE AND UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH ASSISTANTS

A. Policy Statement
It is the policy of The University of Texas at Austin that individuals appointed as graduate or undergraduate research assistants at UT Austin abide by the policies stated below.

B. Scope
This policy applies to all individuals appointed as graduate or undergraduate research assistants at UT Austin.

C. Graduate and Undergraduate Research Assistants
Graduate and undergraduate research assistants are students who, in the course of their academic training, are employed in part-time research positions, where the student's academic training is based in part on the research performed or where the research duties being performed will assist the student in fulfilling his or her degree requirements. All duties and services of graduate and undergraduate research assistants are to be carried out under the supervision and direction of faculty or administration.

D. Qualifications
1. Graduate [R]research assistants must be currently enrolled as a student as a condition of employment.
2. Undergraduate research assistants must be currently enrolled, in good academic standing, and must be making satisfactory progress toward their undergraduate degree. Fulltime status (12 hours of enrollment) is required to hold an undergraduate academic position during long semesters. Good academic standing is defined by a GPA of at least 2.0. Failure to meet these requirements will be grounds for withdrawal of the appointment and termination of employment status in this title.
3. Graduate research assistants must be graduate students in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress toward an advanced degree.
4. A graduate research assistant is expected to remain registered in courses that count toward the graduate degree for at least nine semester hours during the long session semesters of employment and three semester hours in any summer term when employed during the summer session.
5. Failure to meet the enrollment requirements as set forth above, or any withdrawal or change of registration to a course load below the applicable enrollment minimum, which is not approved in advance by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, will be grounds for withdrawal of a graduate student's service appointment and termination of employment status in this title.

E. Selection and Appointment
1. All applicants must receive equal consideration based on established qualification standards.
2. Whenever possible, announcements of the availability during the next fiscal year of all research assistantships will be made early in the spring semester by the research director. Insofar as possible, the number, type, curricular area and associated pay rate should be announced. Copies of the announcement will be made available upon request to any interested persons.
3. After appropriate departmental or research center review of the applications received, formal offers of appointment should be made to selected applicants.

F. Terms of Appointment
1. Appointments of research assistants must be made on the basis of percent time employment and are normally made on a semester-by-semester basis.
2. The title and rate of pay will be according to the student's level of academic attainment:
a. 0090 - graduate research assistant - a holder of a Bachelor's degree, with or without prior research experience.
b. 0095 - undergraduate research assistant - a student enrolled for an undergraduate degree program.
3. Once established for the fiscal year, the base annual rate for graduate research assistants will remain the same for the term of the appointment, except that changes in rate of pay and stipend are permitted effective January 16; otherwise, changes in rate of pay and stipend will be approved only for September 1 of the following academic year appointment.
4. Appointments for graduate research assistants may not exceed 20 hours per week during the first two long-session semesters of graduate study at the University and 30 hours per week during subsequent long-session semesters.
5. Schedules setting forth stipends to be paid to research assistants will be published annually (Policy Memorandum 8.102 - "Rates of Pay for Undergraduate and Graduate Research Assistants"). Experienced research assistants and those who are conducting independent research or other special responsibilities should be appointed in the upper range of the appropriate salary scale. Use of state funds appropriated for Resident Instruction - Faculty Salaries is not authorized for such appointments.

