What are Teaching Assistants?

Course Assistants, Teaching Fellows, and Course Coaches—TAs for short—assist faculty members with teaching courses at HKS.

Working as a TA is a great way to help your fellow students, form a close working relationship with an HKS faculty member, and get involved with the school community. It’s also an opportunity to further your own learning. There’s no better way to learn something than by teaching it to others.

Course Assistant (CA)

Duties vary by course, depending on a faculty member's needs and the course assistant's strengths, but may include:

  • Assisting the faculty member during class and tracking student participation
  • Holding office hours and responding to student queries
  • Giving the faculty member "first reads" for written assignments and marking problem sets
  • Maintaining the course Canvas page
  • Preparing course materials and arranging media services
  • Proctoring exams

CAs and faculty members should maintain open communication to ensure that duties are clear. Hourly commitment varies, but tends to average 8-10 per week. In accordance with the Harvard Graduate Student Union (HGSU) contract, the CA pay rate for Academic Year 2024-2025 is $21.00 per hour.

Teaching Fellow (TF)

TFs are responsible for teaching course review sessions in addition to the CA duties listed above. In some cases, they may be responsible for limited oversight of course assistants. Review sessions generally meet on Fridays for 1.25 hours. In accordance with the HGSU contract, TFs are paid a salary and do not submit hours. The overall expectation is TFs work an approximate average of 10 hours per week over the duration of the appointment for standard courses with one review session. Therefore, the expectation is TFs typically work between 8-12 hours per week. Positions in MPP1 core courses may be more intensive and receive additional compensation.

Course Coach (CC)

In addition to the CA duties listed above, CCs work closely with students in courses that include negotiation, simulation, or coaching. CCs may run simulations, exercises, breakout sessions, and experiential elements within these courses. Similar to the TFs, CCs are paid a salary and do not submit hours. The overall expectation is CCs work an approximate average of 10 hours per week over the duration of the appointment for standard courses. Therefore, the expectation is CCs typically work between 8-12 hours per week. Positions in MPP1 core courses may be more intensive and receive additional compensation.

Contact

academicplanning@hks.harvard.edu


Public leadership credential (plc) online TA

The Public Leadership Credential (PLC) is an online professional development program designed for mid-career professionals dedicated to public service and open to learners around the world. While similar in some ways to HKS degree courses, each PLC course's TA team works directly with learners and is overseen by PLC's Senior Online Learning Manager. Program faculty are available to TAs on a weekly basis for curricular support and guidance, but do not hold live lectures. If interested, please submit an application via this form.

We are hiring TAs who are responsible for providing the following academic support for PLC:

  • Homework scoring according to a rubric
  • Written feedback on learner performance
  • Tutoring via Canvas messages and Zoom sessions with learners

TAs are expected to commit to an average of approximately 20 hours per week during an eight-week course session, and the program runs two course sessions per semester. Each team includes a Senior TA who assists with subject matter expertise, organization, and logistics. The stipend rates for AY23-24 are:

  • Senior Online Teaching Assistant: $10,970 per semester
  • Online Teaching Assistant: $4,285 per session ($8,570 for full semester)

A full-semester commitment of two consecutive course sessions is preferred , though note that TAs are unable to work on two courses concurrently. Please review the job descriptions for both roles to learn more. PLC TAs report directly to Neil Patch, PLC's Senior Online Learning Manager, and he can be contacted at neil_patch@hks.harvard.edu with questions.