High standards of English language proficiency are required for nonnative English speaking graduate and undergraduate students who are appointed to teaching assistant (TA) positions.
All nonnative English speaking graduate and undergraduate Teaching Assistants (TAs) will demonstrate proficiency in spoken English appropriate to the demands of their teaching assistantship. Appendix: English Language Proficiency Requirements provides language eligibility requirements applied to different teaching assistant responsibilities. Proficiency is assessed in one of the following ways:
- English Language Proficiency (ELP) rating earned through coursework with the Center for Educational Innovation (CEI);
- Speaking section of TOEFL iBT (internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language).
- SETTA (Spoken English Test for Teaching Assistants) test (TC campus) or alternative test chosen by system campuses.
This policy governs all TA appointments (Job codes 9511, 9512, 9513, 9515, 9517, 9518, 9519, 9571, 9574, and 9575) held by nonnative English speaking graduate and undergraduate students.
All other graduate and undergraduate assistant appointments are excluded from coverage under this policy.
Proficiency levels and required scores for various types and levels of TA duties are found in Appendix: English Language Proficiency Requirements.
Departments may submit a request for exceptions to the Assistant Director of the Center for Educational Innovation for consideration and approval.
Reason for Policy
In support of high quality undergraduate education, the University requires of its nonnative speakers of English employed as TAs evidence of English language proficiency. This policy also serves as a response to a request, to ensure that classroom TAs for whom English is a second language are proficient in speaking, reading, and writing English, from the Minnesota Legislature in their 1985 First Special Session Laws/ Chapter 11, Section 7 subdivision b.
This requirement engenders continuing cooperation of each academic department in maintaining high standards of English language communication skills for all nonnative speakers of English who provide instruction at the University of Minnesota (University).