Starting in the spring 2022 semester, a business school course will begin paying teaching assistants.
BMGT367, or Career Search Strategies in Business, is a required one credit course for business school students run by the school’s career services office and taught by industry recruiters. It is designed to teach and refine students’ job search skills as they seek internships and employment after college.
“There was a lot of very good conversations in the school about equity of opportunity,” said Neta Moye, executive director of the career services office. “Could we be preventing some students from stepping up to take advantage of this opportunity because to do this they would be forgoing paid work.”
Gregory Muraski, a spokesperson for the business school, wrote in an email that TAs were previously only eligible for college credit.
TAs will be paid a one-time $500 stipend during the spring. In the fall 2022 semester, the pay scheme will transition to a regular pay schedule after it is written into the academic year’s budget, Moye said.
“We want to be as fair as possible,” Moye said. “This is our stopgap.”
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Michael Poerksen, an adjunct professor who has taught BMGT367 for 10 years, called the course the survival skills needed for landing an internship or job. He said TAs are the “administrative glue” that bonds the students to the professor.
“I think the pay will probably have more people apply to become a TA. And so, if you have more people applying, ultimately you have a stronger pool of applicants,” Poerksen said. “That would just continue to elevate the game of the TAs.”
Courtney Bigger, the business school’s associate director of undergraduate programming, said the interview pool for the TA positions have increased with the announcement. Eight sections of the class are taught in the fall and 17 in the spring. During the fall 2020 semester when the majority of classes were online, senior Andrew Sherinsky worked as a TA for Poerksen’s BMGT367 section.
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Sherinsky was a junior at the time and the TAs were not paid. He said that as it was his first and only TA position, he was doing it for the leadership experience, since recruiters like to see that on resumes.
“But when I heard that all the other TAs … were getting paid, it was kind of like ‘Oh, this sucks,’” said the finance and operations management and business analytics major. “But I understood. It was a one credit class — the workload was way less than a three-credit TA.”
Sherinsky thinks because of the new pay incentive there might be more pressure for TAs to be more involved in the course. While he was very hands-on, Sherinsky said every professor teaches the course differently and utilizes their TAs to different degrees.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw TAs with having a slightly higher workload now that they’re being compensated,” he said. “It’ll be good for the program all around, maybe get some more competent, higher quality TAs in and make the class more engaging.”