The University of North Texas, like most research universities, relies on a range of teaching personnel to teach courses; including Teaching Assistants (TAs), Teaching Fellows (TFs), lecturers, and professors. Because of this variety in teaching personnel, it is common practice in CLEAR to refer to all teaching personnel broadly as instructor. To learn more about the different distinctions among UNT instructors, read below.
A teaching assistant (TA) is a graduate student who assists a faculty member in a class or laboratory, but does not have total instructional responsibility for the class. TAs working during a long semester must be enrolled as students; specific guidelines are available in the Policy Manual (Chapter 6, Policy 06.020 ). To qualify for reappointment as a TA, a graduate student must demonstrate competence and responsibility in carrying out TA duties, maintain high academic standards (usually a minimum 3.0 GPA), and continue to make satisfactory progress toward degree completion.
A teaching fellow (TF) is a graduate student who assumes total responsibility for instruction in one or more classes. The TF is the instructor of record and is responsible for assigning grades. TFs working during a long semester must be enrolled as students; specific guidelines are available in the Policy Manual (Chapter 6, Policy 06.020). To qualify for reappointment as a teaching fellow, a graduate student must demonstrate effective teaching skills, maintain high academic standards (usually a minimum 3.0 GPA), and continue to make satisfactory progress toward degree completion.
English Language Certification for International TFs
The International TA/TF certification program (sponsored by UNT's Intensive English Language Insitute [IELI]) is designed to measure the candidate’s effectiveness in spoken English and provide training and assistance tailored to individual needs. For more information, please contact InternationalTA@unt.edu.
For advice on the International TA/TF Program and the Intensive English Language Institute, read this Teaching Commons article, "Tips for Communicating with Students for International Instructors."
Adjunct instructors are faculty members who have been appointed on a temporary, semester-by - semester basis to teach specific courses. Adjunct instructors must meet the faculty qualifications established by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Adjuncts serve as instructors of record in the courses they teach, and they may not be enrolled as UNT students. Reappointment decisions are often based on departmental resources and demand for specific courses.
Lecturers are generally full-time teaching personnel working on a one- or multi-year contract with UNT. They may be promoted (from lecturer to senior lecturer to principal lecturer), but they are not eligible for tenure.
Professors are full-time employees of UNT who are either working toward tenure (assistant professors or associate professors hired without tenure) or have tenure (associate and full professors). Professors generally have responsibility for teaching, research, and university service.