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The Daily Tar Heel

Survey to Look at TA Compensation

Results could ensure proper pay for TAs

A draft of the survey was created by task force members Sandra Hoeflich, assistant dean of the graduate school, and Lynn Williford, director of institutional research, to explore the distribution of TA salaries by weekly hours and levels of instruction.

The survey is one way the committee is studying TA compensation because of its importance in attracting top graduate students to UNC.

Branson Page, Graduate and Professional Student Federation president, said Monday's TA Task Force meeting focused on verifying the information on the draft of the survey so Williford can release a final survey to all departments.

Williford said the survey aims to clarify the average TA salary based on each person's specific duties.

"The reason that we are going to talk to the departments about the TA data is because essentially we don't have data on what exactly each graduate student does," Williford said.

Donna Bailey, director of TA development for the UNC Center for Teaching and Learning, said there are four levels of graduate teaching assistant duties. TAs can be instructional assistants, teaching associates, teaching fellows or senior teaching fellows -- each involving varying amounts of commitment.

The task force already has payroll data for TAs, but the survey will break down this information to better understand what specific instructional tasks TAs are being paid for doing.

Steve Allred, associate provost of academic affairs and task force chairman, said sending out the survey to each department will help the task force get an accurate picture of TA levels of responsibility.

The group's members hope to get the survey out by Friday and anticipate that departments will take about two weeks to gather all the information.

Departments also will confirm and correct the data the task force already has about TA salaries from the University system payroll information.

Hoeflich said the information they receive from departments will determine whether TAs are being compensated appropriately for the amount of work they do.

"What we want is to make sure that we feel that the TAs are being equitably compensated," she said.

Williford said the Office of Institutional Research will compile the data received from each department and give it to the TA Task Force in late November.

Allred said that once the internal data is collected, it will be compared to peer institutions. Then, the task force will determine a long-term goal for TA compensation and a funding plan for this goal.

He said the task force plans to have a complete report to the provost by Jan. 17.

"While we've improved our level of funding in the past few years, there are other schools with better funding than us," Allred said.

"We're interested in getting the best students we can."

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