English Department Graduate Assistants

Why be a Graduate Assistant?

Application Information

Email reference letters and forms to the Graduate Coordinator, Eric Acton, at [email protected].

A graduate assistantship is an excellent way for bright, exceptional scholars to enhance their graduate school experience. In addition to receiving a stipend and tuition waiver, you also expand your theoretical knowledge and develop practical skills while building your professional network. Plus, you work on campus so you save valuable time commuting to your job!

GA applications received by January 22, 2024 will be given priority. If you are a new student, also make sure your master's application materials have been received by Graduate Admissions by February 1. (Students who do not apply for a GA position may continue to apply to their programs throughout the year for start dates in September and January.) You may ask the persons writing your recommendation letters to address both your qualifications for admission into the master's program and for a graduate assistantship. They should submit one copy of the letter to Admissions and email a copy along with the GA reference form you've given them to the graduate coordinator at: [email protected]. (See “Reference form [PDF]” link under "Additional Information" on this page).

Students applying for a GA position must also fill out the online application (see the "Online application form" link under "Additional Information" on this page). Once you start the application, you can return to edit your information if needed, but we recommend having all information ready to submit before beginning to fill out the application, including: undergraduate GPA and courses taken, graduate GPA and courses taken (if relevant), contact information from two references, and your responses to the following three prompts (max. 200 words for each prompt):

• Reflect on an experience when you learned something from someone who was different from you. This could be personal, professional, or academic.
• What are your three greatest professional and scholarly strengths? Provide an example of one work or school-related situation where you applied one of those strengths successfully.
• How do you perceive a GAship contributing to your intellectual and creative goals?

Finally, the application asks you to upload a résumé or CV.

For any questions about graduate assistantships or applying for them, please contact Eric Acton, Graduate Coordinator for the Department of English, at [email protected].

Graduate Assistantship: Tuition, Compensation and Benefits

  • Terms

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    For a full-time, academic-year GA appointment, the University provides a tuition scholarship for up to 18 credit hours in each academic year (September 1 to August 31) of the assistantship. For graduate assistants who are appointed to part-time positions and for GAs who begin employment after the start of the semester, the number of credit hours covered by the award will be prorated. The graduate assistantship program also covers any tuition differential associated with certain courses. This award does not pay mandatory fees (general fee, student center fee and technology fee), new student record initiation fee, registration fee, late registration fee, drop fees or late fees applied when bills are not paid. To figure out how your mandatory fee costs per semester, consult the tuition calculator.
  • Remuneration

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    The English Department currently pays its graduate assistants the following sums per academic year. Paychecks are distributed twice monthly during the Fall and Winter semesters. Note: University Writing Center Consultants are hired through and paid by the UWC.
    • Full time (20 hrs/week): $9,000
    • Part time (10 hrs/week): $4,500
  • Additional Privileges

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    Graduate assistants receive additional library privileges and a 10 percent discount on items purchased at the bookstore in the Student Center. They also receive priority registration, provided they register online by the date specified by the Office of Records and Registration on its website.

Descriptions of Graduate Assistantships

  • University Writing Center Assistantships

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    UWC graduate writing consultants consult one-to-one with undergraduate students from all disciplines on all stages of the writing process in ways that promote equitable, inclusive, and accessible experiences for all writers. Consultants work, as well, with writers whose first language is something other than English. All graduate writing consultants are provided with training and will participate in professional learning activities and consulting circles. Consultants also participate in writing-focused community outreach activities through the Office of Campus & Community Writing (for example, consulting with writers through YpsiWrites, supporting writing workshops and activities in area schools, mentoring writing consultants from area secondary schools). Additionally, they may consult in one of the University Writing Center’s satellite locations (e.g., Pray-Harrold).
  • First Year Writing Program Graduate Assistantship (Graduate Instructor)

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    First Year Writing GAs teach WRTG 120 Composition I: Writing the College Experience, and WRTG 121 Composition II: Researching the Public Experience, in EMU's First Year Writing Program. They work closely with the program's faculty director and associate director, as well as with other FYWP instructors, to develop a syllabus, course schedule, major project descriptions, lesson plans, and in-class activities for WRTG 120 and WRTG 121. All new First Year Writing graduate assistants are required to participate in a two-week workshop in August before teaching in the fall semester. Throughout the first fall of the appointment, graduate instructors must take WRTG 596 Teaching Composition at the College Level (i.e., while teaching WRTG 120 Composition I). The Department currently appoints sixteen GAs for teaching in the First Year Writing Program. Graduate instructors are required to hold two office hours weekly and to attend one professional development meeting monthly throughout the academic year. For more information, see the First Year Writing Program section of the website.
  • BathHouse Editor Assistantship (exclusive to students in the Creative Writing MA program)

