Department of Germanic Studies

AI/TA Positions and Funding

Lower Division Language Program: German

The Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin is highly committed to the professional development of its graduate instructors. During their career at UT, these instructors are thoroughly prepared to teach.

Due to Texas legislation, graduate instructors working towards their master’s degrees work as teaching assistants (TAs), apprentices for the assistant instructors (AIs, doctoral students with their own classes). This is a unique opportunity for graduate instructors to learn from experienced teachers and explore their classroom personae at leisure while adjusting to the demands of their advanced studies.

In order to prepare TAs and AIs for lower division language teaching, an intensive, week-long orientation program run by the language program coordinator introduces the objectives of the UT German language program and provides hands-on training in lesson planning, materials development and classroom management. During the academic year, bi-weekly coordination meetings are held, which ensure that the language program is coherent and allow the graduate instructors to have an active and regular voice in its administration.

Qualified graduate instructors may also serve as course coordinators who are in charge of a level of instruction for one or two semesters.  This provides added experience in syllabus design, TA supervision, test development and program administration.

UT offers further unique pedagogical experience to its assistant instructors (doctoral students). AIs are very much encouraged to design content courses that relate to any area within Germanic studies for a freshman, general education audience. The instructors work closely with a faculty mentor to finalize the plans for the course. This practice distinguishes UT's AIs from those at other institutions who do not have the opportunity to teach their own content courses.  (Courses that have been successfully taught before, e.g. Movies go to War, are also readily available for interested Ais.)

The faculty's support for our graduate instructors is not limited to preparing them to teach in our program. Faculty mentors continue to work with AIs and TAs when they enter the job market, helping them compile strong teaching dossiers, and prepare model lessons for on-campus interviews. These mentoring relationships often extend beyond the students’ graduate years, as the Department's faculty members share their expertise and guidance even after the candidates begin their independent teaching careers elsewhere.

Most of our graduate students are funded through teaching positions, which also come with a tuition waiver, insurance, and salary.  Other sources of funding include: up to $2000 per year in grants to students who have had papers accepted to present at scholarly conferences; The Robert T. Clark Achievement Award, which is given for the best graduate essay submitted to the awards committee; and the Helmut and June Rehder Graduate Scholarship, which is bestowed upon graduate students who have excelled academically and in activities that serve the Department including initiatives and enterprises that do honorable service to the life of the University as a whole.  Our students also regularly receive outside fellowships from various sources, e.g. Fulbright, DAAD, FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies), etc.

Contact the Graduate Coordinator for information about how to apply for these opportunities.