G. Employment of Research Assistants in the Summer Session
Research assistants may be employed in the summer session, subject to the same policies, criteria, and qualifications as are applicable in the long session.
1. Graduate Students
a. During the summer session, as during the rest of the academic year, holders of research assistant appointments are expected to continue to make satisfactory progress toward completion of their degree programs and must [are also expected to] be enrolled for three (3) credit hours during any term of the summer session.
b.[2.] As in the long semesters of the academic year, students who are not enrolled during the summer are not eligible for academic research assistant appointments.
c. [3. Graduate students employed in research related to their degree program are not eligible for employment under a classified employee title and must be appointed as graduate research assistants.] A graduate student engaged in any form of academic research, whether related to the student's degree program or not, must be appointed on a graduate research assistant title.  Classified titles cannot be used to bypass the registration requirement for graduate students conducting research.
2. Undergraduate Students
a. A student may hold an undergraduate academic title during the summer if that student either: (1) was enrolled in at least 12 credit hours during the previous spring semester; or (2) is enrolled in at least 3 credit hours over the course of the summer session.
b. Undergraduate students who were enrolled fulltime in the spring semester and who graduated at the end of the spring semester may work in undergraduate academic titles until August 31 of the year in which they graduate. Students who have graduated may be eligible for student insurance coverage if:
(1) The student purchased coverage at the beginning of the fall semester for the full academic year.
(2) The student purchased spring/summer coverage.
(3) If the student purchased spring-only or 3rd Quarter-only coverage, the student has the option of continuing coverage in the summer without summer enrollment. Coverage must be purchased outside of a blackout period, typically May 1-31.

H. Duties of Research Assistants
1.   The principal duty of a research assistant is to contribute under supervision to a program of departmental or interdepartmental research. The appointment is made with the understanding that the required services will contribute to the professional training of the student. While graduate research assistants are committed to performing assigned services, their work is usually suitable for and may be used as part of their report, thesis, or dissertation research to the extent approved by the faculty supervisor.
2.  Research assistants shall engage in research as assistants to members of the faculty or administration of the University. Appointment to one of these positions is usually made only in the student's own department or in another unit of the University where the research to be undertaken is related to the student's field of study. Appropriate service for an advanced research assistant may include the carrying out of independent research under the guidance of a faculty member.

I. Other Employment Information
1.  Graduate and undergraduate research assistants are subject to the Rules and Regulations of The University of Texas System Board of Regents, the University, the Graduate School and/or the college/school and department in which they hold employment. In the performance of their duties they must abide by and adhere to the academic and instructional criteria and policies established by the department in which they render service.
2.  The Responsibilities, Rights, and Welfare of Graduate Student Academic Employees Committee (a standing committee of the General Faculty) serves in an advisory capacity for institutional policy and governance relating to the affairs of graduate and undergraduate research assistants.
3. Graduate research assistants, as student academic employees, may [are eligible]:
a. [to] participate in the University Group Insurance Program in accordance with the current eligibility criteria for the Program;
b. [to] purchase parking permits in designated areas;
c. [to] participate in certain other benefits in accordance with existing policy criteria; and
d. [may] be eligible for tuition benefits (see Policy Number 8.13 of the Original Handbook of Operating Procedures - "Request for Exemption From Non-resident Tuition on the Basis of Employment or Military Assignment").
4. Departments may assign students to undergraduate academic titles on a monthly pay basis.  A student paid on a monthly basis may be eligible for non-resident tuition waiver. The Official Time Report for Monthly Employees can be used. Undergraduate Research Assistants are currently classified as FLSA-exempt, but the use of timesheets is strongly recommended.
5. As with all other student academic appointments, graduate and undergraduate research assistant appointments do not provide for accrued vacation or sick leave entitlements or Teacher Retirement System membership. Time off due to illness or during academic breaks will be arranged with the approval of the student's supervising professor or project director.
6 [5.] Graduate students appointed to these positions should consult the Office of Human Resource Services for information concerning benefits and conditions of employment.

J. Reappointment
A department or research center may reappoint a research assistant if it is determined that reappointment is to the benefit of the institution.  Prior service does not guarantee reappointment to a research assistant position.
1. A research assistant may be considered for reappointment if he or she:
a. has provided satisfactory prior service and,
b. is in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress toward his/her [their] degree. In the case of graduate level appointments, satisfactory progress includes continuing enrollment in the UT Austin Graduate School or the Red McCombs School of Business, satisfactory completion of coursework in a graduate program, satisfactory and timely completion of the examinations customary in the graduate program, and also steady and substantial progress toward completion of the report, thesis or dissertation. Each graduate studies committee shall set forth general guidelines describing what constitutes satisfactory progress in its various fields of graduate training.
2. No graduate student shall be eligible for employment as a graduate research assistant for more than fourteen (14) long-session academic semesters. The total combined period of service of a graduate research assistant, teaching assistant, academic assistant, assistant (graduate), or assistant instructor shall not exceed fourteen (14) long-session academic semesters.

