Teaching as an Instructor of Record

In some cases, GTAs serve as the instructor of record for undergraduate courses.  Autonomous GTAs should consider the following guidance:

  • Communicate with your department mentor or supervisor about your course plans and the relevant curricular requirements.
  • Make sure your plans are consistent with descriptions of the course in the undergraduate catalogue, with department course descriptions, and, as much as possible, with other sections taught by colleagues.
  • Be reasonable about the scope of coverage, the amount of work you require, and the amount of work you can grade in a timely manner.  Consult with senior peers and course faculty as you determine what is appropriate.
  • Offer clear statements of relevant department and University standards in your course policies because students need to know what is expected.  Learn more about UMD's course-related policies.
  • Maintain clarity about your expectations in the syllabus.  Think of the syllabus as a contract with students, so that students understand and can count on your expectations.  The TLTC also provides more information and guidance about crafting an effective syllabus.
  • Be thoughtful and deliberate when planning for your first day of class.  Here are additional suggestions to consider for your first day of class.
  • Be aware that undergraduate students are sometimes accustomed to seeing graduate students work for professors; students may initially regard you as a novice teacher and may express concern about the absence of a regular faculty member.  Your department has signaled that you are the course instructor; adopt and maintain the persona of the teacher of record.
  • Familiarize yourself with grading rubrics and University definitions of grades (information about Final Course Grades from the Faculty Handbook).  Fellow teachers are often generous about sharing their grading rubrics, standards, and course policies.  Be sure to ask first, but you are able to use examples from other GTAs and faculty.