Graduate Assistantships

You are here

Appointments of graduate assistants will be announced by April 15th.  It is understood that some appointments, dependent upon budgetary changes and faculty on leave, may not be announced until financially guaranteed.  As soon as decisions have been made all definite positions will be notified by e-mail or letter.

Graduate Assistantships are awarded to graduate students on a competitive basis. Quarter-time assistantship appointments require effort that averages 10 hours of work per week over the course of each semester. Half-time assistantships require effort that average 20 hours of work per week.

Quarter-time assistantships or greater are awarded a full tuition scholarship, which will be applied as a credit toward your tuition bill.  (NOTE: this is for tuition only and not fees associated with being a registered student.)  For enrollments of fewer than 9 semester hours, the tuition scholarship will be prorated accordingly.  If you hold graduate assistant appointments in more than one department, your tuition bill will be credited only once.

Graduate Assistants are covered by UE Local 896 - COGS: The Graduate Employee Union at the University of Iowa.  Information on COGS and a copy of the current Agreement can be found on the COGS web site at

Graduate assistant appointment for one term is no guarantee of re-appointment for a subsequent term.  A student holding an assistantship must be available to start the appointment three working days before the start of each semester, attend the Graduate Assistant Orientation, take the Sexual Harassment Prevention Training (SHPT), take The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) training, be a candidate for an advanced degree, be making acceptable progress toward that degree and registered full time while holding the assistantship.  During the final semester of the MFA may be only registered for:

  minimum maximum    
1/4 time 6 s.h. 15 s.h.    
1/2 time 4 s.h. 12 s.h.    

Qualification Guidelines for Appointment of Graduate Assistants:
Studio art graduate students enrolled in a degree program who have maintained at least a 3.00 g.p.a. and have demonstrated excellence in their course of study.

For non-native English speakers:
All students for whom English is not a first language and who have first-time appointments as graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are required to take a test to assess their effectiveness in speaking English before they are assigned assistantship responsibilities.

The English Speaking Proficiency Assessment (ESPA) is a test that assesses students' oral language and listening skills. To take the test, students must be enrolled in a graduate program at The University of Iowa, and an academic department must be considering hiring them as teaching assistants.

Tests are administered through the English as a Second Language Department (ESL).  Specific information on the tests can be found here

All students to be tested must first register for the ESPA test by seeing the Administrative/Academic Coordinator or the Graduate Program Coordinator.

T.A.’s are required to pass these tests with an “A” Level Certification or will not be allowed to teach and thus forfeit their TA appointment.

All graduate assistantship appointments must be posted in public places within the SAAH.  All appointments are normally for the academic year which begins three days before the semester begins and terminates on the last day of final exam week.

Fall and Spring Semester Graduate Assistantships:
The assignment of graduate teaching or research assistants to any area is reviewed each spring before appointments are recommended by the Director and the Area Heads.

It is the responsibility of the Director, with the advice of the Area Heads, to ensure that assistantships are awarded to students who demonstrate excellent qualifications and that the appointments are made according to procedures which would guarantee equal opportunities to all those qualified.

To ensure the general satisfaction of faculty and students in the appointment of qualified graduate students as teaching or research assistants the following procedures are to be followed:

A faculty member who is primarily responsible for the teaching assistant may be required to write a letter of recommendation for the student who is preferred, enumerating the reason for the selection.  This letter should be presented to the Director of the SAAH no later than February 1st.

Summer Assistantships:
Procedures of selection and appointment follow the same guidelines established for academic year appointments, with the exception of the following calendar deadline, and first consideration being given to those already holding assistantships in the appropriate area.

Letters of recommendation from Area Heads should be in the Director's office by May 1.

Retention, Review, and Dismissal Procedures for Graduate Assistants:
TAs and RAs are evaluated each semester based upon criteria related to their job performance, skills, and professional development. The evaluation form completed by the supervisor includes an overall assessment of performance.  The evaluation is reviewed by the supervisor with the TA/RA upon its completion. The TA/RA must sign the evaluation form to indicate that the evaluation has been discussed and that they have received a copy of the evaluation. Signature of the TA/RA does not necessarily mean that they agree with the evaluation. TA/RAs have five (5) working days to provide a written response to their evaluations. Such responses and/or comments are attached to the evaluation.

The TA/RA has the right to grieve an evaluation only if the overall assessment is less than satisfactory and such evaluation results in an adverse action by the Employer.

Documentation of satisfactory performance is necessary for the re-appointment of a graduate student as a teaching assistant/research assistant.

Student Evaluation of Instructors:
The evaluation questionnaire “Assessing the Classroom Environment” (A.C.E.) will be that created by and/or accepted by the faculty of the School of Art and Art History.  Each faculty member/T.A. is evaluated for every class each academic year.  The evaluation is to be done during the last half of each semester at a time considered appropriate by the individual faculty member/T.A but before the final examination/critique.  Returned reports from Exam Services should be kept by the faculty/T.A. of the course.  The SAAH does not keep copies of reports.