Information for Teaching Assistants

The Department awards an average of 75 teaching assistantships per quarter. Most are 20 hour per week appointments. All students must hold teaching assistantships for at least 3 quarters (not necessarily consecutive quarters) to meet the departmental Ph.D. degree requirement. Students typically hold Teaching Assistant appointments during the first and/or second year of graduate study. The TA Assignment Committee determines TA course assignments in accordance with the DCB Rules for TA Assignment. Exceptions require advance approval from the Department Chair. All students appointed for 25% time (10 hours per week) or more are eligible for fee remission.  TA positions are typically requested by their primary research advisor, but may also self-nominate by emailing the Staff Graduate Program Advisor at least 6 weeks in advance of the quarter in which the position is requested.

Eligibility for Teaching Assistant Positions

All new students must attend mandatory TA training sessions, campus-wide TA Orientation, and the required laboratory safety course during New Grad Academic Training in September. Any homework assignments associated with training must also be submitted. Students will receive a TA Training Handbook during New Grad Academic Training, which should be retained and referenced for the duration of their graduate career at UCSB. New TAs are required to enroll in Chem 501A and attend weekly TA meetings. International students and permanent residents whose native language is not English must pass the mandatory English for Multilingual Students (EMS) oral exam before being certified for sole classroom teaching.

To maintain eligibility for TA nominations, continuing students must maintain good academic standing and perform all TA duties adequately. Assessment of adequate TA performance will be determined by the instructor in charge of the course and submission of undergraduate evaluation forms. Students who do not meet eligibility standards for one or more quarters will not be selected for future TA positions until performance is determined to be adequately improved.

TA Absence Protocol: Teaching Assistants who will miss lab for any reason during the quarter must submit an Absence Approval Request Form with the appropriate approvals to the Staff Graduate Program Advisor at least one week prior to the start of the quarter. All TAs must be present on the first day of instruction, regardless of scheduled teaching times. TAs who will miss more than one week during the quarter will be ineligible for a position. Substitute TAs must have prior experience teaching the course and must be approved by the instructor in charge of the course.

Training and Reference Materials

General Chemistry Laboratory Coordinator, Dr. Christopher Bernt, works with all new students during the Orientation weeks in preparation for laboratory teaching assignments. Workshops, presentations, and assignments include Teaching Responsibilities,Teaching Problem Solving, current grad student panel discussions, lecture presentations, and initial TA meetings. Chemistry and Biochemistry Student Affairs staff provide information on undergraduate enrollment processes and waiting list procedures at this time. The Teaching Assistant Manual, distributed during Orientation, should be consulted throughout a student's tenure as a TA.

Undergraduate "Crashers" and Waiting Lists

Students across many majors are required to take our General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry courses. For safety and other reasons, we sometimes are unable to accommodate all students. Students can add to the waiting list, for courses that have reached their maximum capacity. Students on waiting list(s) are expected to "crash" (crashing means to attend class until a student is able to secure a seat or informed they will not be able to enroll) until the add deadline (see current quarter calendar).

Teaching Assistants are expected to adhere to the following instructions: 

1. Take Attendance: Download your class roster, on the day your section is scheduled, from eGrades. If a student is listed on your roster and does NOT show up on the first day of lab, they will be dropped from the course. Please add their name and PERM to your copy of the Drop List.

2. ALL CRASHERS will meet in front of the Undergraduate Stockrooms (General Chemistry: 2nd floor stockroom, Organic Chemistry: in PSB-N Breezeway). If crashers come directly to your lab, direct them to the appropriate undergraduate stockroom. The Lead TA  will manage all crashers and approval codes.

3. Submit your Drop List to the undergraduate advisor immediately after your section and no later than the end of the day your section is held. Be sure to include the enrollment code of your section and the perm number of the student.

Enrolled students who are trying to switch sections MUST switch with another enrolled student. If a student is trying to switch into your section, please direct them to either the Lead TA or the following link:

Teaching Assistants who have questions about undergraduate waiting lists and crashers should consult the Undergraduate Advisor before the first day of class.