Additional Guidelines for GTAs, Fellows, and Ph.D. Students

The Department of French and Italian awards a number of Graduate Teaching Associateships each year to students who are preparing the Ph.D. The position of Graduate Teaching Associate carries with it important responsibilities. Chief among these is the maintenance of a proper balance between studies, the first priority for the Associate, and teaching. In order to retain an Associateship, the student must, in the opinion of the faculty, be making reasonable progress towards completion of the degree and have demonstrated effective teaching. Teaching Associates must seek permission from the Director of Graduate Studies and their advisor before accepting any other employment beyond their teaching associateship (whether within the university or outside of it). If permission is granted, this additional employment may not under any circumstances exceed ten hours per week.

Initial Appointment

  1. All Graduate Associates must be enrolled in the Graduate School. Applicants for an Associateship who are not enrolled must make simultaneous application for admission. The awarding of an Associateship is contingent upon such admission. In the Spring semester of each year a faculty committee evaluates all applications, taking into account academic achievement, letters of recommendation, previous experience either in the use of the language (travel, study abroad, etc.) or in teaching (elementary, secondary, tutoring, etc.), and any other information which seems useful and pertinent.
  2. Offers for new Associateships are normally made in early Spring for the following academic year. A student who accepts an appointment is still free to resign until April 15, after which he or she is obligated not to accept another appointment without obtaining formal release from this Department. At times, the Department may have to make additional appointments after this date, in which case an effort will be made to complete all arrangements by the end of the Summer session.


  1. It is expected that a graduate student who is a Graduate Associate will register for three courses in the Department each semester. In most cases this will mean 9 hours.
  2. Unless the student is on fellowship, in Autumn semester of their first year of residence Graduate Teaching Associates must enroll in 7301 (Teaching French and Italian at the College Level), visit demonstration classes regularly, and consult periodically with teaching supervisors about their progress as teachers.
  3. A Graduate Teaching Associate is normally assigned to teach one four-credit course per semester. This is called a 50% appointment. GRAs, GAAs, and GTAs are expected to work approximately 20 hours per week for a 50% appointment.
  4. After their first year, Graduate Teaching Associates may submit a request any given semester to have a 75% appointment for the following semester, which means that s/he would have two teaching assignments and would earn 1.5 times the stipend received for teaching one course. Such assignments are usually to teach two sections of the same course or to teach one course and to serve as a grader for a large lecture course. See “Some additional guidelines for the PhD in French and Francopone Studies or Italian Studies” below for more information.
  5. Graduate Teaching Associates work under the direction and with the guidance of faculty supervisors. For each section to which they are assigned, they have the responsibility of preparing classes, holding office hours, attending staff meetings, grading, and, in general, performing those tasks which are expected of a university teacher. Such out-of-class duties require about fifteen (15) hours per week.
  6. When circumstances warrant, the Chair may invite post-candidacy students to teach at the 2000- or 3000-course level. To be eligible to teach such a course in the department, students must have successfully completed a relevant 8303 Graduate Teaching Apprenticeship course and have achieved an excellent record of teaching. Such appointments are made on the basis of merit and not necessarily on seniority and are not guaranteed.

Evaluation of Performance

  1. Graduate Associates' teaching contracts are renewed by the Chair of the Department upon the recommendation of the faculty of the Department, which meets for this purpose during each Spring semester. These recommendations are based on evaluations of the Associate’s performance as both teacher and student. If an Associate’s performance is not satisfactory in one or both of these areas, s/he will be warned. If performance does not improve the following semester, s/he could lose his/her Associateship and/or be dismissed from the graduate program at the end of that semester.
  2. Graduate Students are required to update their Advising Guide every semester (the Advising Guide can be found in individual Box files – a link will be shared by the Graduate Program Coordinator). Graduate Students are also required to update regularly (at least once per semester) the Dossier Documents Excel Spreadsheet (also found in the individual Box folder).
  3. All Graduate Teaching Associates are periodically visited in their classrooms by a teaching supervisor. The purpose of such visits is to evaluate the Associate's performance as a teacher and to offer helpful advice when this is deemed necessary. After each classroom visit, the supervisor meets with the GTA to discuss his/her performance and fills out a GTA Teaching Evaluation. The report is then discussed with each GTA by his or her supervisor. Thereafter, it is retained in Departmental files. During each Spring semester, a summary of the Teaching Evaluation Reports for each GTA is presented by the supervisor to the faculty of the Department.
  4. GTA Academic Evaluation Reports are also prepared for each GTA by their professors. The primary purpose of these reports is to provide graduate students with specific information about their performance in courses taken during the year, but they also assist in the evaluation of such performance as a basis for recommendations for the renewal or termination of GTA contracts. Like the Teaching Evaluation Reports, these evaluations are also forwarded in summary form to the faculty for their Spring meetings, in this instance by the GTA's academic (M.A. or Ph.D.) advisor.

