Teaching Assistantships (Updated 8/31/20)

Teaching Assistants

Departments and faculty will be determining teaching modality for Fall 2020 courses based on the pedagogical needs of the department’s curriculum and should communicate with the assigned TA about the intended modality for the TA assignment. This could be “online,” “in person,” or “either online or in person; TA may choose,” depending on the needs of the department. 

For students who are appointed as a teaching assistant for Fall 2020 and are concerned about the course’s modality, should inquire with the supervisor about the anticipated plans for that course.

If there is a mismatch between the modality the graduate student needs and/or preferences for the TA assignment and the modality the department has assigned, the Graduate School has developed a process for identifying alternatives for the teaching assistant. 

If the mismatch is due to personal health conditions, the student should register with Student Disability Services (SDS) to gain the appropriate accommodation support. SDS will ask the student to complete a Teaching Assistant Questionnaire and submit it with a Disability Self-Disclosure Form. 

More information is available in the July 2 update and the July 9 update to faculty.

Teaching-related Resources for Starting the Semester

  • This Fall ’20 Checklist from the University Faculty identifies important issues to consider for the start of the semester as a TA (in partnership with your faculty supervisor as appropriate), including a number of safety-related matters relevant to in-person instruction.
  • This Fall ’20 Guide for Instructors includes practical tips that relate to (a) the Behavioral Compact for student, (b) academic integrity, (c) assessment, and (d) effective online instruction.
  • The Preparing for Fall Instruction page has been updated with guidance, best practices, and frequently asked questions regarding the fall semester.
  • The Cornell University Health and Safety Considerations Subcommittee developed a resource page to inform decision-making for fall semester academic experiences.
  • Global Cornell offers Tips for Online Instruction for working with international students, including insights about how masks and physical distance may affect communication in learning contexts.

Related FAQ

Assistantships for Students Outside the U.S.

During the pandemic disruptions, holding an assistantship is possible in certain specific situations in which a graduate student is temporarily stranded outside the U.S. due to government-imposed travel restrictions or would experience a significant hardship by returning to the U.S. A number of eligibility criteria must be met. 

For more information see the update from July 31 and consult with your graduate program.