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Graduate Student Instructors (GSI)

A Graduate Student Instructor, or GSI, plays a vital role in our courses. GSIs in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EARTH) run laboratory sections, grade exams and assignments, and hold office hours. Often they teach students one-to-one or in small groups and provide feedback on their performance.

In EARTH, we have two fractional GSIs appointments

0.25 (grader) Five (5) hours per week on average
0.50 Ten (10) hours per week on average

The hours in the table above are averages. The workload may be heavy during exam periods and light during breaks but averaged over the entire term GSIs should not work on their GSI work more than 5 hours per week for 0.25 appointments or 10 hours per week for 0.50 appointments. GSI positions are filled by both incoming and current graduate students in EARTH. Frequently, we appoint students from other units as GSIs in EARTH courses but graduate students in EARTH have priority. It may be beneficial for first-year graduate students to teach in their first term and especially introductory courses. The student would experience the teaching routine in the Department, get to know a faculty member (different from the adviser) and other graduate students in the course’s teaching team, and meet other graduate students during GSI instructional meetings during the year. In addition, GSI-ing is an excellent way to learn material a student is unfamiliar with. 

See the Graduate Student Instructors and Graduate Student Staff Assistants Appointment Guide with details on the deployment of GSIs and a link to the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement (Agreement) between the University of Michigan and the Graduate Employees' Organization (GEO).

See the EARTH GSI Handbook for useful information specifically for the GSIs in the EARTH and members of their teaching teams.

The Graduate Student Mentors (GSMs) assist and support GSIs. You can approach them, always confidentially, with any questions, concerns, or problems that arise during teaching. This could be advice on a troublesome student, or miscommunication with your faculty instructor (FI). GSMs are not mandatory reporters, so anything you tell them is confidential and anonymous unless you request otherwise.

Additional resources are available at Rackham and through the University. See compilation in the Where to Go When Guide.