Expectations for Faculty and Teaching Fellows (August 20, 2020)

[Summary: This message outlines faculty, teaching fellow, and shared responsibilities. These include expectations related to understanding student quarantine requirements, planning class meetings, preparing materials, overseeing course logistics, supervising TFs, ULAs, and UTAs, and other elements of undergraduate teaching. Some expectations have been revised for remote teaching.]

Dear Yale College Instructors and Teaching Fellows,

With preregistration well underway and the semester nearing its start, we write to remind you of expectations that all faculty members and teaching fellows are expected to fulfill when they collaborate to teach. Some expectations have been revised in view of remote teaching as the predominant mode of instruction. Please remember that neither faculty members nor teaching fellows are required to teach in person this term, even if some component of the course is offered in-person.

Faculty Responsibilities

Planning for student quarantine requirements

  • As noted in an FAS Dean’s Office memo sent on August 7, most of our returning undergraduate students are required by Connecticut state law to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to the state, so in-person curricular activities may not start until September 14.  
  • Another impact of the quarantine is that, due to factors beyond their control, students may experience delays in obtaining their textbooks and other course materials.  For the first two weeks of your class, please plan your assignments and grading with this constraint in mind, posting readings and course materials online as much as possible.
  • The Yale Library has provisions in place for reserve scanning and the purchase of electronic versions of textbooks. Information on reserve scanning is available here. Some textbook publishers and other academic resource vendors are making resources freely available to users affected by COVID-19. A list of vendors offering free resources is available here.

Lectures and class meetings

  • Faculty members are responsible for each session of their class, and are expected to be present (in whatever modality instruction is taking place) for all synchronous elements where the full class is gathered. When this is not possible, they should reschedule class or ask a faculty colleague – not a teaching fellow (TF) – to substitute.
  • The Associates in Teaching program does not permit exceptions to this guideline, but it does allow the Associate to independently teach some of the classes or give lectures, so long as the faculty member is also present.
  • Faculty members may invite TFs to lecture for professional development purposes but must be present to provide feedback after the lecture.

Preparation of course materials, course logistics, student management, and exams

  • Faculty members are responsible for preparing their own course materials, including syllabi, papers, essays, lectures, homework assignments, problem sets and examinations, and scoring keys. Faculty members may invite TFs to participate in these activities for professional development purposes, but they should not delegate them.
  • Faculty members are responsible for course logistics, including but not limited to: reserving and printing course materials; obtaining audiovisual equipment; and maintaining course websites. Faculty members may invite TFs to participate in these activities for professional development purposes, but they should not delegate them.
  • Faculty members are responsible for student management, including overseeing the distribution of students in sections at the start of the term and recording grades and reporting them at the end of term. Faculty members may invite TFs to participate in these activities for professional development purposes, but they should not delegate them.
  • Faculty members are responsible for administering their own examinations.

Supervision and support of Teaching Fellows (TFs), Undergraduate Learning Assistants (ULAs), and Undergraduate Technology Assistants (UTAs)

  • Faculty members are responsible for supervising ULAs and UTAs.
  • Faculty members are expected to meet weekly with their TFs to develop pedagogical strategies, particularly regarding remote teaching.
  • Faculty members are expected to check in regularly with their TFs to ensure that they are not spending more time than the TFs’ level of appointment permits.

Grading of graduate students

  • Faculty members are responsible for grading graduate students’ examinations and graduate students’ coursework that requires qualitative evaluation.

Teaching Fellow Responsibilities

Graduate students in their teaching years are expected to teach as part of their academic training, as specified in their letters of admission, unless the Associate Dean waives their teaching obligations. Departments and programs are expected to assign teaching fellows wisely and to redistribute assignments as needed based on shifts in projected enrollment during the preregistration and drop/add periods. No graduate student may teach a lecture course independently or supervise teaching fellows.

Obligations for TFs vary, but they may include the following:

  • Leading discussion and review sections;
  • Supervising laboratories;
  • Grading homework assignments, papers, essays, laboratory reports, and examinations, the materials for which should be provided by or prepared in conjunction with the faculty. To avoid conflicts of interest, whenever possible TFs should not be assigned to evaluate the work of graduate student peers. However, in courses requiring extensive quantitative work, TFs may score quantitative homework and exams submitted by graduate students, using detailed scoring keys provided by the faculty instructor. In these instances, the faculty member should review the TF’s scoring and must assign the final grade. In no instance may TFs perform qualitative grading of work submitted by other graduate students;
  • Managing Zoom chats in courses in which TFs are expected to attend lectures;
  • Informing faculty members promptly if they are experiencing difficulties fulfilling their teaching duties due to the remote modality, or if the time required of their assignment exceeds the number of hours stipulated by their appointment level.
  • TFs may also use the Teaching Fellow Program webform to report unresolved issues with their appointments and responsibilities (https://gsas.yale.edu/teaching-fellows-program-hotline

Shared Responsibilities

  • TFs are expected to return graded materials to students promptly, as determined in collaboration with the faculty member.
  • Faculty members are expected to visit at least one section taught by each TF assigned to their course and to offer feedback and suggestions. This is a core responsibility of faculty toward their students, both graduate and undergraduate.
  • All faculty who are provided with TF support are expected to meet their TFs to coordinate class activities and help TFs learn to teach undergraduate courses, prepare for sections, and grade examinations.
  • TFs and faculty members are expected to collaborate to ensure that TFs are involved in course activities that enhance their professional development without exceeding the parameters of their appointments.

Part Time Acting Instructors

  • Departments appointing graduate students as Part Time Acting Instructors (PTAIs) are expected to supervise instruction through regularly scheduled meetings with PTAIs in courses where sections have a common curriculum and through consultation before and during the semester in seminars taught independently.

Posting Vacant TF Positions to Graduate and Professional Students

Questions about the Teaching Fellow Program may be addressed to Howard el-Yasin in the Teaching Fellow Program Office at 203 432-2757.

With best wishes for the semester,

Marvin Chun, Lynn Cooley, Tamar Gendler

Dean of Yale College, Dean of the Graduate School, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences