Course Preferences

Prior to the start of each term, the department head will send out an email with a list of courses expected to be taught next term, and will ask GEs to state three preferences for their work assignment. These assignments will then be distributed based on the rules laid out in our GDRS. The relevant language is below:

“For an Instructor of Record (full course responsibility): Priority in assignments will be given to GEs based on (1) seniority (more senior GEs will have priority), (2) whether or not the GE has already taught as instructor of record (GEs who have not taught as instructor of record will receive priority), (3) if the GE has served as a discussion section leader for the course to be taught (those with experience will have priority), and (4) in light of the quality of the course syllabus submitted.”

Please be aware that given equal seniority (i.e. years served as GE) and experience (points 2 and 3), the syllabus will be the determining factor.

For a Discussion Section Leader: Priority in assignments will be based on (1) stated preferences provided by the GE, (2) seniority (more senior applicants will have priority), and (3) whether or not the applicant has already served as discussion section leader for the course being assigned (GEs who have not been assigned to the given course before will receive priority).” On occasion, we have a need for more GEs than we have in the pool of PhD students in good standing who are still eligible for funding. [This means that MA students should submit course preferences as well so that they are considered for a work assignment].

Note on seniority: For the first 2 years a graduate student is in the program, seniority is established by the number of years a student has already taught (i.e. students who have served as GE in their first year of graduate studies have seniority over first year fellowship receivers who begin teaching only in their second year). Beginning with the 3rd year that a graduate student is in the program, seniority will be established according to the years a student has been in the program.”

Note this language that is also included in the call for preferences:

“Also please indicate how many times, if any, in the past two years excluding summers), you have been given an assignment not included in your preferences (please include terms).”

Graduate students traditionally share a spreadsheet among each other to indicate what courses they plan to submit as preferences. This is done in order to clarify what graduate students can reasonably expect to be assigned. For example, a second-year student might mark a course preference for PHIL 350 (Metaphysics) and spend hours preparing a syllabus only to find that a fifth-year student also expressed preference and received it because they had higher qualifications based on the GDRS (be it seniority, experience, or whether they’ve taught the class before).