One more first semester lesson

So, if you're at an institution that gives TA support for grad students (i.e. almost every institution), make sure you know the procedures and timing for requesting your people get put into the TA support pool.

I realized today (when the TA assignments got emailed around) that in our department, PIs have to request that first-year students get put on the list before they've even officially joined a lab, just before the end of their final rotations... so somewhere along the line I was supposed to know that! But I never asked, I kind of just assumed they were magically supported by TAships or somehow during their first year while their status in a lab was still kind of in limbo. Luckily for me, some administrative scrambling has ensued to rescue my screwup and make sure my student will be supported next semester, but this is not the kind of mistake it is a good idea to make too many times before you come up for tenure.

So LESSON OF THE DAY/SEMESTER: Don't assume anything about TA support, it makes an ass out of (pretty much just) you.

3 thoughts on “One more first semester lesson

  1. I find it interesting that its your responsibility to apply for your students TAships. At both my undergrad/MSc university, I was responsible for either applying for scholarships or TAships. Ditto at PhD University

  2. Yeah, I guess it never occurred to me that I would need to proactively do something about it in this first year, especially when it was the first year for me and the first year for the student. But I was wrong! There are a limited number of them available so they try to ba;ance them across those with the least grant support as much as possible, and that means some logistical organization in the fall. Now I know!

  3. i agree with ScientistMother, at my master's uni i was responsible for applying for TAships. the GPD sent out emails to all the grad students to alert us to the deadline and distribute the forms. then the dept made the decisions. in our case, we were such a small school, very few students were supported by anything other than TA or RA ships. wow, something else to watch out for when i finish grad school and post doc.good to know the department is helping out your student!

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