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.
Starting in December 2021, Please complete the following training to familiarize you with your new role
Graduate Assistantship Training is required for all new graduate assistants by the WMU Graduate College. Separate training sessions for Teaching Assistant (TA), will be held as synchronous virtual events on January 6, 2022 from 2 - 5 p.m. ET. Research Discovery (RD) and Research Application (RA) appointees will view recorded training in ELearning. In addition, some departments may notify students of any requirements for their own training.
Graduate College will register students for the GA Training course in Elearning, which will trigger 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 the GA Training, including a recorded video and a synchronous virtual training:
- After you receive a confirmation message indicating you have been registered for GA Training, click here to view the GA Training video at your leisure. The training video will take approximately 25-minutes to view.
- RSVP to attend synchronous session being offered Thursday, January 6, 2022 from 2-5 p.m. ET. During the live, synchronous sessions the Graduate College staff will be available for questions. If you wish to attend the live session, please RSVP here. After you register you will receive an email confirmation.
2) Review the Position Training Booklet
Click the link that is appropriate to your type of position to review the booklet:
- Research Discovery Assistant (RD)
- Research Application/Service Assistant (RA)
- Teaching Assistant (TA)
3) 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.)
4) Submit the Graduate Appointee Statement of Responsibility and Confidentiality
Complete the training verification form by signing the Graduate Appointee Statement of Responsibility & Confidentiality by January 18, 2022.
Optional - Complete Graduate Student Online Orientation
For those who are new to WMU, we recommend you first complete the WMU Graduate Student Online Orientation (2021-22) 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 December 18, 2021 for Fall 2021 semester and April 30, 2022 for Spring 2022. 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.