Graduate Student Assistantships
There are a variety of assistantships that students may undertake in the course of their PhD degree in the Department of English. Refer to the for specific details of your assistantship and feel free to discuss any questions with your mentor and/or the Graduate Program Director.
UCWR 110: After successfully completing a semester of tutoring in the Writing Center and the ENGL 402 class "The Teaching of College Composition," a PhD student will undergo a TA-ship with the instructor of a freshman composition course UCWR 110 "Writing Responsibly." Successful completion of this TA-ship will result in the student teaching at least two sections of UCWR 110 as instructor of record. After the conclusion of the TA-ship, the mentoring instructor will write a letter of recommendation for the PhD student for inclusion in their file held by the Graduate Program Director.
Resources: The Writing Center has a page specifically for UCWR 110, containing useful information regarding syllabus and assignment creation, class exercises, and peer review sheet. This resource can help TAs prepare for their eventual position as instructor of a UCWR 110 course.
UCLR or undergraduate ENGL course: Provided that their instructor record remains in good standing after teaching two sections of UCWR 110, the student will complete a literature TA-ship with a Graduate Faculty member, before teaching at least one section of a UCLR level course.
Resources: Consult the Department of English's Course Descriptions page for an idea of how your mentoring teacher and other professors construct and define the topics of their seminars.
Graduate Student Substitute Teaching: All third, fourth, and fifth-year graduate assistants who are not serving as instructors-of-record also take courses for faculty who must miss a class because of professional conferences, previously scheduled speaking engagements, or for other occasions as approved by the chair. Students serving as substitutes in a given semester cannot turn down a request to take a faculty member's class unless they are in class themselves or attending a professional conference. In turn, the department makes every effort to distribute the workload equitably among the students serving in this capacity. Students should be called upon to cover a class no more than 5 times in the course of a semester.
Occasionally, a Graduate Faculty member embarking on or continuing research for a book project may apply to the Department Chair for a graduate student research assistant and specifically name a desired candidate based on previous experience with this student in coursework or other projects. If the faculty member's request is granted, the graduate student may embark on a semester-long research assistantship, which may involve online database and archival research. This assistantship both benefits the faculty member in the completion of a research project and the graduate student serving as RA, who acquires valuable experience and familiarity with research techniques. At the completion of the RA-ship, the faculty member will write a letter of recommendation for the PhD student for inclusion in their file held by the Graduate Program Director.
Writing Center Positions: A PhD student or PhD candidate can serve as the Assistant Director or Associate Director of the Writing Center. These positions are handed out based on availability and at the discretion of the Graduate Program Director in agreement with the Director of the Writing Center.
The Midwest Modern Language Association Conference and Journal: A PhD student or PhD candidate may also work as an assistant for the MMLA, working in various capacities such as organizing the conference and emailing attendees, providing support at the conference, and gaining editorial and publication experience by assisting in the production of the JMMLA (Journal of the MMLA).
The Graduate School: from time to time, competitive fellowships are available to PhD students or candidates in the Department of English (as well as other university departments) that involve working for the Graduate School or other university programs. These opportunities are specifically relevant for students requiring a fellowship. Periodic emails from the Graduate School will announce such job searches and fellowship opportunities.