Graduate Assistantship (GA) Orientation

Congratulations on your assistantship with Western Michigan University!

We are proud to have you as a member of the WMU community, where teaching, research and scholarship are central to the mission of our institution. The Graduate College, the Graduate Student Association (GSA), graduate faculty, advisors and staff are all committed to supporting your success and creating a community that is welcoming, respectful and inclusive. 

At Western Michigan University approximately 20% of graduate students are on a Graduate Assistantship (GA) appointment and serve many  important roles at the university. Holding a GA position provides an excellent opportunity for  professional development in that you gain new skills that enhance your academic work, build valuable work experiences and develop your career network, in addition to having the financial support that comes with the appointment.

We have three types of Graduate Assistantships: 

1. Research Discovery Assistants (RDs) are research assistants who perform duties related to research and scholarship for their appointment. 
2. Research Application Assistants (RAs) includes all other professional work in the unit accepted as appropriate and germane to the student’s educational goal.
3. Teaching Assistants (TAs) serve in a role related to teaching; some are instructors of record (meaning they are the one primarily responsible for a course); some are instructors of lab sections; and some assist the instructor in some support capacity (such as grading or holding discussion sessions). TAs are part of the Teaching Assistants Union

Graduate Assistantship (GA) Orientation

To support and familiarize all newly appointed Graduate Assistants with their role and responsibilities, the WMU Graduate College requires you complete Graduate Assistantship (GA) Orientation, RD, RA, or TA Training, and department-level training, if available. Please click the menu below based on the type of appointment you have been assigned to review the training requirements.

  • Research Discovery Assistants (RDs)

    Research Discovery Assistants (RDs) are research assistants who perform duties related to research and scholarship for their appointment. 

    The Graduate College will register students for the GA Training course in Elearning, which will initiate a confirmation message to be sent to each student's WMU email.  

    1) View the GA Training Video 
    Two session delivery modes are offered for GA Training, including a recorded video and a synchronous virtual training. The information presented in each of the synchronous virtual sessions is the same, with the live synchronous session offering the added benefit of having the Graduate College staff available to answer questions in real-time. 

    • Click here to view the GA Training video at your leisure (coming soon!). The training video will take approximately 25-minutes to view.
    • Select one date below to RSVP for a synchronous training session. During the session members of the Graduate College will be available for questions. After you register, you will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom meeting link.
    1. Tuesday, August 23 from 4 to 5 p.m. ET
    2. Wednesday, August 24 from 10 to 11 a.m. ET  

    2) Attend Research Discovery (RD) Training | Wednesday, August 24, 1 p.m. ET
    Attend the synchronous virtual RD Training session on August 24 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET hosted by the Office of Research and Innovation.

    3) Review the Research Discovery Assistant (RD) Training Booklet

    4) Familiarize yourself with several important policies:

    Graduate Appointee policies

    WMU FERPA Policy

    WMU Policy on Sexual Misconduct (In cooperation with the Office of Institutional Equity, additional training on this topic will be emailed to all graduate students at the start of the semester.) 

    5) Submit the Graduate Appointee Statement of Responsibility and Confidentiality
    Complete the training verification form by signing the Graduate Appointee Statement of Responsibility & Confidentiality by September 8. 

    Optional - Complete Graduate Student Online Orientation
    For those who are new to WMU, we recommend you first complete the WMU Graduate Student Online Orientation available to all new graduate students in your Elearning portal called "Graduate Student Online Orientation."

    Reminder - Complete the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course
    The Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course is required to comply with requirements from national funding agencies and ensures that all graduate students at WMU are working to the highest possible standards of integrity. All new WMU graduate students, including GAs, are required to complete the RCR course by January 17, 2023 for the Fall 2022 semester. First semester graduate students are sent an introductory message to their WMU email address with instructions to access the RCR course in Elearning. There is no fee for the course, and no credit hours are earned. Completion of this course is a university-wide requirement and is not directly associated with any specific graduate program.

  • Research Application Assistants (RAs)

    Research Application Assistants (RAs) includes all other professional work in the unit accepted as appropriate and germane to the student’s educational goal.

    The Graduate College will register students for the GA Training course in Elearning, which will initiate a confirmation message to be sent to each student's WMU email.  

    1) View the GA Training Video 
    Two session delivery modes are offered for GA Training, including a recorded video and a synchronous virtual training. The information presented in each of the synchronous virtual sessions is the same, with the live synchronous session offering the added benefit of having the Graduate College staff available to answer questions in real-time. 

