SIPS TA procedures and policies

Application Deadline

  • January 31, 2022

Application Timeline

  • Mid-November: TA solicitation for the coming academic year is released.
  • January 31: TA applications due.
  • Mid-February: Initial TA appointments announced for the coming Academic Year. Applicants not receiving appointments remain on waitlist.
  • May 1: Last day to decline a TA offer for the Fall semester.
  • May 1 – ongoing: TA rebalancing to fill vacant TA positions for the Fall semester. Waitlisted applications are given priority for open slots.
  • May 15: TA appointments finalized for the Fall semester.
  • August 1: Last day to decline a TA offer for the Spring semester.
  • August 1 – ongoing: TA rebalancing to fill vacant TA positions for the fall and spring semesters. Waitlisted applicants are given priority for open slots.
  • August 15: TA appointments finalized for the Spring semester.

Selection Process

  • All assignments for each Section will be approved by the DGS and/or Chair of that Section.
  • Your application will initially be reviewed by the DGS, GFC and/or Chair of your home section/field.
  • Following initial review, your application may also be considered by members of the SIPS Graduate Field Council to be considered for TA assignments in other SIPS sections.
  • Those applications that do not receive an initial TA assignment will be waitlisted.
  • A new application needs to be made for each new academic year in which TA support is requested.
  • TA selection is based on multiple criteria and the weighting placed on each criterion will vary from year to year and Section to Section based on the needs of instruction and the need to support all of our continuing graduate students.
    • The two main priorities for TA selection are to ensure that:
      • All of our MS and PhD students receive tuition, health insurance and stipend support while they remain in good standing and that all of our courses are well staffed by qualified TA’s.
      • The following are criteria that will be considered in selecting individuals for assignments to TA positions:
        • applicant skills, training, and prior teaching experience
        • instructional needs of the course and instructor needs for support
        • applicant funding plan for the coming academic year
        • the availability of alternate sources of funding for the applicant
        • explicit guarantees of support which must be honored
        • the number of previous TA appointments the applicant has received
        • whether the applicant needs to TA to meet a teaching requirement
        • approval of the faculty adviser

Notification Procedures

  • If you are offered a TAship, you must accept it or reject it by the deadline specified in the contract letter (May 1 for a Fall TAship and August 1 for a Spring TAship).
  • Your failure to accept an offer by the specified deadline may preclude you being offered the same TAship again.
  • Only your DGS and/or GFC can make an official offer and supply a contract.
    • All conversations with course instructors or others members of the Cornell community are purely a preliminary review, and those entities cannot make an offer.
    • TAship offers can only be made to students in a research track paying contract college rates of tuition. If you are in a professional graduate program, e.g., MPS, you will be excluded from consideration.
  • Once you have signed a contract letter, you are bound to adhere to the contract..
    • If your funding situation changes before and/or after you are offered a TA contract, e.g., your NSF GRFP, USDA-NIFA or other proposal is awarded or your advisor is awarded funding, please let us know IMMEDIATELY so that we can either remove your application or assist in finding a suitable replacement. Bear in mind that some fellowships (e.g. NSF GRFP/USDA-NIFA) can be deferred or paused to enable you to take on a TAship, and some allow the student to combine the stipends. (See Graduate School Stipend Rates page.)  Also, even if funded separately, a student can TA for credit. These options should be explored in a good faith effort to fulfill your obligation to TA once you accept an assignment.
    • If an alternative funding source is offered by your PI, please discuss good faith practice obligations with your PI, DGS and Chair.
    • Email your DGS, GFC, and Advisor indicating why your application status is changing. We, in conjunction with your Section Chair, DGS, and Advisor, will strive to find an alternate person to fulfill your obligation, and release you from the contract. However, the fulfillment of the contract is ultimately the student’s responsibility.