Graduate Teaching Assistants are a very important and integral part of the mathematics department teaching mission.  The majority of our 70 graduate students are supported either as a teaching assistant or research assistant.  Students work directly with faculty, developing solutions that span the boundaries between mathematics and other fields of scientific endeavor.  They also gain invaluable experience teaching and learning through teaching assistantships.

GTAs are typically assigned to the Calculus Center, PACe Center or to teach a section of one of our beginning calculus courses.

We offer three stipend levels based on progress in the degree program:

1.       $18,340.50 – All entering students

2.       $18,907.00 – Passed PhD qualifiers part (I)

3.       $19,432.50 – Passed PhD preliminary examination

PayDay:  GTA & GRA contracts are for 9 months (4.5 months for fall and spring semesters).  The 9-month contract begins August 16th and ends May 15th.  You will receive a half-month of pay for August and May, so it is important to plan ahead.  Payday for all monthly employees, which graduate assistants are, is the last working day of each month.

Returning GTAs and GRAs will be entered into the payroll system by the accounting office.  If you are a new GTA beginning fall semester, you must complete payroll paperwork and be entered into the payroll system by August 10th to receive your first paycheck the last working day in August.  If your paperwork is completed after this date your first paycheck will be delayed.  You must be entered into the payroll system no later than August 16th or your start date will be delayed, which will result in your pay for August being reduced!

GTA / GRA Contracts: A GTA/GRA contract will be created once you are entered into the payroll system each semester.  The contract will stipulate your base salary rate, FTE (Full Time Equivalency – which for GTAs and GRAs is 50%) and the dates of the assignment.  You are required to sign a contract each semester, and if your work assignment or rate of pay is changed in some manner.

International students must obtain a social security number. Check with the office of International Programs regarding this process.

Tuition:  As a GTA, or GRA you will receive a full tuition waiver.  Although your full tuition bill will appear on your student account each fall and spring semester, you should not pay this bill.  Your full tuition will be paid by the graduate school after census each semester.

Fees:  There are miscellaneous fees of approximately $1,200 per semester for the student to pay.  These fees cover use of the student health center, athletic admissions, city bus pass, the university recreation center, and several other items.

The Graduate School, in partnership with Business and Financial Services has implemented a permanent program of waiving graduate assistant’s late fees for the first billing cycle of each fall and spring semester.

This program was implemented because graduate assistants will not receive their first paycheck before the first billing cycle.  Therefore, you can disregard the first eBilling notification each semester indicating that you will receive a late charge if your balance is not paid by the first billing date of the semester.  You are exempt from this charge.

Payroll taxes:  Your GTA/GRA stipend is considered taxable income.  Taxes will be withheld based on the information you provided on your W4.  

Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) contribution taxes:  The contribution is considered “supplemental wages” and supplemental wages are taxed at a higher tax rate than regular/stipend earnings.  Therefore, it is very important that GTAs and GRAs plan ahead!  ALL the taxes for the entire contribution will be withheld from your September paycheck for fall semester and February paycheck for spring semester.  These taxes can be significant and you should plan for around $300 each September and February to be withheld from your check for the SHIP contribution taxes.  

Additional information about the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) and the insurance contribution available to GTAs can be found in Section 5 of this document. 

Student Employee retirement Plan (SERP): Graduate students being paid as a GTA/GRA who are enrolled in less than 5 credits each semester for the academic year and 3 credits for summer will automatically be enrolled in SERP and will have a total of 8.95 % (7.5 % SERP and 1.45 % Medicare) withheld from gross earnings for each pay period worked.  A retirement savings account will be established in the student’s name at TIAA/CREF. 

Students must be registered by the census date each fall and spring term in order to be exempt.  Adding credits after census date will not exempt an employee from the mandatory SERP assessment.

GTAs who teach for us over the summer will have their normal taxes + SERP deducted from their summer stipend each month since the required 3 credits for exemption will not be met. 

Minimum Course Load for GTAs:  Unless otherwise approved, all GTAs must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester in years 1 & 2.  Subsequently, students will generally take 9 credits until they have fulfilled the credit requirements.

