GEs Assisting Instructor-of-Record GEs

Departments must notify the Graduate School when they appoint a GE as an assistant to a GE who has been assigned as the instructor of record for a course. This notification should take place as soon as these assignments are made.
The general principle that "conflicts of interest" are to be avoided provides the primary basis for the policy that graduate students should not be placed in positions of supervision or evaluation over other graduate students. Thus, a graduate student who is the instructor of record for a course would generally not be able to have a fellow graduate student assigned as a grader, discussion section leader, or lab assistant.
In addition to the issue of conflict of interest, it may be the case that a GE with sufficient academic experience to warrant being the instructor of record may not have the additional skills necessary to also serve as a guide, mentor, or supervisor of a less experienced graduate student assigned as an assistant for the course.
In spite of the general restriction on having graduate students supervise fellow graduate students, there may be some circumstances under which it is appropriate for a GE to be assisted by another GE.
In those cases, the following guidelines should be used:
  1. Maximize the experience of the instructor of record GE in delivering the specific course.
    • The instructor of record GE should have already taught the course, or at the very least, should have served as an assistant for the course. If the course is "new" (perhaps being offered because of the graduate student's own specialized knowledge), then there should be some evidence of past success as an instructor of record for a similar or related course.
  2. Maximize the "distance" between the instructor of record GE and the assisting GE.
    • If the instructor of record GE is an advanced doctoral student who is ABD and the assisting GE is a 1st or 2nd year Master's student, the conflict of interest issue would be minimized. On the other hand, having both the instructor of record GE and the assisting GE in the same cohort (e.g., both in the 3rd year of their doctoral programs) would not be acceptable.
  3. Evaluation of the assisting GE is to be done by a regular faculty member.
    • Whatever evaluation measures a department normally uses for GEs will determine the specific steps to be taken. However, because graduate students should not be evaluated by fellow graduate students, a regular faculty member must take responsibility for evaluating the assisting GE.
  4. Additional evaluation of the supervisory role of the instructor GE.
    • This entails adding a supervisory component to the regular evaluation measures used by the department.
With regard to these last two points, it is necessary to make sure that both the instructor of record GE and the assisting GE have a clear understanding of who will do these evaluations and of the roles and responsibilities for each person involved in the evaluation process.
Notifying the Graduate School
As soon as assignments of this type are made, the department must submit an email to Jered Nagel, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at the Graduate School, which contains the following:
  • The names and ID numbers of both the instructor of record GE and the assisting GE.
  • The course to which both students have been assigned.
  • The name of the faculty member who will be responsible for evaluating both GEs.
  • A rationale statement, taking into account the guidelines above. 
For more information, please contact Jered Nagel ( or 541-346-2802).
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