Teaching fellow

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A teaching fellow (sometimes referred to as a TF) is a particular teaching role at some universities.

United States[edit]

In the U.S. a teaching fellow is an advanced graduate student who serves as the primary instructor for an undergraduate course. Known as teaching fellows at many universities, such as Harvard University, Boston College and Boston University, they are also referred to as 'graduate student instructors' (GSIs) at some other universities, such as the University of Michigan and the University of California system. Typically, TFs teach courses in their area of research specialty, in which they hold a master's degree or equivalent. Teaching fellows differ from teaching assistants in that they are responsible for all aspects of the course, including lecture, whereas TAs assist the instructor by performing ancillary course-related tasks such as grading and holding discussion section or laboratory. Many (about two-thirds) of the graduate students who have served as TAs serve as a TF for one or more classes each semester.[1][2] Although TFs are fairly autonomous in their duties, many universities, such as the University of Pittsburgh, require supervision of TFs by professors experienced in teaching the course content, with whom TFs must hold regular meetings and receive feedback about the quality of their teaching. As a rule, TFs receive a higher stipend than TAs in accordance with the greater responsibility and time commitment of a teaching fellowship, but like TAs, their contracts are renewed on a semester-by-semester basis, and they cannot be granted tenure.

United Kingdom[edit]

In the UK, teaching fellows are more commonly full members of academic staff who have the equivalent rank and pay as 'traditional' research-active academic staff. This equivalence in rank and status is relatively new in some institutions, since teaching fellows in the past were sometimes paid at a grade lower than their research-active colleagues. Institutions such as UCL as well as The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and the universities of Aberdeen, Stirling, Bristol and Manchester all employ academics known as teaching fellows. Thus, a senior teaching fellow may have the same salary, status and responsibilities as a senior lecturer. Teaching fellows in institutions such as the University of Aberdeen may also potentially reach the rank of professor. These teaching fellows undertake the full range of teaching, pastoral and administrative duties, but are often not required to undertake any research activity (though some may choose to). Other UK institutions may use the title of teaching fellow as an additional accolade, awarded to a member of academic staff who has shown excellence in teaching.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Butler, D.D.; J.F. Laumer Jr. & M. Moore (1993). "A content analysis of pedagogical and policy information used in training graduate teaching assistants". Journal for Higher Education Management, 9 1: 27–37. 
  2. ^ Gray, P.L.; N. Buerkel-Rothfuss (1991). "Teaching assistant training: A view from the trenches". In J. D. Nyquist, R. D. Abbott, D. H. Wulff, & J. Sprague (Eds.). Preparing the professorate of tomorrow to teach. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt. pp. 40–51.