This requirement is part of the GTA contract and students that do not abide by it risk losing their assistantships.  If you plan to take fewer than 9 credit hours for any reason, please seek formal approval in writing from either your academic advisor or the Graduate Director.

Exceptions to the 9 credit hour requirement may be made for students who have completed their regular course credit requirements for the degree program in which they are enrolled.  Students who believe they have completed their credit requirements for their degree should have this confirmed with their advisor and the Graduate Coordinator, before seeking formal approval from the Graduate Director for a reduction in the 9 credit hour requirement.

Physical Presence:  GTA contracts are from August 16 – May 15 and physical presence outside of University Holidays may be required.  Attendance at pre-semester meetings is required of all GTAs.  Please check with your course coordinator (once he/she is assigned) to determine the time of your meeting.  In addition, certain departmental meetings as well as graduate student workshops are mandatory.  Inform your course coordinator of any anticipated absences well in advance.

Establishing Residency:  If you are a GTA and a US citizen, you will need to establish Colorado residency as part of the GTA contract.  The department of mathematics covers your full non-resident tuition your first year and resident tuition in the out-years.  It takes one full year to establish residency, so you must begin the process immediately upon arriving in Fort Collins!

For detailed information about the process for establishing Colorado residency see the Office of Financial Aid’s webpage on Residency Classification in Colorado:

https://financialaid.colostate.edu/residency/

For additional information about meeting the residency requirements for in-state tuition go to:

https://financialaid.colostate.edu/in-state-tuition-requirements/

All incoming GTAs will complete GTA training and will be assigned a GTA mentor.

The two half-day training sessions will cover topics including:

  • Policies of the department
  • The teaching environment
  • Preparing for teaching
  • Technology workshop
  • Teaching workshop-discussion
  • Teaching workshop-practice

GTA Mentors:  Each new GTA will be assigned a GTA mentor who will observe them two times in the classroom the first semester and give constructive feedback.

Sexual Harassment Training Policy:  Colorado State University is committed to providing a safe environment for all members of our community, including faculty, staff, students, volunteers and visitors. This is not only the responsibility of our leadership through example, development of policy, and administrative actions, it is a responsibility that we all share, must be willing to understand and to which we must all contribute. Sexual harassment is an issue to which we must pay special attention, due to its particularly corrosive effects on our community, the legal ramifications of particular cases, policy implementation and the perception of our campus.

All university employees are required to take the Workplace Answers sexual harassment awareness online module.

Shortly after their official start date, every new employee will receive an email from Workplace Answers with a unique link, associated only with them, allowing the employee to access the training module.

Additional information can be found here http://www.oeo.colostate.edu/sexual-harassment-awareness-training

Ethics training requirement:  Students expecting to receive GRA funding from any source will need to complete ethics training.  The standard method of fulfilling this requirement is to take the one-credit course GRAD 544, however an alternative is typically available for a one-day training course taught during the summer.  Information can be found at http://rcr.colostate.edu/

GTAs are typically assigned to the Calculus Center or to teach a section of one of our beginning calculus courses.

Calculus Center duties include holding office hours, running help and review sessions, facilitating groups working in large sections, grading and proctoring, staffing the help desk, and some professional development activities.

GTAs who teach a section of calculus will be giving 50 minute lectures to a class of about 30 – 35 students four days per week, holding office hours, grading, and proctoring evening exams.  New GTA’s are typically assigned to either calculus for the life sciences, or calculus I or II for mathematics majors, physical science majors and engineers.  More senior GTAs can be assigned to calculus III or differential equations.

GTA teaching assignments are made by the Undergraduate Facilitator and department Chair in the weeks preceding the beginning of each semester. All graduate students are required to complete the Graduate Course and Work Preferences form each semester by the deadline posted so that we can take into account your class schedule and teaching/work preferences.

Course Coordinator Meetings:  Most of the courses to which GTAs are typically assigned have course coordinators. The course coordinator maintains consistency across sections and will provide a class syllabus as well as examinations.

Your coordinator will meet with you in the week before classes as well as one hour per week during the semester.  Your attendance at these meetings is mandatory.

