Western University GeographyWestern Social Science

Teaching Assistants


Most graduate students are offered a Teaching Assistantship as part of their funding arrangement.  There is a wide array of teaching assistant duties which vary by course and range from lab demonstration, to tutorial facilitation, to marking.

Employment and Duties

Employment of Teaching Assistants is covered by the current Collective Agreement between the University and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). The PSAC-UWO Local is the official representative of the Teaching Assistants. The Collective Agreement sets out all conditions of employment, including grievance procedures. The Union is responsible for identifying its representatives within academic units. Within the Geography Department, the Graduate Chair and Department Chair are the designated representatives of the University. Copies of the Collective Agreement are distributed by the GTA Union to all Teaching Assistants. Appeals and grievances on TA matters are covered by the Collective Agreement, not the academic appeals process - see the Graduate Teaching Assistants Union  website.

TA Assignments

The assigning of Teaching Assistants is the responsibility of the Graduate Chair with assistance from the Graduate Administrator. The Graduate Chair solicits TA requirements for Fall term courses from faculty members in the Summer, and Winter term courses in the Fall. Graduate students are asked to express preferences for TA assignments as well. We do our best to fulfill requests. A final list of assignments is prepared and distributed by the beginning of each term. TA duties specification forms are filled out and signed by the instructor and TA and returned to the Graduate Administrator. In addition, all TAs are required to sign a TA contract. TA's and Instructors are to meet mid-term to ensure ample hours are remaining to fulfill any remaining TA responsibilities.

TA Training and Advice

First year TAs receive assistance with teaching skills through two TA seminar days, one provided by the Teaching Support Center and another by the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. There are also TA Training Program weekend courses and an International TA Training Program.  Information on these can be found on the Teaching Support Centre webpages.   A much more extensive course on teaching for graduate students is offered by the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GS 9500 – The Theory and Practice of University Teaching). Contact Dr. Nanda Dimitrov, Course Coordinator for further information.

Awards for TA Excellence

E.G. Pleva Award

The E.G. Pleva Prize for Excellence as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Geography Department is awarded for distinguished contributions to teaching in the department.  Two awards of approximately $300.00 are made each year. Nominees must be distinguished in assistance to students, faculty or staff, in instruction, marking or guidance, often above and beyond the normal expectations of a teaching assistant.  The Awards will be made annually in May at the end of the teaching year.  Winners are determined from results of Teaching Assistant Evaluation forms which are administered in all undergraduate courses which have a TA assigned to them.

Society of Graduate Students Teaching Award

This is an annual campus-wide competition. Nomination forms and information are available from the SOGS website: http://www.sogs.ca