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Notes on process for assigning TA's

  • Primarily working with associate chair, all TAs will need to be distributed/assigned across all needed classes, and then further broken down to be assigned to specific teaching classes. Prof. Catterall will assign students to courses and assign large-lecture course head TAs, then staff fill out the long schedule assigning TAs to specific sections within their course assignment
  • Class TA line needs:
    • AST 101 & 104: each TA is assigned to teach 5 sections of lab. Depending upon number of sections offered in term, course head TA may be given a clinic hour reduction, reduction in teaching load (i.e. number of sections) or both
    • PHY 101 & 102: each TA is assigned to teach 4 sections of lab. Depending upon number of sections offered in term, course head TA may be given a clinic hour reduction, reduction in teaching load (i.e. number of sections) or both
    • PHY 211 & 212: each TA is assigned to teach 3 WF sections of recitation. Depending upon number of sections offered in term, course head TA may be given a clinic hour reduction, reduction in teaching load (i.e. number of sections) or both
    • PHY 221 & 222: each TA is assigned to teach 4 sections of lab
    • PHY 215 & PHY 216 generally each get a .5TA assigned, who has to serve 0 clinic hours
    • Smaller, upper division classes have graders if there are 15+ enrollments generally
    • Some special topics courses/lab classes at the upper level will get a TA per associate chair direction
    • In the graduate student database, view layoutà “quick list Grad student support” to view what courses students have prior (recent) teaching experience in.
    • After the long schedule is drafted, run it past all faculty first, and then the TAs. Usually, I refer to the grad student schedules in setting the schedule to anticipate conflicts and avoid them as much as possible – but since whoever is making the schedule for Fall ’18 in our dept this year may not have access to that info, anticipate the students to come back with a lot of conflicts after the first pass. I would give time to rearrange section assignments over the course of a week.
    • After the schedule rearrangements finally settle down, input all TAs into myslice for their specific sections. See following screenshot. The instructor role should say TA, “print” can be checked, but “approve access” should not be given. That is reserved only for instructors who enter grades for a class (So M001 and M002 in some cases).

Notes for Managing the Clinic


Prof. Vidali is the lead contact for clinic, but day-to-day matters are arranged by staff (academic coordinator)

  He will create an online schedule to email out to students to electronically sign up in google each term.

Dates:  Fall ~8/20,   Spring ~1/10

-will create google doc for students to sign up in, and send them (and staff) directions on how to sign up.

-may request excel template to set it up; I saved one in folder for dept use.

OFFICE: #221
1. Overview
Hours: Each week Full-time TAs will cover two Clinic hours, Half-time TA's
will cover one Clinic hour. When you schedule your office and Clinic hours please
also post them on the door of your office. The Clinic doesn't operate when the
building is locked, such as on Saturdays and Sundays.
Location: Room #112 South. This is a place to hold Clinic hours and for students to
work in a quiet environment.
Job description: Students attending any lecture courses offered by the Physics Department
should be able to come to the Clinic for consultations. Encourage your

own students to come to the Clinic by announcing your Clinic and office hours in
class (Your office hours are at the Clinic). However, you should help any students of
lecture courses whether they are your students or not, and whether they are in the
same course or not. Important: It is a Clinic TA's job to answer conceptual
questions and go over examples that will help undergraduate students taking
physics courses. It is not a Clinic TA's duty to provide answers to home-
work problems, or to \pre-grade" a student's homework solutions. If any
problems concerning these rules should occur with individual students,
please inform me immediately.
Duties: You are responsible for the Clinic hour you have been assigned to. Treat it
as this were a recitation hour. If you cannot be there, make sure somebody else
can cover for you. It is absolutely not acceptable to leave your Clinic hour
2. Instructions
If you agree to swap Clinic hours with another TA on a permanent basis, please
inform me and Juliette Rawda ( or 315-443-5129) via e-mail. Do
not write changes on the schedule posted on the Clinic door.
If you agree to make a one-time swap of hours, you do not need to inform me, but
you are responsible for the time slot you agreed to cover.
If you know in advance that you will be unable to cover a scheduled Clinic period, it
is your duty to make arrangements with a fellow TA to cover that period.
If you have an unexpected emergency and cannot attend your Clinic period, please
do your best to e-mail me or Juliette Rawda ( or 315-443-5129) in
advance, or as soon as reasonably possible.

