University of Minnesota  Procedure

Handling Graduate Assistant Performance Issues


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Please use the contact section in the governing policy.

Graduate Assistant Employment and Services, with the assistance of the Office of the General Counsel, has prepared the following guidelines for dealing with substandard performance of graduate assistants which may lead to termination of an appointment.

  • All graduate students hired into an assistantship should be provided with an appointment letter specifying the date(s) of appointment, performance expectations, registration requirements, etc.
  • Substandard performance must be well documented and files relating to the substandard performance must be kept in the departmental office.
  • The faculty member or academic administrator responsible for supervising the Graduate Assistant (GA) should have substantive evidence that the performance is deficient.
  • The faculty member or academic administrator should meet with the individual to discuss the perceived deficiencies. At that time the GA should be provided with specific objectives which will help the individual meet the performance level expected in the position. The GA should be informed of the needed improvements to be made within a particular period of time. There is no set time limitation in the case of substandard performance; however, a two-to-three week conditional period is suggested as an appropriate period of time for an individual to improve performance. The GA should also be informed that failure to improve performance level might result in termination of the appointment.
  • After this meeting, the faculty member or academic administrator should provide the GA with a written account of the meeting. The follow-up correspondence should include the date, time, and place of the meeting; the deficiencies as stated in the meeting; and the student's response. During the conditional period for improvement, the faculty member or administrator should be available for advice and guidance to help the GA raise their level of performance to the acceptable standard.
  • If the faculty member or academic administrator concludes that the GA did not meet the objectives for improving performance, the individual may be terminated. Notice of termination must be sent to the GA in writing.
  • In cases of gross error of judgment, violation of University of Minnesota policies including falsification in the application process, and/or criminal behavior, the faculty member or academic administrator may terminate the GA immediately, providing the GA first has been given an opportunity to respond to the charges.