Graduate Student jobs at UM are referred to as “appointments.” Your pay and hourly work expectation are set by your “appointment fraction,” which is also sometimes referred to as your Full Time Equivalency (FTE). Below is a chart of the various appointment fractions along with the hours expectation per term and per week.

Average Weekly Work Expectation Employment Fraction
Up to 3.49 0.087
3.5 to 5.49 0.137
5.5 to 7.49 0.187
7.5 to 9.49 0.237
9.5 to 12.49 0.25
12.5 to 14.49 0.3
14.5 to 16.49 0.35
16.5 to 20.00 0.5
20.01 to 25.49 0.6
25.5 to 30.49 0.65
30.5 to 35.49 0.75
35.5 or more 1

Please note that the weekly expectation is based on a 17-week employment period which includes finals weeks, going beyond the 14-15 weeks in which classes are in session.

Each department is required to provide every GSI and GSSA with a “Fraction Calculation Worksheet.” This document outlines the tasks that the GSI is expected to perform and includes an estimate of how much time each task will take. When you receive a fraction calculation worksheet you should review it with your supervisor and confirm that all of the time estimates sound reasonable. Download a blank Fraction Calculation Worksheet to make your own estimates.

Many GSIs are assigned workloads that require them to work more hours than the University has committed to pay for. When that happens, GSIs must either contribute unpaid labor to UM’s educational project or parts of that project remain undone for want of time. By keeping track of your labor, you can ensure that you are paid for the work you do.

When a department makes GSI appointments, the appointment fraction represents the department’s best guess as to how much time it will take to accomplish the tasks required by the job. Most departments understand that undergraduate students will receive better instruction if GSIs aren’t stretched too thin, and those departments really do attempt to estimate as accurately as possible. However, only the GSI can really know how much work the job requires.

GEO believes that all GSIs should receive fair compensation for their work. In order to ensure that the contract is enforced, we all need to track our hours. Tracking the hours you spend working helps you get paid for the amount of work you do and helps other graduate students by making future courses more manageable to teach.  When GSIs consistently work over their hours, they are entitled to have their fraction increased, receive back pay, and/or have the course redesigned.  

Resources for Hours Tracking

Phone apps

What type of work should I be tracking?

If you only count the time teaching in the classroom, you might think that you are working far less than your fraction allotment. However, GSI work goes beyond the classroom and it all counts when tracking your hours. Your tasks will vary depending on your department and your appointment, but here are some common tasks that also count as part of your job as a GSI:

  • Office hours: If you are expected to be available to your students at a given time, even if no one attends, this counts as work
  • Prep time: Include time spent doing readings, preparing quizzes and tests, and lesson planning
  • Grading
  • Reading and replying to student emails
  • Attending lectures: If your professor requires that you attend lectures in addition to your own section, be sure to include this time
  • Meeting with the course coordinator or professor
  • Extra meetings with students (even if it’s just five minutes in the hall after class)
  • Running review sessions
  • Proctoring exams and tests
  • Setting up and cleaning up after labs

Your job may not involve all these things, or it may include many others. If you take careful note for a few weeks of all the tasks you do for your GSI position, logging your hours will become much easier. A good rule of thumb is that you can track any work you do for your job that you wouldn’t do if you were not a GSI.

Many grad employees find that meeting with supervisors early in the term to discuss expectations is the best way to avoid misunderstandings about the nature of the work.