Employment of Graduate Students as Student Assistants, Instructional Student Assistants, Graduate Assistants and Teaching Associates, Policy on

California State University, Long Beach                                            Policy Statement

Policy Number: 21-03

Date: January 27, 2021





(This policy supersedes Policy Statements 95-03, 96-21, and 17-18)



This policy statement was approved by the Academic Senate on December 10, 2020 and approved by the President on January 26, 2021.


1.0      Preamble


California State University, Long Beach offers employment as Student Assistants, Instructional Student Assistants, Graduate Assistants, and Teaching Associates to a limited number of graduate students. Student employment on campus provides useful supportive services to the various academic and administrative programs and/or departments, offers students valuable experience related to their educational goals, and assists with financial support to help meet the cost of attending college. Therefore, employment of graduate students by the University should not be allowed to impede those students in the pursuit of their academic and professional goals. 


This policy may not be interpreted in ways violating the Unit 11 Collective Bargaining Agreement. These policies shall be available upon request and shall be given to each Unit 11 employee in that department or unit upon being hired.


2.0      Roles of Student Assistants, Instructional Student Assistants, and Graduate Assistants


According to the California State University Classification and Qualification Standards issued by the Chancellor's Office Systemwide Human Resources, Student Assistants are "CSU students who work in various areas of a campus. Student Assistants perform duties ranging from unskilled to skilled and/or specialized, in a variety of positions that typically require the use of manual, clerical, public contact, and/or analytical skills. […]

The Student Assistant classification is distinguished from the Instructional Student

Assistant, Graduate Assistant, and Teaching Associate classifications in that the Student Assistant does not perform academic related duties such as instruction, tutoring, grading, evaluating, research, and assisting faculty with classroom activities."


"Under supervision, Instructional Student Assistants [...] perform teaching, grading or tutoring duties for the majority of work hours in a given appointment in a given academic department or equivalent administrative unit over the course of an academic term. The majority of work performed in a given appointment in a given academic department or equivalent administrative unit over the course of an academic term by Instructional Student Assistants is tutoring, grading and/or teaching work."


"[A] Graduate Assistant assists a regular faculty member or the teaching staff with various professional and technical duties associated generally with the subjects or programs in which the assistant is doing graduate work. Graduate Assistants are provided part-time employment and practical experience in fields related to their advanced study.[...] Graduate Assistants provide professional non-teaching assistance to faculty members. Graduate Assistant work may involve supervising students in a classroom, workshop, or laboratory (where final responsibility for the class and its entire instruction, including the performance of the Graduate Assistant, is vested in a member of the faculty); training students in the use of equipment or other resources; assisting faculty with research and preparation of course materials; participating in the evaluation of students’ work; tutoring students; and other related work.[...] Graduate Assistants are not responsible for the instructional content of a course, selecting student assignments, planning of examinations, determining the term grade for students, instructing the entire enrollment of a course, or providing the entire instruction of a group of students enrolled in a course. Graduate Assistants may not be employed to assist in a course in which […] [they are] enrolled, nor should they be consulted regarding the grading of their peers."


Instructional Student Assistants and Graduate Assistants should be supervised directly by a faculty or staff member and provided evaluative feedback on a regular basis as decided by the Department.


3.0      Qualifications


To be employed as a Student Assistant, Instructional Student Assistant, Graduate Assistant, or Teaching Associate, graduate students must be qualified in terms of adequate course work and other training appropriate for their duties. They must also be enrolled at CSULB in department approved courses, making satisfactory progress toward their degree. To be eligible for employment during Winter and Summer sessions, graduate students must either be enrolled in an approved course of their degree in these sessions or be continuing their enrollment in the following academic semester. Student Assistants may work  one  term  immediately  following  graduation, up until the day before the next term starts, as a Bridge Student Assistant.

4.0 Maintaining Qualifications

If a graduate student fails to maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree, the student’s appointment will be terminated immediately in the case of a Student Assistant, Instructional Student Assistant, or a Graduate Assistant, or not renewed at the end of the semester in the case of a Teaching Associate. If a student employee fails to maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree, the student’s appointment will be reassessed, and termination will be determined on a case by case basis. A Teaching Associate whose appointment is not renewed because of failure to maintain enrollment will be ineligible for further employment as a Teaching Associate until one semester has passed. 


