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TA Appointment and Reappointment Guidelines

Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Programs - Appointment and Reappointment Guidelines for Teaching Assistantships


The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSCI) receives teaching assistantship (TA) lines from the College of Pharmacy to support courses in the PharmD curriculum. The Department assigns 50% teaching assistantships in the Fall and Spring Semesters. Summer Session or 25% appointments are atypical.  The majority of PhD students in the Department are admitted with funding, and while there is no guarantee of continued funding (teaching or research assistantship stipend and/or tuition waiver), it is the intent of the program to fund PhD students with assistantships for the full duration of their enrollment period.  Most students will be funded on teaching assistantships for a minimum of four semesters, typically during the first year of their course of studies plus two additional semesters. If a student obtains internal or external fellowship support early in their graduate career, commensurate TA support will typically be deferred to their later year(s) of study.

The Department will issue the majority of TA offer letters on or about 45 days prior to the appointment start date or as soon as practicable. Sample TA duties include, but are not limited to, assistance with podium operations, remote class setup, clicker technology, Blackboard maintenance, handout preparation, exam preparation, exam proctoring, exam grading, tutoring during office hours, and other responsibilities as assigned by the course coordinator. TAs in PSCI typically do not participate in direct instruction nor do they contribute to course design. PSCI TAs provide support for the following PharmD courses:

P1 Curriculum: Fall - PHAR 410, 412, 422, 431, 435; Spring - PHAR 412, 413, 423, 432, 501, 502

P2 Curriculum: Fall - PHAR 413, 433, 503, 504; Spring - PHAR 414, 434, 440, 505, 506

P3 Curriculum: Fall - PHAR 507, 508, 516, 520; Spring - PHAR 509, 510, 515, 516, 566

Course descriptions may be found at

Factors Which May Influence Appointment Eligibility or Course Assignments

Applicant’s preferences TA candidate preferences will be collected each semester in the form of an on-line survey. The Department will give each candidate the option of providing their course preferences, unavoidable personal schedule constraints, anticipated class schedule for the next semester, and other relevant feedback.

Scheduling availability To the extent practicable, PSCI will establish and review graduate course timetables to minimize scheduling conflicts with PharmD courses that require TAs. Conflicts resulting from elective course enrollments outside of PSCI will be addressed on a case-by-case basis but may require rescheduling on the part of the TA.

Previous academic/teaching/professional experience Especially upon the initial TA appointment, the Department will review the student’s application file to assess preparation for and familiarity with PharmD course content.

Academic record A student’s program concentration and academic strengths/weaknesses may influence their course assignment(s).

Instructor recommendations Course coordinator requests and unique course needs may be taken into consideration during the TA assignment process.

Research advisor requests/recommendations Faculty advisors may provide input based on their knowledge of the student’s research or professional interests, research demands, or the availability/timing of research funding.

College/Department mission The responsibility to provide consistent TA support across all courses (e.g., the pairing of new and experienced TAs in key courses) may outweigh individual considerations.


Students must remain in good academic standing in their graduate programs in order to be eligible for PSCI TA appointments. Previous TA performance and available instructor evaluations will factor into reappointment decisions. Students may be reassigned to the same course to achieve course consistency and in accordance with TA and instructor preferences, but there should be no expectation of automatic reassignment to the same course. Exposure to multiple courses benefits a TA in terms of expanding his/her skillset and knowledge base.

Teaching assistants are also expected to be diligent in their completion of University requirements associated with employment: annual Ethics Training/Certification, annual Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Training, and Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (ANCRA) training. It is understood that this list may be updated or expanded by the State of Illinois, the University, the College of Pharmacy, and/or the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. TAs should pay careful attention to relevant notices, instructions, and deadlines that are communicated via email, including course-specific assignments and instructions. TA non-responsiveness may negatively impact reappointment.

* NOTE - COVID-19 Period The current pandemic situation has introduced new challenges and uncertainties, which are not directly addressed by the GEO contract or student handbooks. The Department will strive to maintain consistency during this period, but TA flexibility in terms of facilitating instruction under new models of delivery is appreciated.