Graduate Student Instructor Employment Policies

Preliminary

The grievance procedure that applies to all policies in this document is as follows.

Like other grievances involving graduate students, any problem connected with service as GSI that cannot be resolved through discussion with the faculty member responsible for the course should first be discussed informally with the Head Graduate Adviser and/or Department Chair. If a problem cannot be resolved in such discussions, the GSI may make a written petition to the Department Chair for a grievance hearing. The instructor will be asked to provide a written response, and the matter will be referred to an ad hoc grievance committee named by the Chair (consisting of 1 Classics GSI, one Classics faculty member, and one faculty member from outside the Department).

All GSI policies are to be posted in a convenient location in the Department; also, applications for GSIships and letters of appointment and assignment to courses are to contain a notice that these policies are posted, that they include a description of the applicable grievance procedure, and that a copy of the policy statements may be obtained from the Graduate Assistant.

A. Policies and Procedures for Selection of Academic-Year GSIs

  • A1. Applications are made available in January of each year for GSI positions for the following academic year. The deadline for application, usually mid- to late March, is shown on the application form. In addition to the application form, applicants must submit an unofficial transcript and at least two letters of recommendation. Applicants who have not previously taught in the Department but have taught elsewhere may wish to submit copies of their teaching evaluations. Evaluations for courses taught in the Department are already on file.
  • A2. Students who are about to complete an M.A. in Classics or the Group in AHMA and who hope to be assigned their required/guaranteed year of teaching (see A8 below) should submit a full application.
  • A3. New students are strongly discouraged from teaching in the first year of graduate study. Newly-admitted students are allowed to apply, but are warned that they may receive no ranking or a very low ranking and that they should not decide to enroll at Berkeley on the assumption that they may eventually get a GSI position in their first year. Applicants are informed of this policy in an informational brochure that they receive when they ask for an application, and the policy is reiterated if a student who has been notified of admission without fellowship inquires about the possibility of teaching in Classics.
  • A4. Applications are reviewed and ranked by the Department's Committee on Graduate Admissions, Fellowships, and GSIships (hereafter referred to as "the committee"). This committee normally has six members, including the Graduate Adviser (as chair) and the Chair (ex officio). The committee receives advice from the departmental Director of GSIs. The members of the committee are selected by the department Chair, in such a way as to ensure representation, so far as possible, for all fields of study in the department. The interests of the Group in AHMA are therefore automatically represented since the committee will always contain at least one historian or archeologist who is also a member of the Group.
  • A5. The Department receives each year an allocation of Temporary Academic Staff (TAS) funds. This fund is the source of payment for all academic-year GSIs, for lecturers, and occasionally for some visiting professors. The base TAS budget in recent years has been sufficient to fund at least 30-32 semester-positions for GSIs. The TAS budget is sometimes augmented because of faculty leaves or unexpected faculty separations or sick leaves, and such augmentation may at times be used to fund additional GSI positions. The base TAS funding for the following year is normally known accurately enough in April and May for the Chair to offer positions in 30-32 courses or sections. Additional hiring may be done in later months, after funding is assured.
  • A6. The committee establishes four lists from the pool of applicants.

    a. A list of applicants who are to receive positions as required/ guaranteed (see further item A8), conditional on completion of the M.A. by the end of the academic year and on authorization to advance into the Ph.D. program. If the TAS allocation is not sufficient to cover all the eligible applicants, the applicants are ranked and in some cases one or two semesters of the required/guaranteed service may be deferred to the following year.

    b. A list of applicants, ranked on general merit, equal in number to the total firmly funded positions less the number of positions awarded under a. To arrive at a ranking, the committee considers academic achievement (including performance in courses and exams and timely completion of degree requirements), evidence of qualities likely to produce effective teaching or evidence of success or growth in previous teaching assignments, and the amount and kind of previous support.

    c. A list of alternates, ranked on general merit. The criteria of ranking are the same as under b. Applicants assigned one semester under list a or b may be ranked for a second semester under list c. Applicants may be placed at two separate positions on this list, giving them a higher priority for one semester of appointment and a lower priority for a second semester. Alternates are appointed from this list either when persons on lists a or b decline an offer or resign from an appointment or when additional TAS funding becomes available. The order of the list is followed wherever possible. A person ranked higher on the list may be skipped in favor of a person ranked lower if the higher-ranked person has already indicated he/she is not available for the relevant semester or if the Chair, in consultation with others, determines that the higher-ranked person is not suitable for the course which has become available.

    d. A list of applicants who will not be considered for appointment.
     