Students unrepresented by bargaining units wishing to challenge their termination may do so in writing to the appropriate administrator before the start of the subsequent term. 


4.0      Hours of Employment for Student Assistants, Instructional Student Assistants, and Graduate Assistants


4.1      Employment of a graduate student as a Student Assistant or Instructional Student Assistant is limited to 20 hours per week during the Spring and Fall semesters. At all other times, such employment is limited to 40 hours per week.


4.2      In exceptional circumstances, with supervisor approval, a student employee may work more than 20 hours in a particular week during the Spring and Fall semesters. 


5.0      The Role of Teaching Associates


A limited number of graduate students may be employed as Teaching Associates. Teaching Associates who are enrolled in a Master’s degree program are normally employed to teach lower-division laboratory or discussion sections under the direct supervision of the course coordinator, department chair/school director, or a faculty member assigned to teach the same course. Employment of Teaching Associates who are enrolled in a Master's degree program to teach upper-division classes is rare. A Teaching Associate who is enrolled in a Master's degree program may also be employed to teach a lecture or lecture-discussion course where the following conditions are met:

  1. the course is at the lower-division level;
  2. the graduate student has received adequate training and demonstrated competence in the subject matter of the course to be taught;
  3. the teaching experience has been designed specifically to help the graduate student improve their command of pedagogical techniques; and
  4. the graduate student is supervised directly by a faculty member and is provided evaluative feedback on a regular basis.


Doctoral students at CSULB may be employed as Teaching Associates to teach courses at the upper division level provided they have: a master's degree (or higher); or the equivalent of a master's degree; or at least one year of full-time doctoral level coursework.


Any exception to the above requirements shall be approved by the Dean of the College.  Graduate students may not be employed simply as a less expensive replacement for lecturer faculty.


The Program Assessment and Review Council (PARC) shall monitor compliance through the program review process.


6.0      Hours of Employment and Evaluation of Teaching Associates


6.1      Employment of a graduate student as a Teaching Associate usually should not be for more than 20 hours per week, normally equivalent to a maximum of six weighted teaching units of lecture or discussion sections or a maximum of eight weighted teaching units of laboratory sections.


6.2      The teaching performance of Teaching Associates, at a minimum, shall be subject to student evaluations using the same instrument as is used for faculty evaluations.


7.0      Simultaneous Employment


A graduate student may be employed simultaneously in two of the categories enumerated in this policy, provided they do not normally work more than 20 hours per week total during the Spring and Fall semesters. Exceptions to the number of categories may be made with the approval of Faculty Affairs in consultation with the college dean. A graduate student employed as a Teaching Associate in one department, however, may not be employed as a Lecturer or teaching associate in another department.


8.0      Workload


During the Spring and Fall semesters the total hours of employment should not normally exceed 20 hours per week, and the average number of hours per week shall not exceed 20 hours. Work beyond 25 hours in a given week must be approved by the relevant dean or dean’s designee in consultation with the department chair.  In all cases workload must conform with state and federal laws.


9.0      Change of Degree Program


If a graduate student employed by a department begins to pursue a different degree, either in another department at CSULB or at another university, the department chair of the student’s original home department has the right to terminate the student’s employment with at least two weeks’ notice in writing. It is the responsibility of the graduate student to inform the graduate advisor of the original home department of a decision to seek a different degree. Evidence of this decision would include, but is not limited to, formal acceptance into the new degree program, enrolling in courses for the new degree, or taking oral or written examinations for the new degree.


10.0  Unit Policies on Teaching Associates


Each unit which employs Teaching Associates shall make available policy covering, but not limited to, the following: 

  1. the  specific eligibility requirements for Teaching Associates;
  2. the  application procedure for Teaching Associates;
  3. the  criteria for the selection of new Teaching Associates;
  4. the  criteria for renewing and/or continuing Teaching Associates; (5) the  training and direct supervision of Teaching Associates; (6) the  duties and responsibilities of Teaching Associates.
  1. the  procedures and criteria for the evaluation of Teaching Associates; and
  2. the  procedures for resolution should disputes or grievances arise among the Teaching Associate and a student, the supervising instructor, or the home department. 

These procedures must be in accordance with governing University policies.


Policies on graduate student employees crafted by each unit must be available to the campus community on the Faculty Affairs website and be linked from college and department websites. Each Unit 11 employee or prospective employee shall be directed to the website. 

__________________________________________________________________ EFFECTIVE:  Immediately