Graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are a valued resource at CSU. TAs may be involved in course instruction, small group discussions, tutoring, assisting in laboratories or other tasks. This handbook provides you with valuable information to assist you with all aspects of your assistantship. You will find this information especially useful as you begin your teaching assistantship. Review your TA roles and responsibilities carefully with your supervisor(s). Ask questions to clarify your roles and responsibilities at the beginning of your assistantship and throughout the semester.
It is important to carefully review the content of the TA handbook and ask questions about your role throughout the year. Consider asking the following questions for clarification of your responsibilities before your assistantship begins:
An Ohio law mandates that all state-supported colleges and universities shall establish a program to assess the oral English language proficiency of all Teaching Assistants providing classroom instruction to students and shall ensure that Teaching Assistants who are not orally proficient in the English language attain such proficiency prior to providing classroom instruction to students. In order to meet this mandate, CSU has developed the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program.
The English as a Second Language (ESL) Program, under the direction of Continuing Education, is designed for nonnative speakers of English who are enrolled at or plan to attend Cleveland State University at the graduate or undergraduate level. The goal of the ESL Program is to provide language instruction that enables these students to succeed in their academic studies. Both international and resident students are served.
International Graduate Teaching Assistants who will be providing instructional activities must be certified as possessing sufficient oral proficiency. Assessment for certification is done through an oral test called Test of Spoken English (TSE). The TSE can be taken in a student's country by computer. Information can be found at www.ets.org. Students can also take the SPEAK test once they have arrived at Cleveland State University. Students not passing these tests must complete a program of study and then pass a retest in order to be certified.
The ESL program consists of two courses at different proficiency levels. They provide integrated language skills, cross-cultural communication and teaching strategies instruction. While the courses are designed for International Teaching Assistants, all graduate students are welcome to register. The ESL Office is located in the Cole Center, 3100 Chester Ave., Room 215. ESL classes are often held in the Main Classroom buildings. The program administrator can be reached at (216)875-9669. Additional resources for ESL students at CSU can be found at http://www.csuohio.edu/ce/esl.
Check with your primary course instructor or your supervisor to determine any departmental policies used in determining final grades. Only the teacher or instructor of record may assign final grades. Once those grades have been submitted to the registrar, only grades of "I" and "X" may be changed by the faculty member without obtaining the permission of the appropriate Dean.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the policies followed at Cleveland State University in order to comply with the requirements of the Act, are described in the current CSU Bulletin: Graduate Catalog Issue. As a part of the teaching staff of the University, you are required to abide by the provisions of the law and by University policy. The main areas in which these rules and policies affect your actions are in the positing of grades and in the returning of graded materials. In essence, both of these functions must be carried out in such a fashion that the students' scores and grades are available only to the students who have earned them (in addition to the faculty and staff members who need to have access to these records as part of their University functions). The posting of grades and scores by student number, or the return of graded materials by simply leaving the materials in a public place, does not satisfy the confidentiality requirement of the Family Privacy Act. Various mechanisms have been developed to allow the posting of scores and the return of graded materials that satisfy the legal requirements, including the use of Blackboard. You should consult with the faculty member(s) in charge of the course(s) to determine the methods used.Guidelines for maintaining student rights to privacy:
All Teaching Assistants are expected to follow professional guidelines and a professional code of ethics. These are parameters for what is considered "professional practice" at CSU. Teaching assistants must be prepared to practice these guidelines upon first contact with students. Bring any questions that you have about the meaning or interpretation of these guidelines to your supervisor at appropriate times.The professional guidelines include but are not limited to:
The educator strives to help each student realize his or her potential as a worthy and effective member of society. The educator therefore works to stimulate the spirit of inquiry, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals.In fulfillment of the obligation to the student, the educator:
All Cleveland State University students are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity in their academic work. In your role as a teacher you can help elicit honest behavior in three ways:
1. At the beginning of the course make sure that your students understand that cheating is unacceptable and that you will not tolerate it. In certain circumstances it may be important to specify what is, and what is not, considered honest behavior (for example, laboratory partners may share data, but they should individually prepare their own written reports).
2. You should try your best to arrange testing procedures and grading so that cheating is discouraged. Students taking examinations may be seated in alternate rows and different forms of quizzes should be used for sections meeting at different times.
3. When a dishonest act is discovered, the student and the appropriate faculty member should be informed and the appropriate penalty administered. The nature of the punishment and how the student is informed will vary with the seriousness of the act and the circumstances. Consult the faculty member in charge of the course in all cases and be sure to keep him or her apprised.
For additional information, consult the "Student Conduct Code" section within the Student Handbook, available from your College Dean's Office, or the Department of Student Life (Main Classroom, Room 106; 216-687-2048). The Student Handbook also appears on the Student Life Web page at http://www.csuohio.edu/studentlife.
On rare occasions, an emergency situation will occur in the classroom or laboratory. You should be prepared to handle these situations. Check with your supervisor or department chairperson for any specific emergency plans that are in effect.
In cases where students become injured or ill during your class, you should remain with the student and ask another student to call the University Police Department at (216) 687-2111. The Police Dispatcher will need to know the exact room location, type of problem, and the severity of the emergency. The Police Department will send an officer and will make additional arrangements, as needed (i.e., transportation to hospital).
You should be aware of the fire evacuation instructions for all buildings in which you work. Ask your supervisor for details. If an evacuation alarm does sound you should immediately leave the building. If you have a class, be sure that all of the students leave the building with you and stand completely clear of the building. Do not return to the building until instructed to do so by the police.
Cleveland State University recommends specific procedures to be followed in the event of an emergency. Additional information regarding university emergency procedures is available at http://www.csuohio.edu/offices/riskmanagement/emergency.
Your preparation for teaching in laboratories should include being acquainted with the materials and supplies as well as being familiar with the procedures for getting emergency assistance and knowing the location of first aid kits, fire extinguishers and other emergency equipment. Check with the course instructor to learn the proper techniques and procedures for using materials and equipment and handling emergencies.The following suggestions will help ensure laboratory safety:
Additional information regarding specific procedures for safety in the laboratories and throughout the university is available from the CSU Department of Environmental Health & Safety at http://www.csuohio.edu/offices/ehs/programs.