    • Click here to view the GA Training video at your leisure (coming soon!). The training video will take approximately 25-minutes to view.
    • Select one date below to RSVP for a synchronous training session. During the session members of the Graduate College will be available for questions. After you register, you will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom meeting link.
    1. Tuesday, August 23 from 4 to 5 p.m. ET
    2. Wednesday, August 24 from 10 to 11 a.m. ET  

    2) Attend Virtual Research Application (RA) Training | Wednesday, August 24, 1 p.m. ET
    Attend the synchronous RA Training session on August 24 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET hosted by the Career and Student Employment Services Department.

    3) Review the Research Application/Service Assistant (RA) Training Booklet

    4) Familiarize yourself with several important policies:

    Graduate Appointee policies

    WMU FERPA Policy

    WMU Policy on Sexual Misconduct (In cooperation with the Office of Institutional Equity, additional training on this topic will be emailed to all graduate students at the start of the semester.) 

    5) Submit the Graduate Appointee Statement of Responsibility and Confidentiality
    Complete the training verification form by signing the Graduate Appointee Statement of Responsibility & Confidentiality by September 8. 

    Optional - Complete Graduate Student Online Orientation
    For those who are new to WMU, we recommend you first complete the WMU Graduate Student Online Orientation available to all new graduate students in your Elearning portal called "Graduate Student Online Orientation."

    Reminder - Complete the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course
    The Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course is required to comply with requirements from national funding agencies and ensures that all graduate students at WMU are working to the highest possible standards of integrity. All new WMU graduate students, including GAs, are required to complete the RCR course by January 17, 2023 for the Fall 2022 semester. First semester graduate students are sent an introductory message to their WMU email address with instructions to access the RCR course in Elearning. There is no fee for the course, and no credit hours are earned. Completion of this course is a university-wide requirement and is not directly associated with any specific graduate program.

  • Teaching Assistants (TAs)

    Teaching Assistants (TAs) serve in a role related to teaching; some are instructors of record (meaning they are the one primarily responsible for a course); some are instructors of lab sections; and some assist the instructor in some support capacity (such as grading or holding discussion sessions). TAs are part of the Teaching Assistants Union 

    The Graduate College will register students for the GA Training course in Elearning, which will initiate a confirmation message to be sent to each student's WMU email.  

    1) View the GA Training Video 
    Two session delivery modes are offered for GA Training, including a recorded video and a synchronous virtual training. The information presented in each of the synchronous virtual sessions is the same, with the live synchronous session offering the added benefit of having the Graduate College staff available to answer questions in real-time. 

    • Click here to view the GA Training video at your leisure (coming soon!). The training video will take approximately 25-minutes to view.
    • Select one date below to RSVP for a synchronous training session. During the session members of the Graduate College will be available for questions. After you register, you will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom meeting link.
    1. Tuesday, August 23 from 4 to 5 p.m. ET
    2. Wednesday, August 24 from 10 to 11 a.m. ET  

    2a) Attend Virtual Teaching Assistant (TA) Training | Wednesday, August 24, 1 p.m. ET
    Attend the synchronous virtual TA Training session on August 24 from 1 to 5 p.m. ET hosted by the Office of Faculty Development.

    • Click here to access the training session at the appropriate time. During the synchronous virtual session members of the Office of Faculty Development will be available for questions.

    2b) Attend Optional Training | Friday, August 26, 9:30 a.m. ET
    Additional training for new TAs through the WMUx Summer Series includes workshops on the first day of class, discussions, exit tickets, course recaps, and accessibility. Learn more and RSVP here. 

    3) Review the Teaching Assistant (TA) Training Booklet

    4) Familiarize yourself with several important policies:

    Graduate Appointee policies

    WMU FERPA Policy

    WMU Policy on Sexual Misconduct (In cooperation with the Office of Institutional Equity, additional training on this topic will be emailed to all graduate students at the start of the semester.) 

    5) Submit the Graduate Appointee Statement of Responsibility and Confidentiality
    Complete the training verification form by signing the Graduate Appointee Statement of Responsibility & Confidentiality by September 8. 

    Optional - Complete Graduate Student Online Orientation
    For those who are new to WMU, we recommend you first complete the WMU Graduate Student Online Orientation available to all new graduate students in your Elearning portal called "Graduate Student Online Orientation."

    Reminder - Complete the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course
    The Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course is required to comply with requirements from national funding agencies and ensures that all graduate students at WMU are working to the highest possible standards of integrity. All new WMU graduate students, including GAs, are required to complete the RCR course by January 17, 2023 for the Fall 2022 semester. First semester graduate students are sent an introductory message to their WMU email address with instructions to access the RCR course in Elearning. There is no fee for the course, and no credit hours are earned. Completion of this course is a university-wide requirement and is not directly associated with any specific graduate program.