A Teaching Assistantship (TA) is intended to contribute to the department’s teaching responsibilities and to your professional development. Your compensation and your continuation in the program depend in part upon your performance as a TA. As University employees, you are expected to adhere to all applicable policies and procedures, including those described in this document and at http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/current/funding.

TA Categories

TAs fall into one of three categories as follows:
  • GTA—Graduate student Teaching Assistant
  • UTA—Undergraduate student Teaching Assistant
  • OTA—Other Teaching Assistant

TA Supervisors

Cliff Bettis
TA Manager
JH 134A
(402) 472-2789
Shawn Langan
Laboratory Manager
JH 139
(402) 472-2199

(All offices are in Jorgensen Hall – JH.)

Department Administrators

Dan Claes
Department Chair 
JH 258G or 208
(402) 472-2783, dclaes@unlhep.unl.edu
Bradley Shadwick
Vice Chair (Instruction)
JH 310N
(402) 472-3578 shadwick@unl.edu
Kees Uiterwaal
Graduate Chair (graduate advising)
(402) 472-9010 cuiterwaal2@unl.edu
Ken Blook
Undergraduate Chair (undergrad advising)
(402) 472-6093 kenbloom@unl.edu

Cyndy Petersen
Department Secretary
(General questions, registration, scheduling, tutoring room)

Marjorie Wolfe
Graduate Secretary
(Graduate programs, grad student payroll)

Jaimie Iuranich
Undergraduate Secretary
(Undergraduate programs, undergrad student payroll)

(Department Office (JH 208, 472-2770, paoffice@unl.edu)

Teaching Assignments

You will be assigned to teach laboratories, teach recitations, set up labs, do course grading, or some combination of these. A Full TA (6 units) is expected to work 20 hours/week on average. If you find that you are spending more time than this, discuss it with your supervisor or the Vice Chair. Your work assignment begins the week before classes and ends only after you have completed all of your assignments, usually by the end of finals. You may not arrange to leave for break or vacation until after finals are over. Due to likely visa problems, we strongly recommend that International Students not travel abroad during the winter break.

Typical Assignments (supervisor):
  • One laboratory section = 2 units (Laboratory Manager)
  • One recitation section = 1+ unit (Course Instructor)
  • One laboratory setup = 1 unit (Laboratory Manager)
  • Course grading = varies as assigned (Course Instructor)

Other Duties (supervisor):

Office Hours
(TA Manager)
Most TAs are required to hold office hours each week in the Physics Learning Center (JH 253). The number of hours depends on your specific assignment—up to 1 hour per week for 1/3 and 1/2 TAs, and up to 2 hours per week for 2/3 and full TAs. You must attend all office hours, or arrange a substitute. The purpose of office hours is to provide help any student who comes in – though you should give priority to your own students. The office hour schedule will be distributed during the first week of classes. You must sign in at the main office (JH 208) at the beginning of each assigned office hour.

Exam Proctoring
(TA Manager)
You will be scheduled to assist with administering exams several times per semester. This will not necessarily be for the same course as your teaching assignment.

(Course Instructor).
You are expected to complete weekly grading for assigned labs and/or recitations.

Lab Training
(Laboratory Manager).
You are expected to participate in weekly lab-training meetings for your course (141, 142, 221, 222, 223).

Guidelines and Procedures:

Find out what your duties are. Check in with your supervisor(s) frequently. Be prepared, be on time, be engaged in class, office hours, etc. Complete out-of-class duties (e.g., grading) promptly & thoroughly.

Learning Center (JH 253)
Sign in for each session in the main office. Help students; do not work problems for them.
The students are responsible for bringing a copy of the assignment and the text.
Help students from your recitations or labs first, then any others that come by.

You are responsible for contacting the Course Instructor at least one week in advance of a scheduled exam. They will instruct you when and where to meet. The exam may not be in the same location as the class, so be sure you know the room, building and time. Consult a campus map if the exam is held in a building unfamiliar to you.

Paid Tutoring
The Department does not arrange or coordinate paid tutoring. You may, however, engage in tutoring for pay, subject to the following conditions.
  1. You may not accept payment for tutoring from students in classes that you are assigned to teach or for which you are assigned grading.
  2. Due to immigration regulations, you may not be employed by non-UNL entities (including private tutoring) if you are an international student.
  3. You may not tutor for pay in the Learning Center (JH 253) or in your office. 
  4. You may apply to have your name included on the Departmental list of qualified tutors.
  5. You must obtain written permission from your research supervisor before you begin paid tutoring.
  6. You must inform the Vice Chair before you begin paid tutoring.

Attendance Policy:

You are required to complete all of your assigned teaching duties as scheduled. These duties may include any or all of the following: laboratory or recitation classes; training; office hours; grading; meeting with your supervisor; or exam proctoring. Your appointment begins one week before classes start and ends the last day of finals. You are expected to be available and ready for work any and all weekdays except for specified University Holidays (http://hr.unl.edu/general/holidayschedule.shtml). If you are not a US citizen or permanent resident – do not travel outside the country between semesters because delays in handling your visa are very likely, causing you to return late, in which event you may lose your TA for the Spring Semester.

Under very limited circumstances, you may request to be excused from teaching to fulfill a professional obligation, such as to attend a research conference. There are three very important limitations to these excused absences.

i)             It is your responsibility to arrange for a suitable substitute.

ii)            This option is limited to one absence, for a maximum of one week, each semester.

iii)           You may not be excused during the first or last week of classes. Under no circumstances are you to cancel, dismiss, or reschedule class.

You must inform the supervisor(s) (lab, recitation, and grading) of the activities that will be affected by your planned absence and obtain their approval at least two weeks in advance.  Your teaching responsibilities take precedence over other activities; do not assume that an absence will be automatically approved.

If some unforeseen and unavoidable circumstance, such as illness or accident, prevents you from teaching your assigned classes or other TA duties, you must inform Shawn Langan (slangan@unl.edu or 2-2199) as soon as you are able. If you are unable to reach him, contact the Department Office (472-2770, cpetersen3@unl.edu or mwolfe@unl.edu ). Do not cancel or dismiss the class.

Mailboxes/Email: Check your mailbox and e-mail regularly – at least once a day. The graduate student mailboxes are in JH 214, grouped alphabetically in the center section of the west wall. Notify the Main Office (JH 208, 472-2770, paoffice@unl.edu) immediately if your contact information changes.   Much of our communications with you regarding teaching assignments and the like will be by email.  It is essential that we have your correct email address on file.

Talk to us!

We want your teaching experience to be as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. We welcome questions or discussion about any aspect of your teaching duties and studies. Consult the Vice Chair (Brad Shadwick) for clarification about the duties, policies, and procedures described in this document.

(As of September 2014)