Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures Workgroup

A campus workgroup has been charged to transition policy from the former Teaching Assistants Association (TAA) contract to a Graduate Assistant Policies and Procedures (GAPP) resource. This webpage is intended to inform campus about the project and answer frequently asked questions.


Graduate assistant policies and procedures were previously included in the labor contract between the TAA and the State of Wisconsin. This contract expired in 2011 as a result of Act 10 and the subsequent decertification of the TAA labor union.

UW–Madison continues to honor the terms outlined within the contract with limited exceptions. However, the contract does not adequately address the policy needs or for graduate assistants or the other groups not covered by the former TAA contract.

The workgroup was charged in early 2017 by Laurent Heller, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration; Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; and William J. Karpus, Dean of the Graduate School.

Workgroup members are staff whose responsibilities include interaction with graduate assistants and graduate students selected by the Associated Students of Madison (ASM). This includes staff from the College of Letters and Sciences, Office of Human Resources, Graduate School, College of Engineering, and four graduate students appointed by ASM.

The workgroup’s primary purpose is to develop a policy and procedures resource that will guide graduate assistants and supervisors on employment-related matters. The project will memorialize much of the language found in the previous TAA contract, expanding policy to pertain to all graduate assistant appointments – Teaching Assistant (TA), Project Assistant (PA), Research Assistant (RA), Lecturer (SA) and Project Assistant reader.

The project as originally defined was intended to be completed by the end of fall semester 2017. This timeline is dependent on progress as the new GAPP resource develops.

To view the full project charter, please click here.

Workgroup meetings, listed below, are open to the public.

  • June 20, 1pm, Bascom 334
    Agenda: Welcome, Introductions, Facilitator, Guiding Principles, Project Charter, Scope, Workgroup structure and Processes, Future meetings
  • July 18, 1:30pm, Bascom 54
    Agenda: Differentiating: Policy, Procedures, Process; Appointment Letters, Appointment Percentage, Appointment Terms, Assigned Duties
  • August 16, 10am, Bascom 53
    Agenda: Follow up: All campus mailing lists, meeting schedule and locations; Appointment Letters, Appointment Percentage, Appointment Terms, Assigned Duties
  • August 30, 10am, Bascom 334
    Agenda: Follow up: Definitions personnel lists; Review: probationary period; Appointment percentage, employee information, assigned duties
  • September 11, 10am, Bascom 334
    Agenda: Revisit: Work surroundings; Review: Orientation, training & evaluation; Non-discrimination/affirmative action; health and safety
  • September 25, 10am, Bascom 334
    Agenda: Revisit: Personnel lists, work surroundings; Review: personnel file, travel and lodging; Subject Matter Experts: Lisa Hull, Jeff Armstrong
  • October 9, 10am, Bascom 334
    Agenda: Revisit: personnel lists; Review: wages and benefits; Subject matter experts: Thomasin Propson
  • October 23, 10am, Bascom 334
    Agenda: Review: Crosswalk documentation, policy priority items for review and process for writing narrative, wages and benefits. Subject matter experts: Diane Blaskowski or Thomasin Propsin; Update on forums
  • November 6, 10am, Bascom 334
    Agenda: TBA

What types of topics will be covered in the new Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures?

Examples of the types of topics found in the previous TAA contract include: benefits, health insurance, lodging and meals when traveling,– many of which are governed by UW System policies. Click here to review the TAA contract.

What topics will not be covered?

Although significant portions of the current policy will transition with little or no impact to current practice, several areas will require more substantive language modification, e.g. grievance policy and policies surrounding time and leave reporting. Due to the employment nature of the policies, the Office of Human Resources (OHR) and Graduate School manage the resulting policies.

Will others have a chance to review and comment on the new policies and procedures resource?

Yes, the workgroup will seek input from campus through an open forum near completion of the project. When the date, time, and location for this forum is known, it will be posted on this website and advertised in GradConnections Weekly and Working at UW.


Draft documents


Campus feedback

Open forums have been scheduled to gather input on graduate assistantship policy draft:

  • Wed., October 25 at 6pm, 1106 Mechanical Engineering
  • Fri., October 27 at 11:30am, 260 Bascom

In addition to open forums, feedback may be submitted in the form below.

Feedback, questions or accessibility issues:
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