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Graduate Teaching Associates

We take pride in the extensive training of our Graduate Teaching Associates. We have a robust GTA program, with more than ten graduate students currently teaching as part of their graduate studies in the Department of Communication.

student teachers

Get to know your GTAs!

Each year we have incredibly talented individuals attending the MA program while also offering sections of our Comm120 class, a requirement for all CSUSB students to graduate and considered one of our "golden four" courses leading to student success rates.

The Graduate Teaching Associateship offers a select group of students a chance to work in their chosen field of communication while obtaining an advanced degree, affords meaningful time in the classroom not just as an assistant but as the instructor of the course, and provides a link to greater professional or academic futures after degree completion. Many times, GTAs take on additional research studies or presentations surrounding the work they are doing in the classroom helping to develop themselves not only as instructors but also as researchers and academics.

This is an opportunity that includes a modest stipend and offered to a select group of MA students and is one of many things that makes our MA program unique because GTA positions are not offered everywhere.

We encourage you to get to know your GTAs and talk with them about the work that they do and what they love about it. They will open up and tell you!

More Information and program details

Contact a GTA:

View our faculty page...

Contact the GTA coordinator:

Ja Anna Grant


How do I get involved?

The teaching associateship program in the Communication Studies graduate program is an excellent opportunity for graduate students to learn how to teach the basic Oral Communication course. Graduate students who are interested in a career in teaching or plan on continuing their Ph.D. studies will find the graduate teaching assistantship program to be most beneficial in both of these areas. Graduate teaching assistants/associates (GTAs) independently teach one or two sections of Public Speaking under the supervision and training of the GTA Coordinator. The program seeks the very best students who are mature, responsible, dedicated, and intelligent to teach and work with college students. Therefore, the graduate teaching assistantship positions are competitive.  


Application for the teaching assistantship/associateship program is once a year and candidates are interviewed late Spring quarter. A modest stipend is included. GTAs are required to register for Communication Studies 689 (1 unit) every quarter they are teaching; however, only three units of 689 will count towards a student’s Plan of Study. Training begins in September, a few weeks prior to the beginning of the academic year. Graduate teaching assistants/associates are hired on a quarterly basis and may teach up to six quarters, if in good standing. Extensions may be granted with the permission of the Graduate Committee to students working on theses/projects with the intention of applying to Ph.D. programs.

For further information and/or if you are interested in applying for a position, please contact the Graduate Coordinator or the GTA Coordinator. Responsibilities, application procedures, and selection criteria:


  • Attend workshop sessions during the summer, prior to the fall quarter.
  • Register for COMM 689 each quarter.
  • Receive written and oral feedback from the GTA Coordinator.
  • Attend every class session for assigned class.
  • Read all required materials.
  • Lecture, discuss, conduct pedagogical activities, etc. to teach the topics from the selected textbook.
  • Grade all speeches, exams, quizzes, homework assignments, etc.
  • Take roll every day in class. Administer SOTEs following the proscribed procedure.
  • Enroll in Communication Studies graduate courses full time, or register for thesis, project, or comprehensive exams.
  • Make progress in the graduate program. Progress includes completing the degree in a timely manner such as being a full-time student in the program, completing a Committee Designation Form, completing a Plan of Study form, maintaining a 3.0 or better GPA in the program, or working towards completing a thesis or project. 

Application Process:

Every spring quarter, the Graduate or GTA Coordinator will send an email call to current graduate students and eligible graduate students who were accepted into the program but have not yet begun the program. Interested graduate students must submit an application to the Graduate or GTA Coordinator no later than the deadline posted by the Department of Communication Studies. The application includes a vita, or resume, and a statement of intent outlining qualifications (no more than one page). Returning GTAs need only submit a statement of intent (no more than one paragraph).


To be eligible, applicants must be graduate students in the Communication Studies program, or recently accepted graduate students in the Communication Studies program. Further, students must have completed the 12 units of pre-requisite communication coursework for the graduate program, must meet the minimum GPA of 3.0 or more overall, or in the last 90 quarter units, and must meet the minimum TOEFL requirement for the program (230/575/89) if required of them. Applicants must be classified graduate students, or conditionally classified graduate students, provided they have already completed their 12 prerequisite units in Communication. Also, prior to beginning the teaching associate position, graduate students must participate in the department’s shadow program and/or a community college internship program approved by the CSUSB Department of Communication Studies’ Graduate Coordinator. 

Criteria for Selection:

The following criteria will be considered when selecting the department teaching associates:
  1. Based upon the number of applicants, the number of graduate teaching associate positions available, the budget, and the quality of the applications, a short list will be created by the department graduate Committee. 
  2. Short list applicants will be invited for an interview in May.
  3. The interview will include the graduate Committee members and any tenure track faculty, or lecturers, in the Department of Communication Studies
  4. After the interviews are completed, each faculty member will individually rank each interviewee. The Graduate or GTA Coordinator will tally the rankings and develop a list in order of preference. This list is shared with the department Chair, GTA Coordinator, and Graduate Coordinator.
  5. Offers will be made by the department Chair in the order presented. GTA positions will be filled based on department needs and budget.

Criteria for Multiple Sections:

Based upon the budget and departmental need, graduate teaching associates may teach one additional section during any given quarter if the GTA meets the following criteria:
  1. The graduate student must have completed a minimum of three quarters as a teaching associate.
  2. The GTA must submit a written request for an additional course section.
  3. The GTA must be in good standing in the graduate program. 
  4. The GTA must be making progress in the graduate program (see above). 
  5. The GTA must maintain stellar SOTEs.
  6. The department Chair will seek a recommendation from the GTA Coordinator.
  7. Final determination will be made in a consultation between the department Chair, the GTA Coordinator, and Graduate Coordinator.


The shadow program allows graduate students or graduating seniors to be introduced to what it is like to teach a college course.  Shadows are assigned a faculty mentor and a class section to work with for an entire quarter.   Shadows or interns must register for COMM 697 (2 units which do not count on a Plan of Study) and are responsible for attending all class sessions, meeting with their faculty mentor outside of class time, presenting between one to three classroom lectures, and other assignments.  Mentors provide rationale for teaching techniques, guidance on grading speeches and assignments, and feedback on performance to their shadows.  Shadows may separately grade student assignments as a learning exercise. Shadows' grades cannot affect the grades of the students in the class they are observing. Students typically shadow for at least one quarter before they become teaching assistants/associates, but applying for the teaching assistant program is not required. If you are interested in participating in the shadow program, contact the Graduate Coordinator or the GTA Coordinator.