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 lower-division language courses, and may also apply to teach content courses as well.

Due to Texas legislation, graduate instructors working towards their masters degrees work as teaching assistants (TAs), apprentices for the assistant instructors (AIs, doctoral students). This is a unique opportunity for graduate instructors to learn from experienced teachers and explore their classroom personae at leisure while they are also 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 with presentations by advanced graduate instructors 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, in which groups of instructors of each level of language teaching collaboratively design the content and grading of exams and discuss issues related to language teaching.  These meetings 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 (e.g., design the syllabus, select the appropriate texts, prepare lectures or presentations, classroom activities, etc.). This faculty mentor also visits the graduate instructor while the course is being offered, in part to offer suggestions for improvement, and in part to be able to address the AI’s teaching in subsequent recommendation letters. This practice distinguishes UT's AIs from those at other institutions who do not have the opportunity to teach their own content courses.

As an alternative to submitting ideas for courses that the AI designs, several syllabi for courses that have been successfully taught before are also readily available for interested AIs (e.g., Movies Go To War, Bad Blood, Bad Boy Brecht, History of American and European Detective Fiction, Texas-German Dialects, etc.).

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.

Lower Division Language Program: Other Germanic Languages

In addition to German, the department of Germanic Studies sometimes also offers teaching positions in Swedish, Norwegian and Dutch. These languages are taught in the accelerated sequence (604 and 612) and only AI positions are available for these languages.

Endowed Graduate Fellowship

This fellowship is dedicated to providing research and travel assistance of up to $1200 a year in grants to students who have had papers accepted to present at national meetings of professional societies, as a significant assistance to their professional development.

The Robert T. Clark Achievement Award

This prize is given for the best graduate essay submitted to the awards committee. A list of prior recipients of the Clark Award is available from the Graduate Coordinator.

The Helmut and June Rehder Graduate Scholarship

This honor is bestowed upon the graduate student who has 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. This award is to be given to a student who continues his studies in Germanic literature or linguistics during the ensuant year. Based on a tally of the nominations and consideration of the teaching evaluations of the graduates, the Committee on Graduate Fellowships and Assistantships will nominate a person to the Chairman of the Department, who will announce that nomination and the Department's award of the scholarship. A list of prior recipients of the Rehder Scholarship is available from the Graduate Coordinator.

FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) Fellowships

These fellowships are administered through the following language centers. Only applicants possessing high academic qualifications and wishing to specialize in a particular language area should consider applying for this fellowship. Eligible applicants should make sure to apply for the FLAS at the time of their application to the department. More information can be obtained by contacting one of the area and language-studies centers that offer courses relevant to your interests. Stipend: $15,000 for one academic year plus tuition.

  • The South Asia Institute (512-471-5811) supports the study of modern South Asian languages taught at UT-Austin (e.g., Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, and Urdu). Please visit their web site for more information and to obtain an on-line application.
  • The Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (512-471-7782) can fund language study in the following: Bulgarian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Romani, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Uzbek, and Yiddish. Study of other languages requires petitioning to the Department of Education. Please visit their web site for more information and to obtain an on-line application.
  • The Institute of Latin American Studies (512-471-5551) can fund language study in Portuguese and Quechua, and possibly other languages by special arrangement. Please visit their web site for more information and to obtain an on-line application.
  • The Center for Middle Eastern Studies (512-471-3881) can fund language study in modern Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. Please visit their web site for more complete information.

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