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About Teaching Assistants

About the role

A Teaching Assistant (or TA) is a person employed on an hourly basis to provide teaching and learning support to academic staff.   

Many of our TAs are Postgraduate Rearchers (PGRs) at the University of Manchester, and accordingly we aim to ensure TAs are supported in the context of their PGR studies, as well as ensuring that the quality of teaching and support provided by Teaching Assistants is of a high standard.  Essential to this is that there is a shared and common understanding between both the TA and the academic member of staff they are supporting, in terms of what is going to be required of the TA.  Using the generic job descriptions below, tailoring as required to local specifications, will support this as well as ensuring transparency, fairness and consistency.

Teaching support can be delivered in a range of settings, including small seminar groups, workshops and laboratories.

TAs may assist in marking and providing constructive feedback.  This might include marking essays or coursework, conducting formative assessment (e.g. via laboratory manual questions), or marking via online assessment tools.  If they do so, TAs should have attained the qualification above that for which they are marking.  Marking guidelines should be provided to the TA if requested.

Some administrative duties may be required, as part of their role in the teaching team and to support the smooth running of the course.  This might include assisting in the keeping of records of student attendance, and helping to compile brief reports on the attendance and work of each student at the end of each semester. 

Example Job Descriptions

The hiring manager should provide the Job Description and Person Specification to the TA when recruiting.  A template JD&PS that can be tailored to local needs by managers can be found here

If the template is very far from what you require, you should speak with your HR Partner to discuss whether this is the right role for your needs.  You may also wish to review the National Library of Academic Role Profiles (NLARP) role profile document to understand the relativities between this and other academic jobs; the TA role is NLARP level 1/Grade 5 within the document.