Use of Undergraduates as Instructors

Policy on the Use of Undergraduates as Instructors

College of Arts and Sciences: Approved September 16,1992

Statement of Policy

The inclusion of undergraduates in the instructional activities of the College has significant educational benefits for the participating students. Assisting in instruction has traditionally been an excellent opportunity for students to test their abilities as teachers and as future scholars in their chosen disciplines. At the same time, however, undergraduates attending a comprehensive university such as CU have the right to expect instruction to be provided by faculty and by those receiving advanced training in their discipline.

The College wants to encourage the involvement of advanced undergraduates in classroom, studio, and laboratory instruction where such involvement does not compromise the integrity of the educational experience for enrolled students. With this goal in mind, the faculty of the College have adopted a set of guidelines under which departments and programs may utilize undergraduates in an instructional role. Deviation from these guidelines should occur only with the knowledge and agreement of the Dean of the College.

Policy Guidelines

  1. Undergraduates should only be used as assistants in courses that they have already completed or are otherwise academically prepared to assist.
  2. Undergraduate teaching aides (UGTAs) should be rigorously and regularly supervised by faculty who are responsible for the course.
  3. UGTAs may not be used as the primary instructor in any lecture, recitation, studio, laboratory, or field course.
  4. Acceptable uses of undergraduates in the instructional process include:
    • attending lectures and offering additional office hours or help sessions,
    • serving as an assistant to a faculty member or graduate instructor (TA, GPTI) in recitations, labs, or studios when the faculty/TA/GPTI is also present most of the time,
    • serving as graders of objective exams and quizzes (quantitative exams, multiple choice, true-false). Grading must be submitted in each instance to faculty/TA/GPTI for review,
    • serving as preparators, or researchers associated with courses,
    • serving as peer advisors under supervision of trained faculty and/or staff.
  5. Unacceptable uses of UGTAs include:
    • serving as an unsupervised instructor in any lecture, lab, recitation, field or studio section,
    • serving as a grader of exams and quizzes that require subjective evaluation of quality (essays, term papers, oral reports),
    • allowing UGTAs to set grading policy or assign grades for an assignment or course,
    • allowing UGTAs to write exam questions or quizzes that are not rigorously reviewed in each instance by a faculty/GPTI/TA instructor,
    • any other circumstance where their use would be perceived by colleagues or by enrolled students as having subsumed the educational obligations of the faculty or graduate teaching assistants.
  6. UGTAs should be compensated for their efforts. Acceptable means of compensation include employment and payment at the prevailing UGTA or grader rate, or by offering appropriate course credit in a course where some instruction or training in discipline specific teaching occurs.