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Workgroup will develop grad assistant employment policies

April 21, 2017 By Greg Bump

The University of Wisconsin–Madison will develop policies and procedures covering employment-related matters for graduate assistants.

A Graduate Assistant Policies and Procedures Workgroup will be appointed to recommend policies that will cover all graduate assistant appointments, including teaching assistants, project assistants, research assistants, lecturers (student assistants) and project assistant readers.

The workgroup will include graduate students and representatives of the Graduate School, Office of Human Resources, College of Letters & Science and College of Engineering.

Graduate students will be appointed through Associated Students of Madison (ASM). However, ASM has modified its bylaws in order to codify that it would reach out to the Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA) on graduate assistant employment matters.

Graduate assistant policies and procedures previously were covered by a labor contract between the TAA and the State of Wisconsin. However, as a result of Wisconsin 2011 Act 10, the TAA no longer has a collective bargaining relationship with the state.

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller says it is important for the university and graduate assistants to have employment-related policies and procedures in place.

“Graduate student employees are critical to our success in research and teaching at UW–Madison,” Heller says. “Given that, it’s time we get these policies and procedures in place. We look forward to working with our graduate students and other campus stakeholders throughout this process.”

Since 2011, UW–Madison has continued to use many of the terms of the former TAA contract in dealing with graduate assistant employment issues. New policies and procedures will be based on provisions in the former TAA contract and other relevant UW–Madison employment policies. Potential issues to be covered include employee evaluations and employee leave.

The project team will conduct its work in an inclusive manner and will seek ideas from stakeholders across the UW–Madison campus, including graduate students, deans and divisional directors, campus governance groups and human resources representatives.

A draft policy is expected to be completed by the 2017 fall semester.