TA Information

Undergraduates looking for TA opportunities can apply here


Teaching Assistants need to:

  • Follow course structure as designed by the course instructor.
  • Teaching assistants are expected to attend all required trainings and be on time to any in-person obligation.
  • Missing any obligations or timelines should be communicated (running late to a lab, missing a grading deadline).
  • Respond to emails by the next workday.
  • Maintain all grading timelines as outlined by the instructor.
  • Follow basic protocols and course objectives as outlined by staff and faculty.
  • Be professional and help maintain a positive and equitable learning environment.

TA Support

TAs are well supported by staff and faculty.  

  • Course instructor - The course instructor is in charge of developing the course structure including grading and course content.  This is the first contact for any questions regarding how and what is being taught.
  • Lead TA - An experienced TA with additional course administrative duties.  The Lead TA can assist with grading questions and clarifications on course structure.
  • Instructional Technicians - Full time staff support for labs.  They set up all labs and equipment that will be used in lab classes.  Lab Techs also run in-person trainings.  Lab techs are a great resource on how the labs function and a also assist during lab. 
  • Program Coordinator - Manages the time schedule, text books, Canvas/gradescope.  Problems with classroom locations or grade management structure should be directed here.
  • Director of Undergraduate Services - The UGS Director supervises instructional staff, assigns TAs, and is an administrative liaison.  If a TA has any non-grading questions, they can be sent to the UGS Director.

TA Assignments

Before classes begin, TAs will have the option of giving course preferences and submitting their schedule to the scheduler (preferences are not guaranteed).  These assignments will be emailed to the TAs, and posted on the Time schedule page. TAs should arrive at a laboratory session before the scheduled hours to make sure all reagents and equipment necessary for the days experiment are in the lab and to examine safety equipment. Master keys to student desk padlocks and the lab doors are obtained from Bagley 271. Under no circumstances should the master key be loaned to students.

Equipment and Materials Commonly Used by TAs

Item Room Contact
Lab supplies for undergraduate instructors 271 BAG 206-543-1607
Textbooks, solution manuals, study guides 303 BAG 206-543-4658
Organic Chemical Unknowns 108 CHB 206-685-0524

General Responsibilities

TA ATTENDANCE: TAs are required to be present for their assignment for the entire quarter. This includes TA meetings, quiz sections, laboratory meetings, grading sessions, and proctoring sessions. If the TA has an emergency that prevents attendance for any part of the assignment, the TA must notify the instructor of the course, the Director for Undergraduate Services, and assist with finding a suitable replacement as appropriate.  If on the occasion that a TA’s schedule changes by agreement or instructional need (including covering a section for another TA), the TA should initiate discussion with Eric Camp as soon as they anticipate any workload related issues that would result in working more than 220 hours in the quarter.

TA EVALUATIONS: Each quarter, graduate students serving as teaching assistants must be evaluated. Results of the evaluation are provided to the student and the Chair of the department. It is expected that most of the class will participate, so thoughtful planning of the evaluation is expected.

PROCTORING EXAMINATIONS: Proctoring duty will be assigned by the instructor. Inappropriate student behavior should be brought to the attention of the instructor immediately.

REGULATIONS: All University and Departmental Safety regulations must be followed. TAs are expected to inform students and enforce all regulations and advise instructors of any problems.

  • FERPA: - Family Education Rights and Privacy Act – This is a set of federal regulations that guarantees students some control over their educational record.  This includes the right to inspect/review their educational record, the right to seek or amend their educational record, and have limited control on how their record is disclosed. 

    An education record is defined as any record that directly identifies a student and is maintained by the institution or educational agency or by a party acting for the institution or educational agency.

    As a TA, FERPA rights are commonly applied by not disclosing student information outside the teaching team.  The teaching team includes the course instructor, Undergraduate services staff (instructional technicians, program coordinators, director) and TAs that are within the same course.  Parents, classmates, student’s significant other should not be given any information that is not publicly available.  The department of chemistry recommends sending all requests from such parties to the course instructor or director.  Additionally, TAs should keep physical records such as exams secure (do not leave these records with students to retrieve themselves and don’t leave them in public areas such as the study center).  All graded material should be left with the course instructor or brought to BAG 303.

