Faculty Guide to Teaching

Working with Teaching Assistants (TAs) 

Setting Expectations, TUG Time Use Guidelines, Mentoring Your TAs, TA Evaluations, Time Checks with TAs

Teaching assistants (TAs), tutor markers (TMs), and sessional instructors at SFU are members of the TSSU (Teaching Support Staff Union).

What is a Time Use Guideline (TUG)? How do I fill it out and where do I submit it?

  • A TUG helps establish how you and your TA agree they will spend their contracted hours to support your course. TUGs establish the approximate amount of time that your TAs will dedicate to each major teaching activity during the term (classroom contact, marking, office hours, facilitating labs, electronic communication).
  • Completing a TUG is an important piece of communication as well as a requirement of the TSSU Collective agreement with the university.
  • TUGs are filled out during the first week of the term, through discussion between the TA and the supervisor. Submit completed TUGs to your academic unit and remember to also give a copy to your TA.
  • Sample TUG forms are available on the TSSU website.
  • Meet with your TAs regularly and check in on their needs for support and their workload throughout the term.

Workload review/time check

  • Your department manager should remind you to review the TUG with your TA at approximately week five of the course, or after the first midterm, and see if the distribution of hours is appropriate, or may need to be readjusted.

How many hours will my TAs work?

  • TA contracts at SFU specify the number of “base units” that a teaching assistant works. One base unit is equal to 42 hours of work.
  • Up to six hours of a TAs’ time can be dedicated to professional development for teaching each term. Please encourage your TAs to participate in TA/TM Day or other teaching workshops hosted by CEE.
  • TA contracts will typically start on the first day of the term.

TA evaluations

  • Each term TAs are evaluated for their work. The evaluation Form and Evaluative Criteria needs to be shared with your TA at the beginning of the term and must be completed at the end of the term.
  • Please contact your department for a copy of the form, as some departments have an online evaluation form or have added discipline specific information to the form.
  • The generic TA evaluation form is listed in Appendix E of the TSSU Collective Agreement (p 82-83).

Mentoring your TAs - Professional Development and Resources