Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (UTA) Program
An Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (UTA) in the Department of Biology is a junior or senior who assists faculty, laboratory coordinators, and Associate Instructors with the teaching mission. Various kinds of UTA positions exist, including some positions involving work with collaborative learning groups in large enrollment lecture courses, such as L211 Molecular Biology, L111 Evolution and Diversity, and L311 Genetics. In these courses, UTAs help to create a small class atmosphere inside a large course.
In addition to course-specific duties, UTAs are required to perform a service function for the Department of Biology by proctoring one exam (in a course other than the one the UTA is assigned to) or administering one faculty teaching evaluation during the semester.
L104: Intro Bio Lectures
|L112: Biological Mechanisms||See Schedule||
|L211: Molecular Biology||See Schedule||
|L311: Genetics||See Schedule||
|L312: Cell||See Schedule||
|L376: Biology of Birds||See Schedule||
|P451: Integrative Human Physio||See Schedule||Whitney Schlegel|
|Q201: Biol for Elem. Teachers||See Schedule||Pam Hanratty|
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why become an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant? (top)
Teaching is an invaluable experience. It develops communication and leadership skills, and provides an opportunity to better understand how people learn. These skills will prove beneficial even outside the classroom. To quote a former L211 UTA:
"Interaction with study groups has helped me to retain subject matter. I now have greater insight into course materials and find that less memorization is required. Through my experience as a teaching assistant, I've acquired leadership skills and have learned to be more assertive. Being a UTA has given me the unique experience of seeing L211 from the other side of the desk!"
Experience as a UTA is particularly helpful for students who are considering graduate studies; teaching is as much a part of graduate school as are classes and research. Close involvement with AIs provides an opportunity to observe graduate student life. Faculty can write recommendation letters with specific examples of the positive attributes of UTAs after working with them.
Acceptance into the UTA program is an award and should be noted as such on resumes and other program applications.
2. What is the UTA selection process? (top)
Applicants indicate their preferred course assignment(s) on the application form. UTA candidates send their application directly to the supervising professor along with an unofficial copy of their transcript. Applications may be sent to several professors at once.
It is to your benefit to meet the professors who will be teaching the courses you apply to UTA. Some professors interview candidates for UTA positions; others make their selections based solely on the application. Either way, your chances of being selected may improve if you have met with the professor in advance.
The professors will select UTAs for each course according to their qualifications.
3. What are the selection criteria? (top)
- Class Standing: UTAs should have at least junior class standing by the time the appointment begins. However, exceptional underclassman may also be considered.
- GPA: Candidates must have an overall GPA of 3.25. That is, only applicants with a GPA of 3.25 or higher will be considered for UTA positions.
- Specific Grades: You must have earned an A- or better in the course for which you are applying to assist. You must also have earned excellent grades in related classes. You will need to submit a copy of your unofficial IU transcript with your application.
- Written Statement: This is a very important part of the application. When candidates for a position are relatively equal in the above areas, the statement can make the difference. Be sure to proofread your statement.
4. How are successful applicants notified? (top)
All applicants will be notified of their acceptance directly by faculty via email or a letter mailed to their local address.
UTAs must accept their positions by directly contacting the faculty and emailing the Acceptance Form to Alice Eads. Once she receives your acceptance confirmation, you will given online permission to register for L499 or notify payroll of your appointment.
5. How are UTAs compensated? (top)
Students entering the Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (UTA) program for the first time are required to register for L499, Internship in Biology Instruction. After completion of the first semester of the internship, having received an A- or better in L499, returning UTAs are eligible to either take L499 again or to receive a salary of $990, paid biweekly.
- L499: this is a three-credit course which may be taken twice for credit (only 3 hours may count toward the biology major; additional credit hours count as electives). UTAs are responsible for three hours of tuition associated with L499 registration. Grades in L499 are assigned, on the basis of UTA performance, at the end of the semester by the professor in charge of the course to which the UTA is assigned. Note: The UTA is responsible for registering for L499 credit once they are authorized.
- Paycheck Allotment: UTAs will be paid $990 for the semester. Note: In order to select this option you must have a checking and/or saving account.