Duties:  GTA duties may take up to 20 hours per week, although ideally we would like to see students not average more than 18 hours per week.  If you feel your work load is excessive, please discuss the situation with the course coordinator.  If this does not resolve the situation please see any of the following:  Undergraduate Director, Graduate Director, Graduate Coordinator, or Department Head.

You are responsible for your class. In the event of illness or other emergency, the front office staff can arrange for a sub (Phone: 491-7925). DO NOT recruit subs without getting front office approval. Missed classes must be made up – No exceptions.

GTA’s are expected to maintain a high quality of teaching as well as meet certain basic expectations. These include, but are not limited to

  • Being on time to class and the CC and holding class/CC hours the entire time allotted, all of the time
  • Holding regularly scheduled office hours and being there the full time
  • Returning homework, quizzes, and exams to students in a timely manner
  • Being well-prepared for lecture and help/CC sessions
  • Adhering to the general guidelines provided by your course coordinator/CC director

Expectations for coordinated courses

  • Following syllabus and course outline provided by the course coordinator
  • Teaching the class using methods and material as outlined by the course coordinator.
  • Attending instructor meetings, and proctoring and grading exams as scheduled by the department or the course coordinator

Expectations for the Calculus Center:

  • Participating in exam grading and proctoring
  • Staffing the Help Desk (TILT great hall)
  • Performing the additional duties assigned to you by your course coordinator for the calculus class to which you are assigned
  • Participating in professional development activities including leading CC workshops

Other expectations

  • Instructors should dress in a professional manner, particularly avoiding dress that may be offensive, discriminatory, vulgar, or otherwise inappropriate. Student complaints will be handled by the graduate committee and undergraduate co-directors.
  • No eating is allowed while holding office hours or working in the Calculus Center.
  • Office hours must be held on campus between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

When a serious teaching concern arises, reported by either the course coordinator or another faculty member, the matter will go to the Graduate Committee where a course of action will be proposed, possibly including additional classroom observations.  The case and proposed action will go in the GTA’s file, and the matter will be revisited by the Graduate Committee after a period of time determined in the course of action.  In the case of a second report of a serious teaching concern, the matter will again go to the Graduate Committee, where a course of action will be proposed with the possibility that the GTA may be placed on GTA Probation.  GTA Probation requires that the matter be resolved, and failure to do so in a satisfactory manner, may result in a termination of GTA support.

When a GTA is awarded, it is implicit that the assistantship will continue to be available, given satisfactory academic progress towards the degree as well as satisfactory performance of assistantship duties. Signs of unsatisfactory academic progress for GTAs might include failure to maintain a 3.0 GPA, dropping below the 9 credit hour minimum or lack of progress towards examination milestones. Signs of unsatisfactory performance of duties include, for example, not showing up for teaching your class, being chronically late, or inappropriate behavior. Student performance is reviewed at the end of each semester. We would like to emphasize that only rarely has it been necessary to discontinue a GTA prematurely.

For students entering the MS program, the normal period of GTA or GRA support is two years measured from the date the program is begun. Support will not be continued beyond two years for an MS student except in special circumstances. These cases must involve some exceptional situation.

GTA/GRA support for students in the Ph.D. program will continue, up to a maximum five years, provided the student makes satisfactory progress towards successful completion of the Ph.D. degree milestones: the Ph.D. qualifying examinations, Parts I and II, the preliminary examination and the Final Dissertation Defense.

A sixth year of support is possible and must be approved by the Graduate Committee.  The Request for Sixth Year of GTA Support form must be submitted to the Graduate Committee by February 1st before fall semester of the sixth year begins.   Late requests cannot be considered due to the timeline for the admission decisions for the fall incoming class, which is in February.

Note, however, that termination of GTA support does not necessarily constitute dismissal from the program. Students who are in good standing with the Graduate School of the University (which implies certain rules) are entitled to continue in the graduate program of the Department of Mathematics at their own expense.

The above rules outline the general intentions of the Department of Mathematics. However, in exceptional circumstances the Department may deviate from this policy.