Performance Management

Assistantship Definitions

There are four types of graduate assistantships:

Research Assistant

The duties of a Graduate Research Assistant primarily involve applying and mastering research concepts, practices, or methods of scholarship.  Examples of typical responsibilities include conducting experiments, organizing or analyzing data, presenting findings in a publication or dissertation, collaborating with faculty in preparing publications, overseeing work of other RAs, other research activities.

Pre-Professional Graduate Assistant

Pre-Professional Graduate Assistants are appointed to non-TA/non-RA assistantship positions, in which they primarily gain experience, practice, or guidance that is significantly connected to their fields of study and career preparation.

Eligibility for PGA appointment is based on the following grid.  The student must be enrolled in one of the listed programs of study and either appointed in their enrolling unit or in any of the corresponding units listed on the same row as the enrolling unit.  Enrolling unit—Appointing Unit combinations that cross rows are not eligible as PGA appointments without specific request for approval. 

Additionally, requests for Pre-professional Graduate Assistant appointment for units/programs not listed in the grid if the appointment must be submitted to the Office of Illinois Human Resources.  Requests are reviewed for approval by a committee with representation from Illinois Human Resources, the Graduate College, and the Office of the Provost.  To request approval, please complete the Pre-Professional Graduate Assistant Appointment Request, revised March 2007.

Enrolling Unit Appointing Unit
Architecture Planning, Design & Construction, Fire Service Institute
Education (including Special Ed., Early Childhood) University Primary School
Educational Organization and Leadership, Educational Policy Studies Dean of Students, Career Center
GSLIS All departments of the University Library, Mortenson Center, Library Research Center, Center for Children's Books, college/unit libraries
ILIR Career Center, Campus or UA HR office
Journalism News Bureau
Kinesiology, Recreation, Sport & Tourism Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, Applied Life Sciences
Law University Counsel
MBA Illinois Business Consulting, College of Business
Social Work, Psychology, Educational Psychology, Community Health, Nutritional Sciences, Medical Scholars, Speech and Hearing Sciences, Special Education Student Affairs units providing counseling, social work or health-related services, such as Dean of Students, Counseling Center, McKinley Health Center, Housing
Psychology, Educational Psychology Faculty/Staff Assistance Program
Theater, Music, Dance Krannert Center for Performing Arts
Veterinary Medicine Vet Med Clinics
Human Resources Education The Career Center
Kinesiology McKinley Health Center

Teaching Assistant

The duties of a Graduate Teaching Assistant are primarily in support of instruction and include such responsibilities as teaching classes, grading student assignments, leading lab or discussion groups in a course setting, developing academic instructional materials, accompanying/coaching musical or vocal performances, providing artistic instruction, proctoring exams, overseeing/coordinating the work of other TAs, holding office hours, tutoring students.

Teaching assistant positions are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO). Teaching Assistants in the following departments are excluded from the bargaining unit only in the first semester that they teach:

  • Animal Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell & Structural Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Germanic Languages & Literature
  • Microbiology
  • Plant Biology
  • Psychology

Graduate Assistant (Administrative)

The duties of a Graduate Assistant are primarily in support of administrative functions and include such general functions and typical duties as listed below.

Administrative Support

    • Copying course materials
    • General office work: clerical, receptionist
    • Correspondence
    • Supervising reading room

Technical/Support Services

    • Webmaster/assisting faculty with web pages
    • Network administration/end-user support
    • Equipment management
    • Monitoring instruction and service labs (computer, video, etc.)
    • Translation
    • Routine support for publications (record keeping, writing copy for university or department newsletters or non-research publications, correspondence, etc.)


    • Providing curricular and academic advice to students
    • Providing support to advisors

Outreach Duties

Graduate Assistants (Administrative) are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO).

Grad assistants (all types) are eligible for a tuition waiver if appointed between 25 and 67 percent and appointed for three-quarters of the term. Student must be registered in the Graduate College for the semester(s) of the appointment. Payment is made on the 16th of every month or the prior business day should the 16th fall on a weekend or holiday.