Resources for Teaching and Research Assistants

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Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Funding

As a graduate student and Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) at Western, SOGS wants to make sure you are aware of your GTA wages, union, payment scheduling, and additional funding resources that are available to you.

FAQs related to holding a GTA position at Western:

Q: How much will I get paid as a GTA?

A: Your pay per term will be outlined in your Offer Letter from your department who has arranged your GTA position. All GTAs receive the same hourly wage. More details about GTA pay can be found here: https://grad.uwo.ca/finances/western_funding/gta/index.html

Q: How often will I get paid as a GTA?

A: You’ll be paid on a monthly basis. Western pays its employees on the second last business day of each month. When beginning a new Fall term, anticipate that you won’t receive any pay from Western until the end of September and budget accordingly. 

Q: As a GTA at Western, am I part of a union?

A: Yes! The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Local 610 is the Graduate Teaching Assistant and Postdoctoral Associate union at Western. PSAC Local 610 represents over 2,000 members through collective bargaining, and by assisting with workplace grievances. PSAC 610’s mission is to create a union that strives towards reducing precarity and poverty among workers. Further information about PSAC 610 and your rights as a GTA can be found on their resource landing page here: https://www.psac610.ca/resources

Q: Do I get any other benefits as a GTA?

A: Yes! As a GTA, you have many other financial benefits available to you throughout the year from PSAC 610 which can be found on their teaching assistants benefits landing page here: https://www.psac610.ca/teaching-assistant-benefits.

For example, GTAs (who have held a GTA position for at least one term in the academic year) are eligible for the following financial benefits:

  • Extended Health Plan: a supplement to GTA’s existing health insurance (e.g., the SOGS supplemental health plan or private insurance). The Extended Health Plan acts as a rebate system that covers both physical and mental health costs up to $599/year;
  • Mental Health Fund: similar to the Extended Health Plan, the Mental Health Fund acts as a rebate system that covers $599/year towards mental health costs (e.g., therapies, medications, etc). Once you have used all $599, members are welcome to use their Extended Health Plan or Financial Assistance Fund to cover any remaining mental health costs.

Graduate Research Assistant Funding

As a graduate student and Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) at Western, SOGS wants to make sure you are aware of RA funding and relevant tax treatment. GRAs must be part-time or full-time registered Western graduate students. Detailed information about GRA compensation, benefit charges, payment, and tax treatment can be found here: https://grad.uwo.ca/finances/western_funding/gra/index.html


CTL Support Resources

As a graduate student at Western, you may have the opportunity to be a Teaching Assistant (TA). Western has numerous resources available to support you in your role as a TA. At SOGS, we want to make sure you are aware of these resources in order to make the most out of your teaching experience.

The Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is the teaching hub at Western. It supports the university’s teaching and learning mission by providing orientation, training, mentorship, research and innovation opportunities for instructors at Western so that, they, in turn can create high quality undergraduate and graduate learning experiences for students. The CTL builds bridges between disciplines and creates scholarly communities of practice that allow instructors at Western to share innovative approaches to teaching with each other and inspire student engagement throughout campus.

The CTL has dedicated an entire section of their website to Teaching Assistants. Programming support for Teaching Assistants that is available through the CTL includes, but is not limited to: preparing for your TA assignment, overcoming nerves, making the most of the first day of class, knowing your contacts/room/technology, seeking guidance, getting certified, grading strategies, grading with rubrics, facilitating labs, teaching tutorials, leading discussions, proctoring tests and exams, among many others.

In addition, the CTL also has a graduate student and postdoc mailing list which you can subscribe to receive information about upcoming Graduate student programs and events!

Teaching Portfolio Building

 Once your TA assignment has come to a close, you may be wondering how to capture your experience. The CTL’s reflection and portfolio building resources will do just that by helping you reflect on your experience, identify the skills you have gained and incorporate evaluations, letters from instructors and your successes into your teaching dossier and future teaching work. 

Student Evaluations

 Official or unofficial student evaluations are important feedback mechanisms to help you grow as an instructor. As the CTL notes, it is within your Union Teaching Assistant contract to receive feedback on your teaching. You can check with your department to see if they will ask for students to complete TA evaluations within their official professor/course evaluations. If your department does not administer TA evaluations, you can ask your course instructor to give out TA evaluations on your behalf. The CTL also offers a sample Survey Monkey template for an online TA evaluation form.

COVID-19 and eLearning Toolkit

 Given our current public health climate, many courses at Western will be facilitated online for the 2020-2021 academic year in order to comply with public health and social distancing guidelines.

As such, the CTL has created an eLearning Toolkit for instructors to help them adapt technologies into their teaching. The Toolkit allows instructors to find introductory information on a range of eLearning concepts and digital tools, all focused on technology-enhanced teaching and learning. Tool profiles feature both institutionally-supported tools (such as OWL and iClicker) and unsanctioned tools. Reviews are conducted on each tool included in the Toolkit based on an evidence-informed rubric for eLearning Tool Evaluation. These reviews can be used as a guide for informing instructors’ decision-making but are not intended to provide an endorsement of any particular tool.

The eLearning Toolkit has many outcome-based eLearning resources for you as an instructor to view including, but not limited to: student evaluations, online course design, content delivery, lecture recording, and collaborative environment strategies, among others. The centre also offers an A to Z repository and guide to eLearning tools for you to review and incorporate into your pedagogical practices.

*Rapid* Online Course Design

Lastly, depending on where you are at with your teaching, the CTL is offering a variety of resources to help instructors move courses online as quickly and effectively as possible.

The ABC Online Course Design Workshop will help you with rapid online course development. This workshop is suitable for instructors looking to shift an in-person course to online. Leave the workshop with a course storyboard and plans for next steps. Complete the workshop independently online or in a facilitated zoom session.

 The Online Course Design section provides a series of resources that moves beyond using OWL tools to focus on key considerations, techniques, and approaches for online teaching and learning. Six pathways for online course design are covered, including:

Drop in Q&A sessions for some of these pathways are also available for you to ask questions and explore the ideas further after you’ve viewed the videos.

Due to popular demand, the CTL has launched a compressed, self-guided version of their Instructional Skills Workshop Online called Open ISWO (click this link to join the OWL site). Join the site complete the lessons at your own pace. Lessons include Building Community, Building Lessons, and Putting Theory into Practice.

CTL Contact Information

 To book a consultation appointment with the CTL, click here.

Please note: Due to the impact of COVID-19 on the Western Community, the CTL is facing an increased volume of requests as Western moves courses online. Appointments are generally booked 2-3 weeks in advance. If you have not received a response to your inquiry within five business days, please email ctl@uwo.ca. They will be checking and responding to emails during their remote office hours: Monday to Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm.

To contact the CTL for general inquires, or inquires related to eLearning support, curriculum support, international graduate student programs, graduate student and teaching assistant programs, or Western Active Learning Spaces (WALS), click here for further information.

CTL Location

 The Centre for Teaching and Learning is located on the main floor of The D.B. Weldon Library, just west of the Circulation Desk on Western University’s campus.

The Centre for Teaching and Learning acknowledges that Western University is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Attawandaron peoples, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. This land continues to be home to diverse Indigenous peoples (e.g. First Nations, Métis and Inuit) whom they recognize as contemporary stewards of the land and vital contributors of our society.