K. Dismissal and Termination of Appointment and Procedure for Grievances
1. Research assistant appointments are usually terminated only at the end of a designated period of appointment.  However, this policy statement does not create contractual obligations.  In the event that an appointee becomes ineligible for continued appointment through unsatisfactory academic progress, failure to maintain the minimum required credit hours per semester, or through failure to continue enrollment as a student, the appointment may be terminated at any time.  Appointments may also be terminated at any time for nonacademic reasons, such as for failure to perform the required duties of the position.
2. Every effort should be made to resolve grievances informally between the research assistant and the employing faculty member.  When serious issues cannot be resolved informally, the research assistant shall have recourse to the grievance procedure outlined below in Sections 3 and 4.
3. Employment disputes by research assistants are handled according to departmental review policies by the department employing the research assistant.  The order of review for employment disputes is as follows:
a.  the faculty member employing the research assistant;
b. the program graduate adviser (for graduate students);
c. the department chair or head of the [department] hiring unit employing the research assistant; [and]
d. the dean of the college or school employing the research assistant.
4. The decision of the college or school dean is final.

For assistance:    Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies at 512/471-4511 or to http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/.

Additional guidelines are available on the Student Employee section of the HRS website (http://www.utexas.edu/hr/student/):
a. Performance Guidelines for Student Employees
b. Student Employee Separations Before End of Assignment table
c. Process Chart for Issues Involving Student Employees

12.C.4 ACADEMIC ASSISTANTS, ASSISTANTS, AND TUTORS

{No changes to sections A through E.}

F. Assistants
1. Qualifications
To be eligible for appointment as an assistant, an individual must be either an undergraduate or a graduate student.
a. [If an undergraduate, he or she must be enrolled in the University working toward the first baccalaureate degree, and be in good academic standing.] Undergraduate student appointments (job code 0070) are subject to the following rules:
(1) The student must be currently enrolled and must be making satisfactory progress toward his or her undergraduate degree. Fulltime status (12 hours of enrollment) is required to hold this position during long semesters. Good academic standing for undergraduates is defined by at least a 2.0 GPA. Failure to meet these requirements will be grounds for withdrawal of the appointment and termination of employment status in this title.
(2) A student may work in an undergraduate academic title during the summer if that student either: (1) was enrolled in at least 12 credit hours during the previous spring semester; or (2) is enrolled in at least 3 credit hours over the course of the summer session.
(3) Undergraduate students who were enrolled fulltime in the spring semester and who graduated at the end of the spring semester may work in undergraduate academic titles until August 31 of the year in which they graduate. Students who have graduated may be eligible for student insurance coverage if:
a. The student purchased coverage at the beginning of the fall semester for the full academic year.
b. The student purchased spring/summer coverage.
c. If the student purchased spring-only or 3rd Quarter-only coverage, the student has the option of continuing coverage in the summer without summer enrollment. Coverage must be purchased outside of a blackout period, typically May 1-31.
b. If a graduate student, he or she must:
(1) be a degree-seeking graduate student without existing admissions conditions imposed by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies;
(2) be in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress toward a graduate degree;
(3) remain registered in courses that count toward the graduate degree for at least nine semester hours during each semester of the long session; and
(4) if holding an appointment for any summer term (first six weeks, second six weeks, nine weeks or twelve weeks), must remain registered in courses that count toward the graduate degree for at least three summer hours during any term of the summer session.
2. Terms of Appointment
Assistants must be paid from Wages accounts and at hourly rates as provided in Policy Memorandum 8.105 - "Rates of Pay for Academic Assistants, Assistants, and Tutors."