If for an emergency you have to leave the Clinic, put a sign saying when the Clinic
will be left unattended
You must sign-in to the Clinic logbook every time you have hours. Please also record
the number of students using the Clinic during your time since this helps us make
stang decisions. Please let me know of times at the Clinic when there is routinely
a large number of students seeking help.
The Clinic follows the SU academic calendar. Please note that the Clinic operates
through the examination period. Do not take the day off from the Clinic if a class
you TA for has a special day off from lectures.
3. Missed Clinic Hours
Your Clinic hours are a requirement of your TA support in the graduate
program. Be present at your scheduled hours every week of the academic
semester, including exam week.
Show up on time! It is not acceptable to show up late and/or leave early.
If you do miss Clinic hours, do not assume you can claim an opening in the schedule
to \make-up" for the time you missed.
Failure to show up for your Clinic hours, or showing up late, will not go unnoticed. We
routinely receive complaints from students (and Physics faculty) when a TA is absent
or late for their Clinic hours. You will be contacted by me if you miss an appointment,
and I will want an explanation for your absence. \I forgot", \I overslept", and \No
students ever come to the Clinic during my time." are not acceptable explanations.
Repeated absences from the Clinic without appropriate justification will
be reported to the Chair and can ultimately lead to the revocation of your
TA appointment.
4. Contact
If you have any questions/comments/issues regarding the Clinic that arise during the
semester, please don't hesitate to contact me. I may occasionally e-mail all Clinic TAs during
the semester with announcements. The best way to reach me is via email. Please
put "Physics Clinic" in the subject field and cc to Juliette Rawda unless the
communication is of personal nature.


Sample Notes I generally stress to new TAs during orientation:

  After the students sign up each term, compare list of TAs to the calendar and make sure everyone for term has 2 hours except where exceptions were given by Associate chair (for instance, half-TAs may only have 1 or 0 hours, etc).

  • Contact any TAs that did not sign up yet to make sure everyone is in the calendar. There will some students who always “forget” to pick clinic hours and need one, two, (12…) reminders…
  • Once it is set, email all-TA listserv to tell them no more changes unless they see staff so it won’t get adjusted any further
  • Then Prof. Vidali likes to color code by class, so do so and then save to a PDF
    • Use this to post on the Clinic door and dept website (and then post it in both locations once it is set!)




  • If Clinic Tutors request a one-week swap, no edits to the schedule are necessary. They are generally told they can just switch with another TA and put a sign on the door to make it clear to students what time they will be there. They should be encouraged to email their student rosters for any swaps as well, so students are aware to avoid complaints for “not showing up”
  • If they want to miss a week and don’t have someone to cover the hours, I always tell them to inform prof. Vidali. He will probably say its fine and just put a note on the door to inform students and post a line on the website for when there will be no clinic coverage.
    • Usually, this will happen in the form of a call-in moments before their shift starts, when it is too late to do anything about it…
    • If a student reports a TA didn’t show up for their hour, report it to prof. Vidali ASAP and try to call the student, if possible, to remind them. Often no last-minute back up can be found but I always try if possible to help the students. Several no-shows will result in meeting with Prof. Vidali or associate chair to discuss failure to complete TA assigned duties.
    • When setting the schedule, we generally tell students to sign up for all empty blocks first. We only approve doubling-up of TAs on any of the hour timeslots if it is a busy time (i.e., right before large-lectures are a good time, or else during Walter Freeman’s office hours which are often held in the clinic)
    • Once schedule is set are made, select all active boxes and then click file-->print
      • Print “selection”
      • Do not check any of the boxes on the right
      • Select “fit to width” and “landscape”
      • Hit print, and then “print from my computer”
      • This process will create a pdf in your “downloads” folder. You can then print the PDF on a color printer to hang on the clinic door, and save this pdf to post the updated schedule on the physics website


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