"Teaching Minor" and TA Requirement


In 1996 we asked a survey of the EECS grad students. Here are:

The Survey

Please help the Ad Hoc Committee on the TA Requirement by answering the following questions. Responses from first-year students are particularly interesting to us since they are most likely to be able to benefit from any changes we make, but we value responses from "senior" grad students based on what they would have chosen if these options had been available to them.

  1. Part 1: Minor in Teaching
    We are considering offering a Minor in Teaching. It would consist of the following requirements, which would satisfy both your outside minor and your TA requirement:
    • 2 semesters of a 20-hour-per-week TA position
    • teaching to be accompanied by a sequence of CS301-style seminar classes
    • one "theory" type class ("how to teach computer science subjects") cross-listed with the Education Dept.
    • Classes to be selected from a subset of EE/CS offerings (mostly the larger classes with a higher percentage of undergraduates, as opposed to the small graduate-seminar classes)
    • Certificate from Education Department to indicate your higher proficiency in teaching
    If all other graduate student requirements stayed the same, would you be interested in this option (assuming you hadn't already chosen an outside minor)? NOTE: Students who didn't select the minor would still be have to meet the existing TA requirement.

    Choose one below
    Strong Yes
    Maybe (see comments)
    Strong No

  2. If you said "Maybe", "No" or "Strong No", please briefly explain your answer.

  3. Part 2: Early Incentive for TA Requirement
    Independently of the Teaching Minor, we are trying to alleviate the problem of having a constant shortage of TA's, especially for certain classes. Most people are best able to TA during their first year, before they start spending serious time on research; however, almost everyone who receives a fellowship or GSR chooses to accept it immediately rather than TA'ing, even if the fellowship or GSR is deferrable.
    Our goal is to convince more first-year students to fulfill their TA requirement during their first year. How important would each of the following options be in terms of convincing you to satisfy your TA requirement during your first year? NOTE: Assume that you'd have to take a 20-hour GSI position to qualify for any of these "pot sweeteners".

    • Higher GSI salary

    Choose one below
    Very important
    Somewhat important
    Not important

    • Ability to defer prelims breadth requirement (not orals) up to one year

    Choose one below
    Very important
    Somewhat important
    Not important

  4. Part 3: TA Requirement Increase.
    The Department is considering increasing the TA requirement from 10 hours to 20 hours (which could be satisfied as either two 10-hour positions or one 20-hour position). Of course, current students would be appropriately grandfathered from any retroactive changes; but in a nutshell, (and assuming no other requirements would change) how do you feel about this proposed change?

    Choose one below
    Don't Support

  5. If you said "Don't Support", would you support the increase if some other requirement were relaxed? If so, which one(s)?

  6. Part 4: Your Graduate student status. We will use this to correlate answers from different groups of students. What are you?

    Choose one below
    First-year Grad Student
    Second or Third-year Grad Student
    Senior Grad Student