  • A7. In addition to ranking applicants, the committee may suggest to the Chair restrictions or preferences as to the assignment of a particular applicant. Since the majority of positions are in elementary Latin, the committee pays particular attention to demonstrated competence in Latin and may advise that an applicant be appointed only as a section-leader or that part or all of the required/guaranteed service be deferred if there is not satisfactory evidence of competence in Latin. It is therefore important for applicants who hope to take advantage of the required/ guaranteed positions to have advanced Latin courses on their record (preferably taught by regular members of the Department) or to have passed a translation exam in Latin more or less equivalent to the M.A. exam in Latin translation. This advice is especially relevant to applicants from AHMA, to Classics students completing the M.A. in Greek, and to students admitted directly to the Ph.D. program.
  • A8. In order to improve the predictability of support, to share limited resources among as many students as possible, and to provide practical experience and training in teaching as part of the overall preparation for a career in Classics, the Department instituted several years ago a program of required/guaranteed teaching. This teaching is "required" in the sense that students completing a Ph.D. in Classics are normally required to teach for two semesters as part of their training. It is "guaranteed" in the sense that the Department undertakes, so far as budgetary allocations permit, to guarantee these two semesters at a predictable point in the student's career and in certain cases expresses this guarantee as part of a multi-year package of support offered to a new student. The "guarantee" is applied rather differently to various categories of applicants.

    a. Graduate students earning the M.A. degree in Classics at UCB: two semesters are normally awarded in the post-M.A. year, subject to approval by the committee. If a deferment is recommended by the committee, two semesters are awarded in the following year. If one or both semesters are deferred for other reasons, the guarantee is held over to the next academic year, but expires thereafter, unless an explicit exception is made. Note: deferment is intended for such situations as a student's having an external fellowship that must be used in the first post-M.A. year, or the committee's judging a student not yet ready to teach. Students who have been on full fellowship during the M.A. years are expected to take their guaranteed year of teaching in the first post-M.A. year and are not given fellowship support for that year.

    b. Graduate students entering the Classics Ph.D. program with an M.A. or equivalent from elsewhere: A student who enters the Ph.D. program with an M.A. or equivalent from another university will normally teach for two semesters either in the third year (if the student has a fellowship package covering both the first two years) or in the second year (if the student does not have two years of fellowship awarded on admission), subject to approval by the Committee on GSIships. If one or both semesters, once offered, are deferred for any reason, the guarantee is held over to the next academic year, but expires thereafter, unless an explicit exception is made.

    c. Graduate students earning the M.A. degree in Classical Archaeology: two semesters are normally awarded in the post-M.A. year. Assignment may be limited to section-leader positions if there is not sufficient evidence of competence in Latin. If one or both semesters, once offered, are deferred for any reason, the guarantee is held over to the next academic year, but expires thereafter, unless an explicit exception is made.

    d. Graduates students entering the Classical Archaeology Ph.D. program with an M.A. or the equivalent from elsewhere: two semesters are normally awarded in the second year, or in the third year if the student has come with two years of non-teaching support. Assignment may be limited to section-leader positions if there is not sufficient evidence of competence in Latin. If one or both semesters, once offered, are deferred for any reason, the guarantee is held over to the next academic year, but expires thereafter, unless an explicit exception is made.

    e. Graduates students in the Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology: because the Group does not have GSI positions of its own to award, the Department of Classics makes every effort to guarantee two semesters of teaching to Group students who have a Greco-Roman emphasis in their studies. This guarantee first becomes effective in the post-M.A. year, or for students who come with an M.A. from elsewhere in their second year of study. Assignment may be limited to section-leader positions if there is not sufficient evidence of competence in Latin. If in a given year the number of positions available is severely limited relative to the pool of applicants, Group students have a lower priority than students in Classics and Classical Archaeology, and the Department may choose to defer their guarantee entirely to the following year. If the number is moderately limited, the Department may choose to award to Group students only one of the two guaranteed semesters in the post-M.A. year and to defer the second semester to the next year. If the student is offered two semesters in the post-M.A. year and chooses to decline one or both, only one semester of guarantee may be deferred to the following year; in no circumstance may a Group student defer any part of the guarantee beyond the second post-M.A. year (or beyond the third year of study for a student who comes with an M.A.).

    f. Classical specialists in Comparative Literature. Because the Department of Comparative Literature has a large number of GSI positions at its disposal, classical specialists in Comparative Literature are not guaranteed teaching in the Department of Classics in the same way as students in Classics, Classical Archaeology, and AHMA. Nevertheless, the Department does recognize the desirability of providing to classical specialists in Comparative Literature experience in teaching in the Department of Classics, particularly in language-courses. This recognition is taken into account in establishing the merit-based list of GSIs, and it may be said in general that classical specialists in Comparative Literature who have not previously taught in Classics and who are judged by the committee to possess the required linguistic competence are given a high priority for two semesters of teaching (sometimes divided over two years) once they have been advanced to candidacy.

    g. Notwithstanding any of the above provisions, the committee may with adequate notice to the student defer the guaranteed positions of a student who is judged to have exceptionally generous multi-year fellowship support.
     
