Departmental Information for TAs

Getting Started

Once you have accepted a TA position, you must request any changes to the TA appointment at least two weeks prior to the start of classes. Resigning the assistantship at the last minute or after the semester begins, or being unavailable for TA duties on the first day of classes, are unacceptable actions and will negatively affect future TA/TFW consideration.

New international student TAs must pass the Oral Certification by the end of the first semester. Information on this certification is on the ITA website.

Once your TA assignment has been finalized, you should contact the course instructor to introduce yourself. You should become familiar with the requirements of the course, the instructor’s needs, and the TA duties. Making this initial contact with the course instructor is essential, no matter whether you are working as a lab assistant, course assistant, or grader.

The guide below will help you in gathering the information you need to be successful as a teaching assistant.

Course information

  • Obtain a copy of course syllabus.
  • What text is being used for the course? What chapters will be covered and when? Does the instructor have a copy of the text or a solution manual available for your use?
  • How will homework be assigned, collected, and graded? Will homework be returned to students during the following class session? Are homework solutions posted and, if so, where?
  • How many quizzes, tests, or exams will be administered throughout the semester? When and where will they take place?
  • What is the grading system for the course? How are percentage points divided between the final, homework, class attendance, lab and computer assignments, and class projects?

Your work responsibilities

  • What will your teaching responsibilities include for the course?
  • How will grading responsibilities be shared between the TAs and the instructor? Are you required to prepare and post the homework solutions? If so, where do you post the homework grades and solutions?
  • Will you be required to proctor exams? Are you required to assist the instructor in grading the exams?
  • What are you expected to do on the first day of class?
  • What are your office hours for the semester? Do you have an office, and if so, where is it located? What is the best way for the instructor and the students to contact you?
  • Will you be required to do any work during the exam week and in the assignment of grades?
  • Are you required to have regularly scheduled meeting with the instructor? If so, how frequently will you meet and where?

Important contacts

  • What is the best way to reach the professor: by email, office number, and/or home or cell phone? When is the best time?

Academic Misconduct

If any teaching assistant, research assistant, TFW holder, or grader is caught in an act of cheating, plagiarism, making threats against any person with the intention of affecting academic performance, examination by proxy, grade tampering, or other acts of academic dishonesty, the consequences will be serious.

A teaching assistant, research assistant, TFW holder, or grader in these circumstances will forfeit all financial aid from the department in that semester and any future consideration for financial aid from the department. If the financial aid is from another unit at UIC, your UIC employer will be informed in writing of any misconduct. A teaching assistant, research assistant, TFW holder, or grader in these circumstances may be dismissed from the university. Misconduct is taken very seriously.

Mailboxes and Offices

Mailboxes are not provided to any CS graduate students. If a class requires paper submission of assignments, the TA should notify CS Student Affairs for submission options. Faculty and staff mailboxes are located in the main office, 1120 SEO. If you want to drop off something for a faculty or staff member, visit the main office to locate the appropriate box. No personal mail should be sent to the department address. The department will NOT be responsible for any lost mail.

We do our best to provide a TA office to all TAs, but we have limited space available. If you intend to use your lab space for office hours, contact your advisor to verify that this is acceptable and inform CS Student Affairs. No personal items, food, refrigerator, toasters, coffee machines, or other similar items should be stored in TA offices, which represent a shared space designed to help you fulfill your TA duties. The space must be kept clean and in good working order. It is your responsibility to ensure your students respect the office space.