Letter to the Editor: GTAs get great deal

I wish to comment on the article, “TAs balance busy schedule, low pay” (Nov. 19, p. 6). The article gave the impression that graduate teaching assistants normally receive full tuition and a stipend of about $5,000 a semester.

Although GTA support packages vary in size, those in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences most often consist of full tuition, about $13,365, and between $11,000 and $13,000 in stipends and salary. Moreover, we continually strive to keep our GTA offers competitive with those of other universities. In addition, GW does help with health insurance. It provides GTAs as well as graduate research assistants and graduate administrative assistants with $500 per academic year toward the cost of the GW Student Health Insurance Plan.

It is also important to recognize that a teaching assistantship is an integral part of a doctoral student’s education. It is an opportunity to learn the field and to prepare for a career as an educator. At GW, GTAs receive training through a fall orientation workshop, a newly designed online course specifically for GTAs offered in their first semester on the job and most importantly, collaboration with their faculty mentors as they work to provide their students with quality learning experiences. We strive to make the GTA experience at GW one that benefits both GW’s undergraduates and the GTAs themselves.

-Carol Sigelman
assoc. vice president for research and graduate studies

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