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04.01.25 Graduate Research Assistant Assignment & Selection

Graduate Research Assistant Assignment & Selection


Counseling, Leadership,
Adult Education,
and School Psychology

CLAS/PPS No. 04.01.25
Effective Date: April 19, 2017
Review Date: Fall 2020


1.01         This policy provides for the assignment and selection of Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) in the Department of Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education, and School Psychology (CLAS). This policy outlines the procedures, criteria for advertising, selection process, and assignment of faculty mentors for the graduate research assistant program. 


 2.01        To provide graduate students with financial support via employment while pursuing a master’s or specialist degree.

 2.02        To support faculty’s research activities through employment as a research assistant.

 2.03        To attract a diverse and quality graduate student population for admission to the university.

 2.04        To broaden and enhance student academic experiences.

 2.05        To provide a genuine mentorship experience between student and professor.

 2.06        To provide research experiences for the graduate student via the research activities she or he performs under a faculty member’s supervision.

 2.07        To develop the graduate student’s professional skills.


3.01         The Faculty Graduate Research Assistant Committee will be composed of one faculty member from each of the following programs in CLAS: Professional Counseling, Student Affairs in Higher Education, and School Psychology.  Each program will develop its own system for determining its representative on the GRA committee. The role of committee chair will rotate annually so that the chair role changes by program each year. This committee will advertise for applicants using an April 1 deadline for applications and allowing for a minimum of 30 days for the application period.  Each year the GRA committee will be responsible for reviewing, editing, and publishing the Graduate Research Assistant application.

3.02         The department chair will vote only in the case of a tie or the lack of consensus by the committee.

3.03         The number of GRAs will be budgeted by the department on an annual basis. GRAs will work 10 or 20 hours per week. The hours cannot exceed a maximum of 20 hours per week and will be paid at the university rate for graduate assistants. Graduate Research Assistants will be assigned by the committee to faculty supervisors on a yearly basis.  Employment starting and ending dates will be September 1 and May 31, respectively.  

3.04         Faculty who wish to be assigned a GRA must submit a proposal to the Faculty Graduate Research Assistant Committee by April 1 preceding the fall semester. This committee will select the faculty recipients based on the substance of the proposal, the proposal’s incorporation of the GRA program goals, and the overall value of the proposal. This committee has the authority and the responsibility to assign the Graduate Research Assistants to faculty. Any faculty member who is not engaged in research activities for any part of the academic year is not eligible for a GRA. Faculty awarded a GRA may, at their discretion, share any portion of their GRA hours with other faculty members. A CLAS faculty member may not be assigned both a master’s-level GRA and a Ph.D.-level DRA. 

3.05         The Professional Counseling Program, the Adult Education master's program, and the School Psychology program will each have one, 10-hour GRA for recruitment that can be awarded to an admitted student as an incentive. For all other GRAs, selection of students will be on the basis of their merit without regard to the particular program they are enrolled in. Students may be selected to work in a program in which they are not enrolled. 


4.01         Minimum eligibility criteria to become a Graduate Research Assistant:

a. Enrollment in a master’s or specialist program in CLAS as a degree-
    seeking candidate;

b. Minimum Grade Point Average of 3.00 on all graduate course work, or
    if just beginning graduate studies, on undergraduate course work;

c. The minimum course load required during a fall/spring term of employment as a Graduate Research Assistant is nine graduate semester hours. Students who enrolled in nine graduate semester hours during the previous spring and fall terms are not required to enroll during the summer; otherwise, enrollment in three graduate hours is required for the summer term. Assistants taking more than 12 graduate semester hours during the fall/spring terms must have approval from the Dean of The Graduate College. Similarly, assistants taking more than six graduate semester hours per summer session must have approval from the Dean of The Graduate College;

d. Enrolling below the minimum graduate level hours in any semester is a one-time exception that may be allowed by The Graduate College and granted only upon request and review. While this exception is typically reserved for the student’s final semester of enrollment, it may be used for any semester that both the student and their graduate advisor and department chair deem necessary. Once this exception has been awarded, students seeking any type of graduate assistant employment are required to enroll in a minimum of 9 graduate hours each subsequent fall and spring semester; and a minimum of 3 graduate hours each subsequent summer semester to maintain eligibility (unless they were enrolled in 9 hours in the previous spring and fall semesters per the paragraph above). Additionally, international students enrolling less than full time must have an approval from the International Office;

e. GRAs may not work more than 20 hours per work for the university across any combination of positions. Additional employment outside the university may not exceed a maximum of 20 hours per week during the term of GRA appointment.


5.01         The committee will notify both students and faculty of the opening and due dates for the application process, and instructions on how to apply. The announcement should appear at least 30 days prior to the end of the application period. The CLAS Department Graduate Assistant Application Form must be submitted by the due date in order to receive priority consideration.

5.02         The committee will screen all student applications received by April 1 to determine eligibility and create a pool of qualified candidates.

5.03         The committee will rank faculty proposals received by April 1 based on the following:

a. Demonstrated faculty need for research support;

b. Potential for broadening and enhancing student academic experiences;

c. Potential to provide quality research experiences for the student.

5.04          Late student applications or faculty proposals will be considered only if there are unfilled positions following consideration of all applications received by April 1.

5.05          The committee will make the qualified applicants’ materials available to faculty who have been selected to receive a Graduate Research Assistant.  Faculty applicants will then rank the student applicants according to their own needs. The faculty members will then provide the committee with their rankings of their top three applicants. After the committee is provided with rankings, the committee will resolve all duplicate rankings by April 22.  A ranking of one (1) will be considered the highest rank.

5.06         The committee will assign Graduate Research Assistants to selected faculty based on their rankings by April 30. The committee chair will inform the faculty member, the student, the department chair, and the department’s Administrative Assistant III.

 5.07        The department chair is the hiring manager. The department’s Administrative Assistant III will coordinate the hiring process on the chair’s behalf. GRA candidates who do not compete hiring documentation within the assigned time period may see their start date delayed or their employment cancelled.  


6.01        Should a GRA be unable or unwilling to perform the tasks assigned by his/her faculty member, the faculty member should first approach the GRA and have a face-to-face meeting to discuss the concerns and the job requirements. Should the GRA continue to be unable or unwilling or unable to perform the duties assigned at an appropriate level of competence, the GRA may be terminated. The faculty member will make a recommendation to the department chair, who may terminate employment following university policy.

6.02        Replacement selection process:

a. The committee will appoint a person to fill the remaining term from qualified and available students in the applicant pool who had not been initially selected.

b. If no qualified and available students remain in the applicant pool, or if remaining students are not assessed as suitable, the committee, in collaboration with the faculty mentor, may conduct a search to determine qualified applicants. The search will consist of the filing of applications by students, review of the applications by the committee and the faculty mentor, and selection of a qualified candidate by the committee. 


7.01          University policies regarding employment of Graduate Research Assistants must be followed. University requirements supersede all items in this department policy. Faculty supervisors and employed Graduate Research Assistants should review The Graduate College policy for Graduate Assistantships, including the link to academic eligibility requirements.

7.02         In all cases, the account manager (department chair) or the manager’s designee will decide who is hired in accordance with the qualifications and standards required for the position.

7.03         Renewal is at the discretion of the department based on the policy above.