GEs in Graduate-Level Courses

It is a fundamental assumption that graduate education, which includes instruction, supervision, and evaluation, is to be delivered by faculty (as defined below) at the University of Oregon according to this principle:

Graduate courses (those numbered 500-599, 600-699, and 700-799) at the University of Oregon represent teaching and research at the highest level, and are taught by faculty of the institution. Membership in the Graduate Faculty is not a requirement to teach graduate-level courses (those numbered 500-599, 600-699, and 700-799). However faculty teaching these courses must hold a graduate degree in a field relevant to the course. Exceptions to this policy may be granted by the academic unit offering the course in cases where the faculty member is otherwise qualified to teach the particular material offered. Exceptions are granted for up to three years and may be renewed. Academic units are required to record the rationale for the exception and provide the faculty member's CV to the Graduate School (see here). The Graduate School maintains the record of exceptions which will be eligible for review by the Graduate Council and which will be made available to be part of decennial program and accreditation reviews. 

It is also a fundamental assumption that in general, graduate students should not be involved in the evaluation of other graduate students.

However, there may be some circumstances under which a graduate student with a GE appointment could be assigned to assist a faculty member with a graduate-level course.

This policy is designed to articulate conditions governing GE assignments to assist with graduate-level (500, 600, or 700) courses.

GEs assigned to a graduate level course may not be involved in any aspect of the evaluation of graduate students. More specifically, they are prohibited from:

  • Evaluating graduate student work.
  • Serving as instructors of record.
  • Organizing and facilitating lab/discussion sections in the assigned course in which other graduate students participate.
  • Entering grades for graduate students.

GEs assigned to a graduate-level course are permitted to:

  • Answer questions that clarify the structure of class assignments.
  • Organize assigning students to project work groups.
  • Provide an initial review of email messages, forwarding any questions about the academic content of the course to the instructor. They may answer administrative questions.
  • Handle and monitor paper submission and return (as long as grades are not visible).
  • Be the first source of information for students about deadlines, format requirements, and any non-content issues.
  • Monitor, but not participate in, Canvas discussions in a manner that does not involve evaluating academic content of conversations.
  • Monitor attendance.
  • Participate in other classroom management duties that do not involve the academic content of the course or evaluations of student mastery of that content.

When a GE has been assigned to assist a faculty member with a graduate-level course, the syllabus for the course should explicitly acknowledge that a GE will be assisting the faculty member in charge of the course and it should also outline the specific responsibilities of the GE. This will allow instructor, GE, and students enrolled in the course to share a common understanding of the GE's duties.


Finally, if at least three of the conditions listed below are met, a department can petition the Graduate School to allow a GE to participate more fully in the delivery of a graduate-level course:

  1. The GE is no longer taking any classes and is registered only for thesis or dissertation credits.
  2. The content of the GE's own research or prior experience is directly related to the course content.
  3. Either the GE already holds the degree being sought by the students in the course, or the GE and the students are at the same level (Master's or Doctoral) and they are from a department/program other than the one in which the GE is enrolled.
  4. The GE and the students enrolled in the course will not have any other courses in common during the term of the appointment.

A department may also petition for an exception to allow a GE assigned to a graduate course to organize and facilitate lab/discussion sections in the assigned course if at least one of the conditions above is met and the GE will not evaluate the graduate students.

GEs assigned to undergraduate-only courses may instruct and evaluate graduate students enrolled in that course. 

Graduate students who are not assigned as GEs to a course may give a guest lecture in that course so long as it is done only once in the term. 

Approved by Graduate Council 


Petitioning the Graduate School

The department should send an email to Kellie Geldreich (, that identifies the student (GE) by name and ID number, the course in question and faculty member responsible for the course. The petition should also outline the proposed duties as well as the three or more conditions that serve as the basis for the request. The petition should be made in advance of the GE hire. Please allow one week to obtain a response to your request.

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