Assignment of Assistant Instructors to upper-division courses

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Date:       April 23, 2009

To:           Department Chairs, Graduate Advisers, and Graduate Coordinators  

From:      Victoria E. Rodríguez
                Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies

Subject:   Assignment of Assistant Instructors to upper-division courses

Thank you for completing the recent questionnaire concerning the practice of assigning Assistant Instructors (AIs) to teach upper-division courses. The information you provided allowed the Graduate School to conduct a thorough review and refine our procedures for petitions.

Summary

Although the Handbook of Operating Procedures states that AIs are to be assigned primarily to lower-division courses, it is apparent that there are some instances in which the use of AIs for upper-division instruction offers curriculum and other academic benefits. Chief among these benefits is to address the situation in which the introductory course sequence begins at the upper-division level. Other benefits include cases where the professional teaching background of the AI better fits the pedagogical needs of the course than does the background of regular faculty, as sometimes occurs in a clinical or practicum course offering.

Please note that prior approval via the petition procedure below is required before an AI can be assigned to an upper-division course. Petitions based on situations where regular faculty are unavailable to teach the course or the student's resume needs padding will not be approved.

Petition Procedures

  1. Submit a separate petition for each AI to be assigned to an upper-division course.
  2. Include all of the following information:
    1. Course number and title of the upper-division course to be taught
    2. Assurance that course 398T has been completed
    3. Name of the GSC member who will supervise the AI and the course
    4. Explanation for assignment of the AI to the upper-division course
    5. Statement of the AI's qualifications for teaching the upper-division course
  3. Submit the petition to the Graduate School's Office of Student Services.

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