During the beginning of the school year incoming students walk into certain classes or labs and notice that their professor or lab instructors are really young. At times students wonder who these professors are and many may be concerned that they may not be qualified to be teaching certain classes. Well, these teachers are actually students as well, graduate students working in their particular field of study.
Graduate students at SFA and in graduate programs across the country are given the opportunity to apply for certain positions within their university. Here at SFA these job opportunities are referred to as assistantships. There are three different types of assistantships offered at SFA, teaching, research and administrative. Graduate Assistants work within different offices at SFA. Research assistants are often hired to work on a particular project within an academic department. Students in teaching assistantships are referred to as teaching assistants or TA’s. These graduate students will usually be assigned to teach entry level or freshman classes.
The six schools here at SFA offer these assistantship positions to graduate students who are in their department’s field of study. Other offices within the school also allow students the opportunity to do assistantships within their departments. Students interested in these positions go through an application process and are carefully selected by their particular department.
Teaching assistants usually work alongside a professor and are in charge of the professors’ supplemental instruction (SI) or will completely take over certain classes. For example, graduate students working toward a higher degree in Mathematics may be working as teaching assistants and teaching some of the entry level or remedial math classes. Those in the English program teach entry level or remedial English classes. Students who are working on a master’s degree in science work as laboratory assistants, teaching the labs that go along with the introductory biology, geology and physics classes.
The jobs at SFA are not limited to teaching assistants. Departments such as the Recreation Center, the Library, Student Affairs, Residence Life, Disability Services, Agriculture and the Forestry department offer jobs for graduate students. Other offices at SFA such as Financial Aid, Registrar, Admissions, and the President’s Office also offer job opportunities for graduate students.
Students in particular fields are required to have a degree higher than a bachelor’s in order to apply for jobs they want. These assistantships allow students to obtain a higher degree while receiving the real world experience they will be required to have once they begin their job hunt.
“I realized that in order to reach my goal of being a director or assistant director in orientation I would need to go to grad school,” Orientation Programs Graduate Assistant, Brandie VanZanden said.
VanZanden received her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from SFA in May 2012. She is currently in the Student Affairs and Higher Education graduate program. VanZanden is working as the Graduate Assistant for Orentation Programs.
Job opportunities at SFA are open to all graduate students; they are not limited to SFA graduates. Students who obtain a job while working on a graduate degree are given the opportunity to receive health benefits and are often given a stipend depending on the program they are working in. These job opportunities are often part-time, if a student enrolled in a graduate program full time (9 hours) they are limited to working 20 hours a week. The duration of the graduate assistantships are limited to four semesters.
For more information on graduate programs at SFASU visit http://www.sfasu.edu/graduate/. For a list of current jobs available for graduate students visit the SFA Career search. A graduate assistantship application can be printed out here.