    DRS: All matriculated students needing disability related accommodations must be approved through DRS.  Non-matriculated students will apply for accommodations through DSO.  TAs may receive emails regarding accommodations.  DRS accommodations require coordination between faculty, staff, and the student, as such do not approve any accommodations that are not already approved by the course instructor or UGS Director.  Send all questions regarding disability accommodations to the course instructor and UGS Director.  

GRADING: Depending on the particular TA assignment given to you, you may be called upon to grade examinations, quizzes, reports, and/or laboratory books. TAs are provided with a Grading Key prepared by the instructor. Grading is to be done under the supervision of the course instructor. It is critically important to keep accurate, up to date records of grading results and to carefully handle and store examination papers. All records should be stored and handled confidentially.

Evidence of cheating on examination papers or in laboratory books must be brought to the attention of the course instructor immediately.

TA MEETINGS: The course instructor will hold weekly TA meetings to outline the material for upcoming quiz sections. It is vital that TAs attend these. Please check your mailbox and e-mail daily for meeting notices. If you are unable to attend a meeting or meet with your class, notify the course instructor as soon as possible. TAs may NOT substitute for one another without prior approval of the instructor. It is the TA's responsibility to find an appropriate substitute.

LABORATORY SESSIONS: Teaching Assistants are required to attend a weekly lab training session (for the weeks lab is scheduled). TAs must thoroughly familiarize themselves with (1) the safety rules and procedures of the department and (2) the potential hazards associated with laboratory work, and (3) the particular safety matters pertaining to that course. The instructor decides what class material is passed on to the students.

You must wear safety goggles, a lab coat, and appropriate clothing in the laboratory and insist that your students do the same.

INJURIES: All TAs are required to maintain CPR/First Aid which is provided by the department.  Treat minor injuries per first aid training; a first aid kit is provided in lab and in the undergraduate stockroom. For MAJOR INJURIES: There are several main things to remember:

  • During Lab hours, there are staff members to assist you.
  • NEVER leave the injured party unattended — Begin first aid immediately. Call or send someone to Room 271 (206-543-1607) or the Main Office (109) for help.
    • If you believe the affected party has an injury beyond the scope of first aid, use the phone to call 911.
  • Never leave your class unattended. Call the undergraduate stockroom, BAG 271, (they can send a staff member to you).  If the injury is minor, a student may accompany the injured party to the BAG 271. 
  • If able, use a wired phone when calling 911 and if you call, send a student to BAG 271 to inform them of the situation.  A staff member can then meet first responders and lead them to the location of the injury. 
    • Wired phone calls to 911 will display building and room number to 1st responders.  This leads to faster response time.  Additionally, wired phone calls to 911 will default to a UW dispatcher who are better equipped to handle university situations.  Cell phone calls will be directed to the Seattle dispatcher.  

OARS: -Online Accident Reporting System – This system is used to track and investigate work related incidents.  Any injury to a paid employee is mandated to be reported.  Near miss incidents should be reported if it is believed that there needs to be a change in process and it is suspected that injuries may occur in the future due to the systemic failure.  We also report injuries to non-paid persons such as students. 

If a person is injured or there is a significant near miss in an undergraduate lab, email the course instructor and the Undergraduate Director as soon as you are able with 1) student name 2) lab section 3) incident details 4) root cause 5) Preventative measures.  After you send this, the undergraduate director will ask any needed clarification and then the TA or director can fill out the OARS.  If the TA feels strongly that they need to report an OARS report, they are within their right to do so.

TEMPORARY STORAGE: Student's personal belongings are to be placed:

  • In the hall lockers.
  • In the cupboards provided.

Items are NOT to be left in the laboratory. Lockers are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Students use their own lock. Contents are removed at the end of each quarter. 

CLEANLINESS AND SECURITY: TAs are responsible for the condition of the laboratory. TAs are encouraged to promote and train students on maintaining a clean labspace. Do not leave the lab until all the students in your section have left. Get a key from the stockroom (BAG 271) and lock all laboratories promptly at the end of the laboratory period.

