Graduate Student Instructors and Graduate Student Staff Assistants Appointment Guide

The terms and conditions of employment of Graduate Student Instructors (GSI’s) and Graduate Student Staff Assistants (GSSA’s) at Michigan are subject to the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement (contract) between the University of Michigan and the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO)*.

This guide is intended to assist academic departments and supervisors, however the UM-GEO Agreement itself remains the definitive source of information about the terms and conditions of employment for GSI and GSSA appointees.

Under terms of that contract, the GEO union distributes printed copies of the agreement to new GSI’s and GSSA’s. Copies of the 2013-2017 Agreement will be available for academic departments and supervisors from Academic Human Resources. Contact us to request a copy.

For additional information about administration of the GEO contract contact Academic Human Resources or call (734) 763-8938.

If you are a GSI or GSSA you can also contact the Graduate Employees’ Organization (734) 995-0221.

*Note that graduate students performing research activities can be appointed as Graduate Student Research Assistants. The terms and conditions of GSRA appointments are not subject to the collective bargaining agreement with GEO. Attachment Faculty/Supervisors' Guide to the Appointments of Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) and Graduate Student Staff Assistants (GSSAs) September, 2013

Key Points for Graduate Student Instructors and Graduate Student Staff Assistants Appointments

  1. Labor Contract: The hours, wages and all working conditions of employment for Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) and Graduate Student Staff Assistants (GSSAs) , are governed by the March 26, 2013, Agreement between the University of Michigan and Graduate Employees’ Organization. Some key provisions of that agreement are outlined below.

  2. Posting (Art. IX): Units that customarily employ only their own students should establish a system whereby eligible graduate students are able to locate information relevant to GSI/GSSA appointments. Units that customarily employ GSI’s or GSSA’s from outside of their own academic units must also list information regarding such opportunities via the University’s job posting website at:

    Appointing units should also assure that information about their posting practices is included on their departmental web site.

  3. Fraction Calculations (Art. X, Sec. D): Effective 9/1/2013, the .65 fraction is reintroduced to the fraction calculation table located in Article X section d. of the contract. This change is also reflected in a revised fraction calculation form. Both GSI’s and faculty supervisors should receive a copy of the GSI's fraction calculation form (#30010). Faculty supervisors should not authorize increased work expectations beyond those indicated on the form. If a GSI or GSSA believes their appointment fraction is too low, the grievance begins at Step I (faculty supervisor) within twenty (20) days following reasonable knowledge of the concern.

  4. Enrollment Requirements (Art. VIII): To be appointed as a GSI or GSSA, a graduate student must be in good standing in their degree program and for Terms I and II, must be registered for not less than six (6) credit hours. With written approval of the student's faculty advisor, five (5) credit hours may be acceptable.

  5. Class Size (Art. XVII): Each department should have a class size policy for classes to which GSIs are assigned and the policy should be provided to an Employee upon request. No GSI shall be required to accept enrollees in excess of the maximum class or section size. Should a GSI wish to add enrollees beyond the established maximum, there will be no presumption of a change in appointment fraction.

  6. Employee Rights: (Art. XXI) Employing departments must provide resources (e.g. telephone and computer access, desk surface, etc.) as necessary for the fulfillment of the Employee's assigned work obligations. Note that this also includes printing and photocopying privileges.

  7. Grievances (Art. XIV): The first step of the grievance procedure is a meeting between a supervising faculty member and an individual GSI or GSSA. The topic of the meeting may be one or more areas of the contract including wages, hours or working conditions. The goal of the meeting is to resolve the concern of the GSI or GSSA, if possible. Contact your Department/Program Chair or Dean’s Office.

  8. Termination: (Art. VIII & IX) Prior to termination or reduction of duties, the matter should first be discussed with the Employee. Retracting a position after an offer has been accepted by a GSA requires that they be provided with the compensation they would have received during employment. Termination of GSI or GSSA is a serious action and should not be undertaken without consultation with your Department/Program Chair and Dean’s Office.

  9. Parental Accommodation Period, Medical Leave, Jury Duty/Immigration Hearings and Bereavement Leave Pay (Art. XIII): Units are responsible for locating temporary replacements for individuals who are absent consistent with the provisions of this article. However, an involved Employee should make reasonable efforts to assist in arrangements for another to meet his or her employment obligations. GSI’s who are assigned by a department as substitutes for absent GSI’s will be compensated by the department at a rate of $26.83/hr.

  10. Disability Accomodation  (Art. XXII): Employing departments are required to provide reasonable accommodations to known disabilities of otherwise qualified employees. The University has designated the Rackham Graduate School as the central office for responding to requests for accommodations from employees with disabilities and each employing unit will also have an administrative designee to facilitate this process locally.

For additional information about administration of the GEO contract contact Academic Human Resources or call (734)763-8938.