Most graduate students in the English Department will serve as a teaching assistant for part, or all, of their graduate careers. Teaching in the department provides a measure of colleagueship with other faculty and serves as crucial professional preparation for a career in the academy. The standard schedule for graduate students in the program is two courses per semester. Each semester, graduate students fill out a preference form to request to teach a variety of courses offered by the English Department. See below for the range of courses one might teach and how those teaching assignments are made.
English 1000: All first year PhD students teach English 1000, and anyone who teaches two courses per semester should generally expect that at least one of these will be English 1000. In addition to the “regular” sections of English 1000 (capped at 20 students), we offer a number of sections for international students (English 1000 IS, capped at 15) and for Honors students (English 1000H, capped at 20).
English 2010 (Intermediate Composition): Usually 3-4 sections per semester, capped at 15. Can be requested once the student has successfully taught 1000.
English 2030 (Professional Writing): Usually 3 sections per semester. Meets in a computer classroom, capped at 20 students. Can be requested once the student has successful taught 1000.
Composition Staff: Members of Comp Staff support and mentor instructors and support the research and assessment functions of the composition program. Responsibilities include attending bi-weekly staff meetings, mentoring new instructors one-on-one and in peer mentor groups throughout the year, planning and facilitating pedagogical workshops and events, and participating in program research, assessment, and evaluation. It is a two-semester commitment with the possibility of extension into a second year, and is a .25 appointment per semester (replaces teaching one course) for 10 hours/week. Can be requested once the student has successfully taught English 1000.
Writing Center Fellowships: These two-semester, quarter-time fellowships go to 1-2 strong instructors of English 1000 and include a course release in English each semester. The fellowship is designed to give graduate students a solid foundation in writing center theory, pedagogy, and practice. The fellows serve as TAs for Honors/English 2015H, "The Theory and Practice of Tutoring Writing," a course which prepares undergraduates for a writing tutor position if they do well in the class.
English 1210 (Introduction to British Literature) and 1310 (Introduction to American Literature): These are the usual course assignments for teachers new to teaching literature, and can be requested as early as the student’s second semester. We typically offer between 3-5 sections of 1210 and 8-10 sections of 1310 each semester, with 30 students in each class. Preference will be given to 1210 applicants who have successfully completed an 8000-level seminar in British Literature and to 1310 applicants who have successfully completed an 8000-level seminar in American Literature. Assignments are made by the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Graduate Studies.Second-year PhD students have priority for 1210 and 1310 assignments, along with third-year students who have not previously taught one of these courses. Taking English 8020 (The Theory and Practice of Teaching in English) in the spring of the first year will qualify PhD students to teach literature earlier, but will not increase the total number of literature teaching opportunities—there are still limited numbers of sections available.Those teaching 1210 or 1310 for the first time will be asked to submit a syllabus for approval.
English 2100 (Writing About Literature): This course is the gateway course to the English major and provides instruction in the fundamentals of writing about literature. It employs a broad theme or topic (of the individual instructor’s choice) in order to introduce students to the basics of literary research, interpretation, and criticism. This course is capped at 25, and we usually offer 3-5 sections of 2100 each semester. Assignments of 2100 sections are made on the basis of seniority and the quality of previous experiences teaching literature (particularly 1210 or 1310) and are made by the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Graduate Studies.
English 2159 (Introduction to World Literatures): The department typically offers one section of 2159 each semester, and it is capped at 30. Assignment of 2159 is made on the basis of seniority and the quality of previous experiences teaching literature (particularly 1210 or 1310) and are made by the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Graduate Studies.
Teaching Assistants in Large Enrollment Classes: These are arranged by and with individual faculty members who are teaching larger courses at the 3000 and 4000 levels. Such assignments are contingent upon the class enrolling enough students to support a TA position, and are usually given to advanced graduate students in their particular field of study.
Creative Writing Workshops: Usually after one year of teaching in the composition program, Creative Writing graduate students can teach introductory-level workshops (1510- Intro to Fiction, 1520- Intro to Nonfiction Prose, 1530-Intro to Poetry) and, at times, Intermediate workshops (2510, 2520, and 2530). These classes are capped at 15 and are assigned by the Director of Creative Writing.
On occasion there are sections of the Advanced workshops that are available to graduate students.
Film/English 1800 (Intro to Film Studies): Each semester the department offers 3-5 sections of Film/English 1800, some taught by English graduate students. The course focuses on introduction to terms and concepts for film analysis, including mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, sound, narrative, genre, and other elements. Instructors organize a common screening on Monday evenings together with a course coordinator and teach independent sections of 30 students, using film clips and a film textbook. The primary criteria for selection are 1) graduate coursework in film and 2) teaching experience (especially experience teaching film).
Folklore/English 1700 (Intro to Folklore Genres): This class is capped at 30. Priority is given to graduate students studying folklore. Selection of instructor is made by faculty in Folklore.
On occasion there are upper-level folklore courses that are available to graduate students.