The Teaching Fellow Program (TFP) provides the principal framework at Yale in which graduate students learn, under faculty guidance, to become effective teachers and to evaluate student work. Such learning is integral to the preparation of graduate students for professional lives of teaching and scholarship. In order to obtain the greatest benefit from this training, teaching fellows are urged to participate in the programs offered by the Graduate Teaching Center designed to prepare them for the variety and complexity of classroom environments that they will encounter.
Throughout the year, the TFP office works directly with graduate students to answer questions about teaching fellowships and match interested students to teaching opportunities in departments and programs other than their own. Teaching fellows who have questions about any aspect of their appointments at any time during the semester are encouraged to contact the director of the TFP office or their associate dean. Decisions regarding the program are made in close collaboration with the Deans of the Graduate School and Yale College, as well as with the Chairs, Directors of Graduate Studies (DGSs), and Directors of Undergraduate Studies (DUSs) of the arts and sciences academic departments and programs.
Another important resource for Teaching Fellows is the programs offered by the Graduate Teaching Center (GTC). These programs are designed to assist Teaching Fellows with a range of teaching experiences to make the most of their teaching opportunities. Teaching Fellows are urged to take advantage of these programs as well as of departmental programs designed toward the same end.
In the spring of each academic year, departments and programs are asked to submit lists of the undergraduate courses to be taught in the coming academic year that are appropriate for graduate student teaching, describing for each course the teaching structure (e.g., lecture or laboratory with sections, lecture with graders) and the projected number and levels of teaching fellows. Requests are based on standard teaching fellow levels. Discussion sections in lecture courses are normally limited to eighteen students.
Departmental requests are due in mid-April and are reviewed by the TFP Office in light of historical enrollments and teaching patterns. Here as elsewhere in its work, the TFP Office consults frequently with DGSs and DUSs and the Deans of the Graduate School and Yale College. The TFP Office normally notifies departments of their approved number of teaching fellows for the year by June, in ample time to appoint teaching fellows for the next semester.
Departments and programs are responsible for recommending individual teaching fellows to the TFP Office for appointment. Departments are asked to submit these appointments by mid-August for courses in the fall semester and by early December for courses in the spring semester. The TFP Office reviews the recommendations to confirm eligibility and finalizes the appointments contingent on the student's satisfactory academic progress.
It is the practice of the TFP Office to send electronic letters of appointment to graduate students, signed by the TFP Director, indicating the course(s) in which they are expected to teach, the level of the appointment and, for appointments outside of the standard financial aid package, the stipend.
As registration progresses during the first few weeks of each term, it is occasionally necessary for departments to change teaching fellow appointments in response to unexpectedly high or low enrollments. Responsibility for monitoring and reporting enrollments rests with the faculty member in charge of a class. At the end of shopping period, the TFP Office provides students and faculty the opportunity to verify the accuracy of appointments and make any needed adjustments or corrections.
The Graduate School’s Programs and Policies bulletin provides additional information regarding the policies governing teaching appointments with regard to the fellowships outlined in a student’s offer of admission. In the rare cases where professional school students assist in FAS courses, they are appointed at the levels and stipends equivalent to a teaching fellow with the title Teaching Assistant .