Graduate Assistants (GAs) are, first and foremost, graduate students pursuing an education. The opportunity to work closely with staff in administrative environments is an integral part of that education.
Graduate students who hold assistantships benefit educationally and professionally. They enhance their experience in leadership and interpersonal effectiveness. They acquire academic administrative experience and enjoy collegial collaborations with staff. Skills learned in assistantships prepare students for corporate, government, and nonprofit organizations.
Assistantships also provide graduate students with the financial resources necessary to pursue their degrees. This financial support, tuition remission, is part of the University’s commitment to the success of our graduate students.
The University is committed to ensuring that graduate assistant assignments are productive, enhance student qualifications, meet funding support and workload goals.
Graduate Assistants at Limestone University are under the direct supervision of the Director(s) of that department that offers the appointment. The Director(s) determines the GA’s assignment, supervises his or her work, and recommends him or her for reappointment each academic year. The Director(s) is the primary source of information for the details of the assistantship.
To accept a Graduate Assistant position, the student must be accepted into one of the graduate programs at Limestone University and register for the upcoming academic year courses.
During their Graduate Assistantship, they must be a registered graduate student in good standing enrolled full-time in a degree program at Limestone University and must be making satisfactory progress toward the degree.
Appointments are normally given to those students who have shown superior aptitude in their field of study and who appear likely to render a high quality of service to the university by their administrative work in a department. Non-degree seeking students are not eligible to hold Graduate Assistantships.
Graduate Assistants must work 20 hours per week and be full-time students. They are full time students if they are registered for at least 6 hours in a semester and 18 hours in an academic year.
Graduate Assistants can be appointed at any point during an academic year, and the appointment is valid for the duration of the academic year.
Each department is responsible for determining and communicating its own specific criteria, within the limits of university policy, for assessing student qualification for appointment and reappointment to a graduate assistantship. In general, reappointment is dependent upon satisfactory performance and normal progress toward a graduate degree. As with all university faculty and staff positions, appointment and reappointment are contingent upon the availability of funds.
APPOINTMENT APPROVAL PROCESS AND CONTRACT
If a department has a need for a Graduate Assistant, the department Director will need approval from the department’s Vice President, Vice President of Finance, Operations, and Administration, and Associate Provost for Online and Graduate for the position. Once the position is approved, please send the job description with the appropriate contact information for the position to the Office of Graduate Programs. The Graduate Assistant Position will be posted on the Graduate Assistant website. Each person interested in the position will complete a quick application. All applications will be sent to the appropriate department for review. The department will select the candidate they wish to appoint for the Graduate Assistant position. The candidate must be in the application process for a graduate program or a current graduate student at Limestone. To appoint a Graduate Assistant, the Director of the Department must provide the job description, terms of assistantship, and workload expectations to the desired Graduate Assistant. The Graduate Assistant that is appointed must sign the GA contract and a confidential agreement. Once the appointed GA has signed the contract, the director will forward the contract and job description to the department’s Vice President for their signature. The VP of the department will then forward the contract to receive the signature from the Vice President of Finance, Operations, and Administration and the Associate Provost for Online and Graduate. The final contract with all signatures and job description will then be sent to the Office of Graduate Programs. A notification of the appointed Graduate Assistant will then be disseminated to the appropriate departments.
Each department will perform a performance review at the end of each academic year on their Graduate Assistant(s). The results of reviews and evaluations should be discussed with the GA concerned.
TERMINATION OR LOSS OF SUPPORT
A Graduate Assistant's appointment may be terminated before the expiration of its designated term for cause, for academic delinquency, by written notice, and by voluntary mutual agreement.
- Cause. An appointment may be terminated immediately for cause. The following are examples of sufficient cause for removal: incompetence, inefficiency, wanton carelessness or neglect of duty, insubordination, repeated or extended absence, and misconduct related to the GA's suitability or capacity to continue to perform assignments.
- Academic Delinquency. An appointment may be terminated if the GA is not making satisfactory academic progress to a degree or is otherwise not in good academic standing. The termination shall be in writing and may be immediate or with such notice as the University believes compatible with the GA's academic situation, not to exceed 30 calendar days.
- Written Notice. An appointment may be terminated by delivery of 30 days written notice to the GA.
- Voluntary Agreement. With the agreement of the University, an appointment may be terminated by the voluntary written resignation of the GA.
RENEWAL AND NON-RENEWAL OF APPOINTMENT
The University does not guarantee an appointment as a Graduate Assistant will be renewed at the end of the academic year. Although appointments are often renewed, the University cannot promise and there can be no expectancy that a graduate assistantship will be continued over an extended period of time.
DUTIES AND TIME COMMITMENTS
Workload expectations of the department and working hours should be explicit and clear.
Departments are to provide work assignments that GAs can satisfactorily complete in no more than a 20-hour average work week and are to ensure that GAs spend no more than 20 hours per week on average throughout the term of appointment on work unrelated to their position. The actual number of hours required to complete assignments in any given week may vary.
GAs follow the staff holiday and vacation schedule. Consequently, if the campus is closed (for any reason) for regular staff, GAs who normally would work those days will not be required to make up the hours missed.
TIME AWAY FROM DUTIES
The objective of graduate assistantships is education. They are a component of learning and, as practicum, advance understanding through application. While an appointment as graduate assistant shares some attributes of employment, these are secondary. The following “Time Away” policies reflect these principles.
- Accrued Leave. Graduate Assistants do not earn paid annual, personal, or sick leave.
- Time Away from Duty. Graduate Assistants may have time away from their duties. A full time (20 hours per week), 12-month assistantship is allowed ten workdays (40 hours) of collegially supported absence. The eligible time is awarded on a calendar year basis. Time away from duties must be taken while holding an appointment; it may not be accumulated or transferred. It does not include time when the University is closed. Because colleagues must perform the GA’s responsibilities during an absence, reasonable notice (at least 7 days, if the need for leave is foreseeable) and prior approval by the GA’s supervisor are required. Time away from duty may be used for such purpose as the GA elects.
- Absence due to Illness. If a Graduate Assistant becomes ill, time away from duties should initially be supported collegially. Occasional, short-term absences on account of illness generally will not require the use of the allowable “time-away from duty” days.
In the event an absence due to illness extends for a period longer than two weeks, support for time away from duties must be requested by the GA and lies in the discretion of the Director(s) of the department. The GA’s request must be accompanied by supporting medical documentation satisfactory to the University, including a letter from a physician or other licensed health-care professional that provides (1) the nature of the illness; (2) a statement that the GA should not return to work for health reasons; and (3) the duration of the required absence.
TUITION REMISSION AND MANDATORY FEES
Graduate Assistants are eligible for up to 6 credits of tuition remission in the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. The tuition remission to GAs does not cover any additional hours or fees. Any other related costs for program enrollment such as, but not limited to, housing, food, additional credit hours within a semester, books, etc. are the full financial responsibility of the Graduate Assistant. If GA decides to enroll in more than 6 credit hours in a semester it will be the responsibility of the GA to cover the difference. GAs that are eligible to receive an athletic scholarship, may receive the scholarship in conjunction with their GA tuition remission, not to exceed tuition. If the combined aid exceeds tuition, one or more sources will be reduced as no refunds of institutional are permitted under any circumstance.
If a Graduate Assistant's appointment is terminated by their direct supervisor during a term, the tuition for that class will be prorated for the weeks worked as a graduate assistant. The GA will then be responsible for the remaining tuition for that class. If a Graduate Assistant resigns from his/her graduate assistant position due to unforeseen circumstances prior to the completion of 60% of a term, the tuition for that course will be prorated and the GA will be responsible for the remaining tuition for that class. If over 60% of the term has been completed, it will be at the discretion of the direct supervisor if the tuition for the current class will be fully covered by their GA position.
Students appointed to a graduate assistant position are eligible to serve in that position for a maximum of up to two consecutive years and for only one graduate program offered at Limestone University.
CONDUCT AND PROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOR
A Graduate Assistant's administrative activities are subject to the ethical precepts and codes of the academic profession, to the laws of the State of South Carolina regarding its employees, and to University policies governing institutional obligations. Violation of any of these regulations constitutes a basis for disciplinary action in accordance with procedures set forth in the University's policies.
In their interactions with students, faculty, and all other members of the university community, GAs are expected to conduct themselves with the same sensitivity and thoughtfulness that they expect to receive from others.
LIMESTONE UNIVERSITY TITEL IX POLICY
To learn more about the Title IX policy at Limestone University, please read the faculty/staff handbook, https://fac-staff-hb.limestone.edu/limestone-university-title-ix-policy.
FORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCESS
If a Graduate Assistant has a problem or grievance, he or she should review the problem with the Department Supervisor.
If the grievance concerns the immediate supervisor, the Graduate Assistant should review the grievance with the appropriate Vice President.