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    This half-time graduate assistantship requires the student to act as editor-in-chief of the EMU Creative Writing Program's online journal of hybrid arts, BathHouse. Duties involve full responsibility for on-time production and editing of the journal in consultation with the faculty advisor, organization of the graduate student staff roster and meeting schedule, and the design and editing of the journal. Candidates for this position will have some experience or knowledge of graphic design and Web design. Editing experience and an interest in new media writing and hybrid arts are also a plus.
  • BathHouse Reading Series Research Assistant (open to Creative Writing MA applicants)

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    The BathHouse Series research assistant is responsible for researching the oeuvre of visiting writers and artists and participating in the production of our reading and interdisciplinary arts BathHouse Series, which typically attracts 200 to 300 audience members to each event. The BathHouse research assistant composes copy for fliers and press releases related to visiting writers and text-based artists’ presentations; promotes the series on campus, in off-campus writing communities, and the media; cultivates series audiences; corresponds with invited readers and artists; writes for and oversees the creative writing blog; and serves as the public relations representative for the series. The research assistant also coordinates with the faculty for room and event scheduling, arranging for event details, and offering hospitality to and socializing with artists.
  • Journal of Narrative Theory Research Assistant

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    The JNT research assistant is actively engaged in every step of the production and dissemination of JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory, a scholarly journal produced in the Department of English. The JNT RA generally handles all correspondences (i.e. inquiries, submissions, subscriptions, etc.); maintains and develops the JNT website; oversees production, corresponding with typesetters and printers; and schedules regular JNT editorial meetings. Finally, the RA plays a central role in organizing the annual JNT Dialogue which brings together two speakers for a conversation on pertinent topics in Literature and Culture. The JNT RA designs and disseminates the promotional material, and co-organizes the event, working with EMU Events Planning as well as scheduling forums or meetings at which Graduate Students have a chance to interact with the invited speakers. Depending on RA interest, he or she might also publicize the journal at local and national conferences like the MMLA or MLA conferences.
  • Jewish Life and Language in Southeast Michigan (JLLSM) Research Assistant (open to Linguistics MA)

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    Research assistants in the Jewish Life and Language in Southeast Michigan (JLLSM) project play a crucial role in the project’s research. The goal of the project is to investigate patterns of language and social life in Southeast Michigan’s Jewish community through extensive, audio-recorded interviews of community members and analysis of those interviews. The principal role of RAs on the project is to analyze the data collected in the interviews, as well as to perform quantitative analysis of the speech data. RAs will also play a crucial role in crafting materials for and participating in presentations of research to the broader community. All JLLSM RAs working on this project must successfully complete CITI training before they are able to participate in the project.
  • Teaching Assistantships in Children's Literature and Literature Large Lectures

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    Graduate assistants assigned to work with a professor who is teaching a large-lecture version of an introductory course in Children's Literature and Literature have a variety of responsibilities and opportunities. The courses themselves typically include the 100-level series of survey courses in poetry, fiction and/or drama, 200-level courses in Native American and African American literatures, as well as combined sections ENGL 300W. Graduate student teaching assistants in such positions attend lectures, take notes, and (in office hours) help students develop their own note-taking skills. Depending on the professor to whom a GA is assigned, additional duties may include some or all of the following:
    • conducting study sessions prior to and/or following exams
    • drafting and distributing study guides
    • proctoring exams
    • posting and recording grades (and/or other general book-keeping)
    • helping students assess their own performance on exams and/or writing assignments
    All GAs also hold office hours for 3–5 hours per week.
  • Linguistics Teaching Assistantship (exclusive to students in the Linguistics MA program)

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    Graduate assistants assigned to work with a professor who is teaching an introductory course in Linguistics have a variety of responsibilities and opportunities. LING 201 is a 200-level survey of the field of linguistics, and is required of students who are linguistics majors or minors, English language majors and minors, and language, literature and writing majors and minors. Graduate student teaching assistants in such positions attend lectures, take notes and/or hold office hours. Depending on the professor to whom a GA is assigned, additional duties may include some or all of the following:
    • writing and proctoring exams
    • conducting study sessions prior to exams
    • uploading study materials to Canvas
    • posting and recording grades
  • Digital Studio Graduate Assistantship

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    Graduate consultants who staff the Digital Studio work with students to help brainstorm project ideas, provide feedback on the content and design of multimedia projects, and/or explain the interface and nuances of a given program. Digital Studio consultants assist students and faculty at any stage of the composing process. The GAs spend the majority of their shifts consulting with students on upcoming projects, and, during downtimes, they create materials for an ongoing repository of technology tutorials shared on a public website.
  • Campus and Community Writing (C2W) Assistantships

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    C2W graduate assistants support Campus & Community writing activities and programs, including YpsiWrites, a community writing resource, the Eastern Michigan Writing Project (EMWP) and other outreach initiatives and partnerships. The C2W GA creates and manages social media campaigns and other promotional communications for C2W activities. The GA also assists with event planning and the creation of programs and materials for YpsiWrites. The GA will also participate in weekly leadership meetings, strategy conversations and activities, grant writing, and assessment and reporting. All C2W work is grounded in principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and justice.

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