Departments may assign students to undergraduate academic titles on a monthly pay basis.  A student paid on a monthly basis may be eligible for non-resident tuition waiver.  Assistants and Tutors with this type of assignment do need to complete timesheets, as required by HOP 9.37.  The Official Time Report for Monthly Employees can be used.
3. Duties
Assistants may grade papers; do clerical work directly concerned with record-keeping for a class; prepare class or laboratory materials, experiments or demonstrations; do non instructional work in laboratory courses or sections; or assume other subordinate functions directly related to a class. They may not be allowed to teach classes, to give quizzes or examinations unless the instructor is present and personally supervising, or to do general clerical or office work.

G. Tutors
1. Qualifications
To be eligible for appointment as a tutor, an individual student must be either an undergraduate or a graduate student in good academic standing. The appointment to the title of tutor must be approved by the dean.
a. Undergraduate student appointments (job code 0066) are subject to the following rules:
(1) The student must be currently enrolled and must be making satisfactory progress toward his or her undergraduate degree. Fulltime status (12 hours of enrollment) is required to hold this position during long semesters. Good academic standing is defined by at least a 2.0 GPA. Failure to meet these requirements will be grounds for withdrawal of the appointment and termination of employment status in this title.
(2) A student may work in an undergraduate academic title during the summer if that student either: (1) was enrolled in at least 12 credit hours during the previous spring semester; or (2) is enrolled in at least 3 credit hours over the course of the summer session.
(3) Undergraduate students who were enrolled fulltime in the spring semester and who graduated at the end of the spring semester may work in undergraduate academic titles until August 31 of the year in which they graduate. Students who have graduated may be eligible for student insurance coverage if:
a. The student purchased coverage at the beginning of the fall semester for the full academic year.
b. The student purchased spring/summer coverage.
c. If the student purchased spring-only or 3rd Quarter-only coverage, the student has the option of continuing coverage in the summer without summer enrollment. Coverage must be purchased outside of a blackout period, typically May 1-31.
2. Terms of Appointment
Tutors must be paid from Wages accounts and at hourly rates as provided in Policy Memorandum 8.105 - "Rates of Pay for Academic Assistants, Assistants, and Tutors."
3. Duties
Duties of the tutor are to provide supervised tutoring on an individual or a small group basis to students who show evidence of need for such services. They must meet with their supervisor for evaluation, submit progress reports on students, maintain regular group or individual tutorial sessions, and consult with offices, agencies, departments and faculty members when needed.

H. Dismissal and Termination of Appointment and Procedure for Grievances
1. Academic assistant, assistant, or tutor appointments are usually terminated only at the end of a designated period of appointment.  However, this policy statement does not create contractual obligations.  In the event that an appointee becomes ineligible for continued appointment through unsatisfactory academic progress, failure to maintain the minimum required credit hours per semester, or through failure to continue enrollment as a student, the appointment may be terminated at any time.  Appointments may also be terminated at any time for nonacademic reasons, such as for failure to perform the required duties of the position.
2. Every effort should be made to resolve grievances informally between the student and the employing faculty member.  When serious issues cannot be resolved informally, the research assistant shall have recourse to the grievance procedure outlined below in Sections 3 and 4.
3. Employment disputes are handled according to departmental review policies by the department employing the research assistant.  The order of review for employment disputes is as follows:
a. the faculty or staff member supervising the student;
b. the program graduate adviser (for graduate students);
c. the department chair or head of the department hiring unit employing the student
d. the dean of the college or school employing the student.
4. The decision of the college or school dean is final.

For assistance:  Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies at 512/471-4511 or to http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/.

Additional guidelines related to student employment are available on the Student Employee section of the HRS website (http://www.utexas.edu/hr/student/):
a. Performance Guidelines for Student Employees
b. Student Employee Separations Before End of Assignment table
c. Process Chart for Issues Involving Student Employees