For Employed TAs: Expectations & Overview of Responsibilities

(Please note: This information is for students employed in TA positions.  Please see the Funding page to find out how to become a TA.)

If you are a Teaching Assistant (TA), you are an employee of the School of Mechanical Engineering and are expected to behave appropriately and professionally: be on time, respect your supervisor and property of the school, do not miss meetings, and be responsible for your actions. Remember: An assistantship position is not guaranteed beyond the dates of the original contract.

Overview of Teaching Assistant Responsibilities

  1. You are an employee of Purdue and the School of Mechanical Engineering with the instructor-in-charge of the course as your supervisor for the semester.
  2. You will be expected to attend TA Orientation, and other course organizational meetings with the instructor. 
  3. Employment as teaching assignments begins one week prior to start of classes and ends the Tuesday following the final exams week, when final grades are due.
  4. Any student not reporting for the first day of employment will have her/his pay adjusted to account for the absence and will jeopardize future assignments.
  5. TA’s are expected to satisfy ME’s requirement to be registered full-time (8 credit hours in spring/fall semesters, 6 credit hours in summer) during your TA semesters and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.  If you’re an international student, you also need to follow ISS requirements.
  6. You are expected to obey Purdue graduate staff policies.  Please see Graduate Staff Employment Manual for a complete understanding of positions, requirements, responsibilities, termination, etc.  (Please be aware you are expected to follow ME’s requirements that may exceed the Grad School requirements.) 
  7. TA’s are paid biweekly.  You can find biweekly payroll calendar dates on the Human Resources website.
  8. If your appointment is at least half time, you will be eligible to enroll in the Graduate Student Staff Health Plan, see Graduate Staff Benefits.  If you choose to accept this plan, the University will subsidize approximately 80% of the cost of the present plan.  Additional coverage for a spouse and other dependents is available but without the University subsidy.  
  9. Teaching responsibilities are usually assigned in the areas of research and study interest of the student, subject to the needs of the School.
  10. Meeting these expectations will be reviewed when being considered for continuing support for subsequent semesters.
  11. Nature of assignments
    • Teaching scheduled laboratory sections, maintaining office hours, grading homework and lab reports: ME 263, 315, 352, 363, 365, 440, 444, 475.
    • Teaching recitations and open labs, tutoring, conducting demonstration-type experiments: ME 200, 270/274, 309, 315, 323, 375.
    • Varied teaching/support responsibilities, as required by course supervisors: ME 452, 463.
    • Half-time teaching assistantship duties are 20 hours per week, including in-class time and preparation time. If the workload is substantially greater, talk to the instructor-in- charge, and then to the Graduate Chair.
  12. Teaching Assistant Performance:
    • It is essential that you are always prepared for the class, recitation, and tutorial. Be at your desk before the appointed time; expect to stay after hours as needed.
    • If you need help, ask the instructor-in-charge.
    • You are serving as an instructor to the undergraduate students. Students will fill out evaluation forms on your performance.
    • At the end of the semester, the instructor-in-charge will evaluate your performance. A satisfactory evaluation is essential for continued teaching assistant support in the School.
  13. If you must miss a class for personal reasons:
    • Notify the instructor-in-charge.
    • Make prior arrangements with the instructor-in-charge or another teaching assistant in the same course.
    • In an emergency call Professor Jones (4-5691) or Professor Key (4-2333).
  14. Continuation of Teaching Assistantship Funding
    • For students enrolled for an MS, continued support as a teaching assistant can be expected only when undertaking thesis option MS and the evaluations are satisfactory.
    • There is a maximum time duration for which a student will be supported as a teaching assistant: four semesters for Master’s students and six semesters for PhD students.

Emergency Preparedness Resources for Faculty and Teaching Assistants

ME Graduate Office
516 Northwestern Ave. (4th floor of Wang Hall)
West Lafayette, IN 47906
(765) 494-5730
Virtual office hours available every Tues/Wed/Thurs