Each section is responsible for disposal of chemical wastes in the laboratory. Since waste disposal is part of any chemical laboratory, students should be taught proper disposal techniques. The following guidelines will take care of most disposal problems.

  • All undergraduate waste will have specific waste streams.  Lab technicians can assist in locating these.
  • If there is a special disposal problem, please consult with staff personnel in Bagley 271.
  • All waste must be disposed of through Environmental Health & Safety. Consult the Chemical Waste Management Guide in the UW Laboratory Safety manual.  Waste Disposal is managed by lab technicians.

Check in and Check out Procedures

Under NO circumstances should a TA assign a laboratory desk to a student. Students are pre-assigned to desks by stockroom personnel. Copies of the assignments are given to the laboratory instructors prior to the first day of lab. Keys to labs and lab drawers are managed by the undergraduate stockroom in BAG 271.

Students should not be allowed to check into a lab section if their names and desk numbers do not appear on the class list, unless specifically noted by lab staff. Send all students that are not on  the class list to BAG 271 for review.

Check in Materials

Pick up check in materials in the stockroom (Bagley 271) before going into the laboratory.

Check in Procedures for 100-Level Courses

 Students are assigned a station number (as seen on the printed class list). Students are partnered with the other student in the section with the same station number. (A student who does not have a lab partner at their station should be assigned to join another group. If multiple students do not have lab partners, they should be paired up. No more than one group of three should exist in a given section.)

Most (but not all) labs have an equipment kit associated with it. These kits have been placed at each station in advance of the lab

  • If station doesn’t have a kit, or if the kit for the wrong lab was put out, call the Stockroom
    • At the beginning of lab, students should check through their equipment kit to make sure they have all items listed on the included laminated list.
    • Students should write down missing or broken equipment on a pink slip and have their TA confirm and then sign the slip
      • If more than three items in a single kit are missing, the TA should check the perimeter of the lab to see if students from a previous lab misplaced those items. If those items can’t be found, they should have the students fill out a pink slip as normal
    • Students should bring the pink slip to the stockroom (Bagley 271) and exchange it for the listed equipment

    The student is responsible for any item they have checked out from the stockroom; any items broken on purpose or through negligence will need to be paid for by the student.

    At the end of the lab period, check the perimeter of the lab to make sure no kit items were left out by students and that each station’s kit is complete.

    Check in Instructions for Undergraduate Labs 200 Level & Above

    During the first lab session, unlock drawers for students before they arrive in the laboratory. (Each student is assigned a specific drawer number as detailed on the class list.) Pass out drawer cards and assist students in identifying apparati.

    • If drawer item(s) are missing or broken, TAs should confirm them as such and then have students fill out a pink slip.
      • TAs must sign the pink slip after the student has filled it out. Signing the pink slip signifies that the TA has confirmed the listed items are missing/broken and have been correctly listed on the pink slip itself.
    • Tell the students to carefully examine each item for cracks and damages. They will be responsible for all items in the drawer, even those they did not use. Do not approve a drawer with deficient items. Students will be responsible for missing or broken items when they check out.
      • Items broken on purpose or through negligence will have to be paid for by the student
      • Broken Items, excluding test tubes, NMR Tubes, and pipet bulbs, are tracked for each individual student and these breakages may result in a point deduction from their labs.
    • The drawer card must be filled out completely, including on the receipt end.
      • Caution students to carefully read the contract before signing the back of the card and to not tear the drawer card
    • After the cards have been filled out and signed, students must take their card to the stockroom (Bagley 271). Be sure to warn students that check in is not complete until the desk card has been turned in to the Stockroom
    • Upon successful completion of check in, the student will be given a combination lock that they must use to keep their drawer locked when lab is not in session
    • The stockroom will hold onto the completed drawer cards until the end of the quarter

    Note: Students who drop the course after checking into a drawer are still responsible for the contents of that drawer. They are obliged to coordinate with the Stockroom to get that drawer checked out of in a timely manner.

    Students who do not complete drawer checkout or who leave the contents of their drawer dirty (especially those who leave vials of chemicals in their drawer) may be required to pay a cleaning fee.