Expectations for faculty and teaching fellows

August 25, 2017

Dear colleagues,

With classes scheduled to begin soon, we write to remind you of expectations that all faculty members and graduate students are expected to fulfill when they collaborate to teach.

Faculty Responsibilities

Faculty members are expected to attend all their classes. When they cannot, they should reschedule class or ask a faculty colleague – not a teaching fellow (TF) – to substitute. The Associates in Teaching program is not an exception to this guideline. Although Associates in Teaching participate in the course in all respects and may independently teach some of the classes or give lectures, the faculty member is expected to be present in all classes.

Faculty members are also expected to lead one discussion section in lecture courses with 30 or more students, except in courses that have four or more TFs, when instructors are teaching new lecture courses, or when discussion sections are in addition to a full 150-minute weekly lecture schedule.

Faculty members’ other responsibilities include:

  • preparing their own course materials, including syllabi, papers, essays, lectures, homework assignments, problem sets and examinations, and scoring keys;
  • reserving and printing course materials;
  • obtaining audiovisual equipment;
  • maintaining course websites;
  • managing the distribution of students in sections at the start of the term;
  • recording grades and reporting them at the end of term;
  • administering their own examinations;
  • grading graduate students’ examinations and graduate students’ coursework that requires qualitative evaluation;
  • meeting weekly with their TFs

Teaching Fellow Responsibilities 

Graduate students in their teaching years are expected to teach as part of their academic training, as specified in their letters of admission, unless the Associate Dean waives their teaching obligations. Departments and programs are expected to assign teaching fellows wisely and to redistribute assignments as needed based on shifts in projected enrollment during the Course Selection Period. No graduate student may teach a lecture course independently or supervise teaching fellows.

Obligations for TFs vary, but they may include the following: 

  • leading discussion and review sections; 
  • supervising laboratories; 
  • grading homework assignments, papers, essays, laboratory reports, and examinations, the materials for which should be provided by or prepared in conjunction with the faculty. To avoid conflicts of interest, whenever possible TFs should not be assigned to evaluate the work of graduate student peers. However, in courses requiring extensive quantitative work, TFs may score quantitative homework and exams submitted by graduate students, using detailed scoring keys provided by the faculty instructor. In these instances, the faculty member should review the TFs scoring and must assign the final grade. In no instance may TFs perform qualitative grading of work submitted by other graduate students.

Shared Responsibilities

TFs are expected to return graded materials to students promptly, as determined in collaboration with the faculty member.

Faculty members are expected to visit at least one section taught by each TF assigned to their course and to offer feedback and suggestions. This is a core responsibility of faculty toward their students, both graduate and undergraduate. All faculty who are provided with TF support are expected to meet their TFs weekly to coordinate class activities and help TFs learn to teach undergraduate courses, prepare for sections, and grade examinations.

Part Time Acting Instructors

Departments appointing graduate students as Part Time Acting Instructors (PTAIs) are expected to supervise instruction through regularly scheduled meetings with PTAIs in courses where sections have a common curriculum and through consultation before and during the semester in seminars taught independently.

Posting Vacant TF Positions to Graduate and Professional Students

Graduate or professional students seeking teaching TF positions may use the Graduate Student Teaching Opportunities site, where departments, programs and schools post information about courses that are seeking TFs.

Questions about the Teaching Fellow Program may be addressed to Howard el-Yasin in the Teaching Fellow Program Office at 203 432-2757. 

With best wishes for the semester,

Marvin Chun, Lynn Cooley, Tamar Gendler
Dean of Yale College, Dean of the Graduate School, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences


Helpful Yale Teaching resources

Handbook for Instructors of Undergraduates in Yale College

Faculty Handbook

Becoming Teachers

Center for Teaching and Learning

FEAST

Teaching Fellow Program

Teaching Fellowships as Financial Aid