3.7. Special Requests from Faculty

Each semester we ask whether faculty have any special requests for TAs. Here are guidelines on this.

Students should be requested only if it will work out better for the faculty member and for the class. Faculty should know the students well enough to be sure this will be the case. So most, if not all, requests will be for students who have TAed the class before, taken the class before and excelled, worked with the faculty on a project, or have some other extremely strong credentials.

The department will not always be able to accommodate all special requests. So if a faculty member tells a student they will request them as a TA, that is not a guarantee that the department will make the student an offer. Special requests should be reserved for advanced classes. TA positions in service classes, required classes, and introductory elective classes will usually be filled by students who have a regular TA offer.

Special faculty requests should not be seen as an alternative way for an applicant to get a TA position. The normative way for such requests to originate is with the faculty member asking the student if they are interested, rather than students petitioning faculty.

Students hired due to instructor special requests are hired for a specific course to work with a specific professor, and unless that professor requests them again, they will not have special priority for future TA offers. This does preclude reappointing them --- they will be considered on the same basis as other unsupported students in the TA applicant pool. The one difference though is that we will have TA evaluation data on these students, and they should realize that since they have been hand-picked to TA a course where they should excel, the expectation is that they will excel. Students who do excel will boost their chances of getting a future TA offer, but students who do merely an adequate job decrease their chances.