  • A9. Students who are advanced to candidacy are not guaranteed further employment, but the attainment of this status is regarded as an important element in establishing a relative ranking of merit. As a result, a student advanced to candidacy will usually receive a high ranking for one year of teaching after advancement. Conversely, students who have had substantial teaching before advancement to candidacy and have already had a year of teaching after advancement to candidacy may normally expect to receive a relatively low ranking for further teaching.
  • A10. Assignment to courses and sections is the responsibility of the Chair, who relies heavily on the advice of the committee and of the current and past Directors of GSIs. Time permitting, the Chair informs appointees of the courses which are available and asks for their preferences (if they have not already expressed their preferences in their application), but the Chair's first responsibility is to the perceived needs of the students enrolled in Classics courses. When an alternate is appointed, there is often no choice of assignment.
  • A11. All GSIs are expected to be available during the week before the first day of classes for orientation sessions, at a time or times arranged by the Director of GSIs. All GSIs are expected to attend training sessions during the term of appointment as required by the departmental Director of GSIs. The Director may excuse some GSIs from some or all sessions. Supervision of GSIs for courses other than elementary Latin may be delegated to other appropriate faculty (such as the Chair or the professor in charge of a large lecture course or a professor in charge of a concurrent section of elementary Greek).
  • A12. All GSIs are required to distribute teaching evaluation forms to their course or section at the end of the term and to arrange for the return of the completed forms to the Department office for filing.
  • A13. If the list of alternates is exhausted during the academic year, the Chair will, time permitting, re-advertise the possibility of a vacancy and establish a new ranking, consulting the committee. If time does not permit re-advertising or if re-advertising has already taken place and there is still a vacancy, the Chair may make all necessary appointments, consulting as many appropriate colleagues as possible.

B. Policies and Procedures for Selection of Summer GSIs

  • B1. During the Fall Semester the Chairperson invites applications from advanced graduate students for Director of the Greek Workshop, Director of the Latin Workshop, and instructor for Classics S10 or S28 or a similar lecture course. The deadline for application is usually around October 15. Applicants for the Workshop are expected to write a letter describing their own qualifications and explaining the structure, organization, textbook, and teaching materials of the workshop as they would teach it.
  • B2. Applications are made available in January of each year for GSI positions for the summer workshops. These are all six-week positions, paying the maximum rate of 0.166 FTE. There are normally three positions in the Latin Workshop, three in the Greek, and alternates are named in case enrollment justifies an additional appointment in either workshop. The deadline, usually in late February, is shown on the application form. In addition to the application form, applicants must submit an unofficial transcript and at least two letters of recommendation. Applicants who have not previously taught in the Department but have taught elsewhere may wish to submit copies of their teaching evaluations. Evaluations for courses taught in the Department are already on file.
  • B3. Applications are reviewed and ranked by the Department's Committee on Graduate Admissions, Fellowships, and GSIships (hereafter referred to as "the committee"). This committee normally has six members, including the Graduate Adviser (as chair) and the departmental Chair (ex officio). The committee receives advice from the departmental Director of GSIs. The members of the committee are selected by the department Chair, in such a way as to ensure representation, so far as possible, for all fields of study in the department. The interests of the Group in AHMA are therefore automatically represented since the committee will always contain at least one historian or archeologist who is also a member of the Group.
  • B4. Applicants are ranked on general merit. The committee considers academic achievement (including performance in courses and exams and timely completion of degree requirements), evidence of qualities likely to produce effective teaching in the workshop environment in particular in addition to evidence of general success or growth in previous teaching assignments, and the amount and kind of previous support. When there is a sufficiently large pool of applicants, the committee usually gives preference (1) to students who already have experience as a GSI in a language-section at UCB and (2) to students who have not already taught in the Workshops two times.
  • B5. Because of the time-demands of the Directorships and the level of the salary relative to other GSI appointments, a student appointed as Director will normally not be awarded more than one semester of GSI teaching during the following academic year. A student appointed as GSI for a Workshop suffers no loss of eligibility for teaching during the following academic year.
  • B6. If the list of alternates is exhausted, the Chair or Acting Chair will, time permitting, advertise the possibility of a vacancy and establish a new ranking, consulting as many members of the committee as are available. If time does not permit advertising or if additional advertising has already taken place and there is still a vacancy, the Chair or Acting Chair may make all necessary appointments, consulting appropriate colleagues if possible.