Graduate Student Instructors

All UC Berkeley GSIs are protected by the workers’ union, UAW 2865. You can find information about your rights and reporting options here, as well as a helpful grid for tracking your worked hours here. GSAC encourages you to talk to your faculty supervisor about workload concerns before the semester begins, to track your hours diligently (including hours spent responding to student emails and other behind-the-scenes work), and, if you are exceeding your appointed hours, to discuss workload modifications with your faculty supervisor proactively. If your rights continue to be violated, you can utilize the union’s workplace issues reporting process.

The faculty discussed the question of how to appoint graduate student instructors (GSIs) during the faculty retreat of August 14, 2009. The following were adopted as the (rank-ordered) criteria for deciding how to act in any given circumstance:

1. We must meet all contractual and fellowship obligations. This means that the UAW contract must be followed (e.g. GSIs must be paid through the payroll system at a rate commensurate with the number of hours they are working).

2. We must meet the department teaching needs. This means that if the department needs to fill a GSI position, a student would be appointed regardless of whether or not the student has a fellowship.

3. We will try to maintain the most equitable pay scheme possible for all students. Subject to the above constraints, we will try to make the pay for each student as close as possible. So, for example, we decided that a student would normally only be allowed to GSI once under fellowship to minimize the differences in pay between students. And the former 'bonus' given to fellowship holders will no longer be given. (Note that current fellowship-holding students who have already taught for two semesters will continue to receive their supplements until their fellowship expires. A transition period policy is still being worked out, but in general we will honor the prior commitments.)

4. We will allow students to be GSIs at least once in order to give them teaching experience. This is an important part of the PhD education. We will try to appoint students to be GSIs twice during their PhD education. However, the second GSI for fellowship-holders must be done after the fellowship has expired unless the department cannot find any other way to meet the teaching needs that semester.

5. We will try to keep all GSI appointments at the same number of hours. We think it is best for all if every GSI is appointed at the same 20 hours per week level.

Note: the department will be flexible in accommodating a 2nd teaching experience before the expiration of fellowships, if a fellowship holder wishes to defer their fellowship. This will take planning and coordination with the department and the fellowship agency. Therefore, if you wish to defer your fellowship in order to be able to teach in a specific semester please contact the Graduate Student Affairs Officer before doing so.