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Graduate Assistant Operations

Graduate Assistant Assignments

  • Graduate Assistantships should only be awarded to EKU's strongest students who are enrolled full-time. 
  • It is the expectation of the EKU Graduate School that students on assistantship appointments complete their degree requirements and graduate within the normal 2 years of support provided by the assistantship.
  • Programs that do not adequately assure timely progress toward degree completion for their graduate assistants may see their allocation of assistantship positions reduced in subsequent years.

Related to Field of Study:  

  • Graduate assistantship appointments should be directly related to the student's program of study.
  • The use of GAs to perform general clerical or administrative functions is discouraged and appointments of this nature may not be approved.
  • Departments/Colleges must provide an educational justification for ALL GA positions.  Position requests that do not include an appropriate educational justification will not be approved.

Ethics in Teaching and Research

  • GAs have a professional role in their capacity at the university.  All GAs are subject in their teaching and research activities to the ethical precepts and code of the academic profession.
  • Graduate assistants should be familiar with applicable policies, regulations, and benefits. This includes all academic regulations of the Graduate School (published in the Graduate Catalog under Section 4) and any regulations of your department or program.
  • Assistantships are offered by the University to qualified graduate students as enabling devices for graduate study. As a condition of appointment, each graduate assistant is expected to perform certain instructional and/or other professional services for the University.
  • A graduate assistant agrees to abide by all University rules and regulations pertaining to students, and to maintain satisfactory progress toward their degree.
  • In the event of a violation of such rules and regulations, any assistantship can be terminated at the option of the University. Acceptance of the assistantship is construed as acceptance of the foregoing conditions.
  • Graduate assistants are encouraged to contact the Graduate School for additional information on policies and procedures related to their assistantship.

Academic Load

  • Graduate assistants must be enrolled as full-time graduate students (minimum of nine semester hours during each regular fall and spring semester; minimum of 6 hours for summer terms).
  • Graduate assistants are expected to enroll only in course work directly related to the completion of their degree requirements.
  • Students who withdraw from classes during the term and fall below the minimum number of hours will have their assistantship revoked.
  • Students holding instructional assistantships should not carry a combined teaching and course load in excess of fifteen semester hours.

Additional Employment

  • Graduate assistants who wish to seek additional employment beyond their GA position must complete and submit a Request for Additional Employment Form
  • Graduate students holding full-time assistantships, and who have completed 18 or more graduate hours in their program with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, may be approved for up to 7.5 additional hours per week of on-campus employment. 
  • Half-time GAs who have completed 18 or more hours with a GPA of 3.5 may work an additional 17.5 hours of on-campus employment, subject to approval.  
  • Permission to work additional hours is granted solely by the Dean of the Graduate School. 

Academic Conflict

The primary goal of the assistantship program is to facilitate the progress of the student toward the prompt and successful completion of the degree program. In no way should the graduate assistantship interfere or conflict with the educational objectives of the student.

Job Conflicts

If problems or conflicts arise in the performance of duties, the graduate assistant should discuss the situation with his/her immediate supervisor. If the problem is not resolved at that level, then the problem should be taken through the following levels until a resolution is reached: the department chair, the appropriate college dean, the Dean of the Graduate School and the Graduate Council.


The GA appointment may be terminated before expiration of the specified time under certain conditions:

  1. Incompetence, inefficiency, or neglect of duty
  2. Misconduct that is job-related
  3. Delinquency in academic work
  4. Moral turpitude
  5. Financial exigency
  6. Discontinuance of the work in which the appointment is made
  7. Chronic physical or mental ailment or defect which interferes with the performance of required duties
  8. Voluntary mutual agreement

Assistantships already awarded will be cancelled when the appointee's grade point average falls below the required minimum for retention. Masters students must maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA.


When a graduate assistant resigns, a written notification of the resignation must be submitted to the Graduate School office and department chair or supervisor. The termination date should be included in the written notification. If the graduate assistant resigns an assistantship in one department to accept an assistantship in another department, the graduate assistant must obtain the written permission of the chairs of both departments.

Sick Leave and Absences from Work Assignment

The general policy of the University is that all classes will meet as scheduled. No graduate assistant has the individual authority to cancel classes. Graduate assistants are not eligible for sick leave credit.

Anticipated absences: When an absence is anticipated, you must request approval and propose a plan for your work assignment to be met. It is to be approved by the departmental chair. The forms for this procedure for a teaching assistant are available in departmental offices.

Emergency absences: When you are unable to work because of an emergency or illness, the departmental chair or head of your administrative unit must be notified of the plans for that day so that proper arrangements can be made.

Vacation and University Closings

Graduate assistants are not eligible to accrue vacation time; however, graduate assistants are entitled to the same legal holidays and breaks between terms as other University academic personnel. If their assistance is required by faculty supervisors during such periods, arrangements should be made to compensate them by relief from duties, when necessary, during subsequent periods.

Scheduled closings:  Notices of official closings and holidays are in the University calendar (Schedule of Classes ) or provided through official channels.

Emergency or unscheduled closings:  Other than for scheduled holidays, Eastern rarely closes. However, if inclement weather or other events should cause a closing, official word is channeled from the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research to the academic deans and chairs. If in doubt, instructors and their commuting students may contact the appropriate departmental office between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Graduate assistants are not required to make up hours missed during emergency or unscheduled closings.