September 25, 2008
Vol. 28 No. 1

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    Remuneration increases for graduate student teaching

    A significant increase in the remuneration for graduate student teachers becomes effective this Autumn Quarter, as Provost Thomas Rosenbaum has accepted all of the recommendations of the Provost’s Committee on Graduate Student Teaching.

    A committee of faculty, graduate students and administrators was formed in March as one of the action steps by Rosenbaum, Cathy Cohen, the Deputy Provost for Graduate Education, and Kimberly Goff-Crews, Vice President and Dean of Students in the University, to address some of the key issues raised by graduate students. The committee explored issues related to graduate student teaching, focusing initially on issues of remuneration.

    The committee will return to work this Autumn Quarter on issues of pedagogical training, delineating graduate student teacher’s responsibilities, reviewing job classifications and designing a plan to monitor the experience of graduate student teachers in the classroom.

    The report on remuneration, which was submitted to the Provost in June, can be found in the news section of the Office of the Provost Web site http://provost.uchicago.edu/. A series of meetings followed to obtain feedback, including meetings with Deans and the Graduate Council.

    In late August, Rosenbaum and Cohen sent a memo to the University community announcing the increases of $2.8 million for the 2008-09 academic year. “Maintaining remuneration at these increased levels will require similarly sized expenditures in future years, which the Provost’s office will fund,” Rosenbaum and Cohen wrote in their message.

    The recommended increases—across a number of designated positions—apply only to those making less than the recommended amount. Positions paid more than the recommended amount will remain unchanged.

    Listed below is a summary of the accepted recommendations

    • Increase the remuneration for lecturers from $3,500 to $5,000
    • Increase the remuneration for course and teaching assistants from $1,500 to $3,000
    • Increase the remuneration for laboratory and lecture teaching assistants in the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division from a range of $650-$2,750 to a range of $709-$3,000
    • Increase the remuneration for writing interns from $1,900/$2,000 to $3,000
    • Increase the remuneration for core interns from $1,500 to $3,000
    • Increase the remuneration for writing program lectors for undergraduate courses from $1,400/$1,500 to $2,500
    • Increase the remuneration for writing program lectors for graduate courses from $2,000 to $3,000
    • Increase the remuneration for preceptors from the range of $2,500-$6,500 to $7,500 over three quarters
    • Increase the remuneration for lectors in language departments from $1,500 to $3,000
    • Increase the remuneration for drill instructors from $800 to $1,500
    • Increase the remuneration for studio assistants from $1,000 to $1,500

    In addition to the increase in remuneration, the University is adopting the recommendation of the committee to reduce stipends for teaching commitments in the 2008-2009 academic year by the previous, lower remuneration levels for all teaching positions. Specifically, those students in the Social Sciences and Humanities Divisions whose stipends are scheduled to be reduced for required teaching expectations will have their stipends reduced only by the previous remuneration levels instead of the newly increased levels.

    “This one-year delay in adjusting stipend reductions to reflect the new rates of remuneration will allow students time to plan for increases in their stipend reductions in accordance with their teaching requirements,” they wrote. “We will begin to reduce stipends at the new levels of remuneration beginning in the 2009-2010 academic year.”

    The University will continue to monitor annually the remuneration provided graduate students, with the goal of remaining competitive with peer institutions. Issues of teaching among advanced graduate students and time limits or caps on teaching will be addressed by the Provost’s Committee on Advanced Residence and Time to Degree.

    “We also want to underscore our belief, echoed by the committee in its report, that graduate student teaching is just one dimension—although a critically important one—of graduate education more generally. We believe that teaching is an experience that benefits all graduate students, whether their careers will be strictly academic or they choose some other arena through which to make a contribution,” they wrote in their message. “We hope that departments and programs across the University will take the announcement of these increases in remuneration to discuss among their faculty and students the purpose of teaching and how the teaching experience of graduate students can continue to be improved.”

    Over the past three years, the University has made significant investments in numerous areas to ensure that graduate students have the resources and support they need to be successful in their endeavors.

    Through the Graduate Aid Initiative, it has significantly changed the funding packages, providing five years of full funding and health insurance and two summers of additional support to nearly every student matriculating to the University since Fall 2007. The Graduate Aid Initiative has been expanded to include newly matriculating students in the Divinity School.

    The University now guarantees that every graduate student who matriculated since 2003, will have health insurance through the balance of his or her first five years of graduate school.

    The University also has increased the number of Provost Summer Fellowships, which will again be available next year.

    The Provosts will continue to review the University’s policies and support, as well as the work of the Provost’s Teaching Committee and the Committee on Advanced Residence and Time to Degree. Goff-Crews will move forward with her committee to explore issues that confront international students.

    Cohen’s responsibilities include not only providing better coordination across units responsible for graduate education and making the necessary changes to enhance the educational experience for graduate students, but also making sure that the concerns and opinions of graduate students are seriously considered when decisions are made regarding the commitment of resources. All of the recent committees examining issues that directly affect graduate students have included graduate student representation.

    This fall, Cohen will begin a series of meetings with the graduate students in each department, program and school to hear their concerns and to discuss the efforts of the administration and how best to improve graduate education generally across the University.

    She also will continue to make regular presentations to the Graduate Council and will, for the first time, meet quarterly with the Directors of Graduate Studies across the University.

    The Provost’s Committee on Graduate Student Teaching is expected to submit its final report toward the end of the Winter Quarter 2009.