After the Spring meetings have taken place, the advisors meet with the Associates to discuss the Academic Evaluation Reports, Advising Guide, and Dossier Document Excel Spreadsheet, and to pass along any advice or suggestions that the faculty may have for the Associates.

Fellowship Recipients

Students receiving a first-year or a dissertation-year fellowship do not teach during that year. They must hold no other appointment or outside employment during the fellowship year, except for approved supplemental appointments or fellowships (GSH X.1). Pre-candidacy fellowship recipients must register for at least 12 hours of graduate credit (5000-level or higher) during any semester in which the fellowship is held, and 6 hours during summer session. Audited credit hours do not count toward these totals (GSH X.1). Dissertation-year fellowship recipients must register for 3 hours of graduate credit (usually 8999) each semester and during summer session. See GSH section X for more details. First-year fellowship recipients may choose to take 7301, Teaching French and Italian at the College Level, during Autumn semester of either their first year or their second year of the Ph.D.

Some additional guidelines for the PhD programs in French and Francophone Studies and Italian Studies (important!)

  • Because of the Graduate School’s Continuous Enrollment Policy, which states that PhD candidates (those students who have passed their candidacy examination) must register for at least three credit hours every Autumn and Spring semester until they successfully defend their dissertation, students who run out of GTA funding before they finish will not only lose their stipend but have to pay for these three credits each semester until they finish (students do not have to register in summer unless they defend the dissertation during any summer other than that immediately following their last semester of funding). For residents of Ohio (who continue to be residents of Ohio until they finish), these fees currently amount to about $2300 per semester, plus the full (non-subsidized) cost of student health insurance unless the student has another insurance plan (the current cost of student health insurance is about $1,275 per semester). For non-Ohio residents, these fees are now around $6000 per semester plus insurance. You can therefore see that the costs to you of not finishing your degree within your funding window are unfortunately substantial. It is for this reason that the department would like to do all it can to help you keep your “eye on the prize” and complete your degree on time, whether that means in April or August of your last year of funding.
  • Students entering without a Masters degree must successfully defend their dissertation prospectus no later than November 30 of their 4th year; students entering with an approved Masters must defend their prospectus no later than November 30 of their 3rd year. Students and advisors are strongly encouraged to devise a major candidacy exam whose answer can be transformed into the prospectus.
  • Requests for 75% appointments will be considered, as usual, by the Director of the Language Program, but also by the Director of Graduate Studies and the student’s graduate advisor (if these are different individuals). Such requests will only be granted when the following three conditions are met: 1) there is a need in the teaching schedule (obviously), 2) the student has a good teaching record, and 3) the student is on track to finish the degree by the end of his/her four or five years of funding. The purpose of this increased oversight of 75% appointments is to ensure that students have enough time in their schedules to devote to their studies and research. In the long run, it is more sound financially to finish before your funding runs out than to make a bit more money while you’re here but not finish on time.
  • Progress toward the degree will also have more weight than in the past in the review of applications for summer teaching and departmental grants and awards, such as the Bulatkin Travel Award, the Bulatkin Summer Scholarship, The French, Francophone, and Italian Summer Research Prize, The Rymer Award,  and the Astier Award.
  • Students in their penultimate or last year of funding are strongly encouraged to apply for internal and external dissertation fellowships, such as, among others:

Guidelines for students in French and Francophone Studies only

  • Students who participate in the Rennes exchange program are strongly encouraged to use that year (during which they will be teaching only part-time) to devise and/or finish their candidacy examination lists, to write their dissertation prospectus, and/or to do research for and write sections of their dissertation. Advisors are willing and able to work with you remotely.

Additional Semester of Funding

When its budget permits, the department may award on a competitive basis an additional semester of graduate teaching associate funding to one to two students total who can demonstrate that they will successfully defend their dissertation by the end of that semester. Students in good standing may apply for one of these grants during their last semester of funding. Applications should include 1) a three-page summary of the dissertation project and its chapters, 2) a statement on exactly where the student is in the writing process (how many chapters have been turned in to the advisor and how many have been revised at the time of the application submission) and a plan for completion, and 3) a letter of support from the applicant’s dissertation advisor. Applications should be forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies.