The official University statement on what can be required of a graduate student is found in the Graduate Catalog, which is reprinted below.
The specific duties of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) vary across disciplines and departments. For the majority of teaching assistants, however, assignments and responsibilities fall into four categories:
- Assuming teaching responsibility for a laboratory or discussion session of a course;
- Assuming teaching responsibility for a classroom section of a multi-sectional course, under the close supervision of the director(s) of the course;
- Assisting a faculty member in the grading, advising, and administrative duties necessary for a course(s);
- Assisting in general departmental administrative duties, such as advising or the administration of community programs, workshops, etc.
Within a department, the particular assignment depends on the department’s needs and the experience and academic qualifications of the TA. All GTAs serving in any capacity are under the direction and close supervision of a member of the faculty.
For TAs, the 20-hour average should include the time spent in faculty lectures, class preparation, classroom or laboratory teaching, reading and commenting on student papers or examinations, office consultation, and other duties required to carry out the teaching role.
The time that TAs devote to their assignments varies. The proportion of hours spent in preparation, classroom or laboratory time, and grading, for example, differs from one discipline to another. In some disciplines, a new TA may find that a task such as grading initially requires more time than the usual 20-hour weekly average allows.
TAs may be required to come to campus prior to the actual beginning of classes to participate in orientation and class-preparation duties. TAs usually complete their formal duties when examinations have been graded.