The laboratory teaching assistant program began in 1961 with two students and grew until nearly all laboratory sections in the department now have undergraduate teaching assistants. Although supervised in their work by the instructor in charge of the course, each assistant has considerable responsibility for the teaching and general management of the laboratory and evaluation of the students in the laboratory section. In the General Biology course, for example, there are 10 to 12 assistants, one for each laboratory section, who take part in a three-hour training period each week led by the laboratory supervisor. They submit their lecture outlines, quiz formats, and copies of the best and worst laboratory reports so that their performance may be monitored carefully. Other courses, depending upon the subject material and level, have other patterns of supervision.
The laboratory assistants are chosen each spring by the departmental staff after interviews and consideration of the juniors and seniors who apply. Those appointed receive a contract from the provost and a stipend paid in monthly installments. The stipend is increased for a second year of service.
In addition to the three hours spent supervising their laboratory section each week, laboratory teaching assistants spend from three to six hours in preparation and grading. The work of the laboratory assistants is evaluated by the faculty member in charge of each course as well as by the students in the course as part of the general teaching evaluations carried out each semester by the College.
Student laboratory aides are employed in the General Biology course. These students, usually sophomores, work on an hourly basis assisting in special projects or exercises in the course. Working as a laboratory aide provides valuable introductory experience for those students hoping to serve in the laboratory teaching assistant program.
Other opportunities for employment are available in the department at hourly rates. These include supervision of the reagent room, care of living material, secretarial assistance, supervision of the departmental van, and technical assistance of varying sorts. Consult the department head for details.