Teaching Positions for Graduate Students

Because our courses are geared to writers in many different disciplines and professions, we seek to employ UChicago graduate students from as many fields as possible: humanities, social sciences, and the sciences.

2020-21 SPRING APPLICATION ROUND NOW OPEN

Graduate students may click here to apply to be a Writing Intern, Lector, and/or Writing Tutor. Applications and letters of recommendation are due *Monday, May 4th, 2020* at 5pm. Please read below for more information on each position, or attend one of our upcoming information sessions.

Writing Interns in the Humanities Core

A Writing Intern is a graduate student who provides writing instruction in HUMA 19100: Humanities Writing Seminars, the mandatory writing component for the Humanities Core course sequences required for all first-year students in the College.

Who is eligible to be a Writing Intern?

Graduate students from ALL divisions and schools are eligible — and eagerly sought — for this position. Here’s why: Writing Interns provide writing instruction to all College first-years regardless of their major. While our institutional home base for teaching these students is the Humanities Core, our goal is to give all students in the College a foundation of clear, reader-oriented writing techniques that they can use in whatever fields they choose to pursue.

At this time, we do not hire non-University of Chicago grad students. However, writing interns who graduate may still be eligible to continue interning on a limited basis.

What do interns do?

Each intern is assigned to a Humanities Common Core section of no more than 19 first-year students. The course is taught by a University of Chicago faculty member. The writing intern’s responsibilities fall into four categories:

  • The intern divides the class into groups of of no more than 7 students each. For each group, the intern leads a sequence of writing seminars that teach advanced academic writing, using as sample texts the papers that students write for the Humanities Core course. Typically, each of the seminar groups meets for 3 sessions per quarter of 80 minutes each.
  • The intern writes detailed paper comments on student papers or drafts, focused on reinforcing academic writing principles. The intern may help the faculty member grade papers.
  • The intern attends the Humanities Core discussion (typically twice weekly for 80 minutes) and keeps up with the class readings (books are provided).
  • If both the intern and the faculty member agree, the intern may teach one or two of the regular classes in the Core course.

It may also be useful to know two things that are explicitly not part of the intern’s job description: First, the intern is not responsible for doing all of the grading and paper commenting. This responsibility is shared by the intern and the faculty member. Second, the intern is not responsible for taking over the class if the faculty member needs to leave the course for a significant period due to an extended illness or some other long-term commitment.

When and how often do interns work?

Writing interns are appointed quarterly. In Autumn and Winter, the College regularly offers over 100 sections of the Humanities Core, which means we need many interns to teach the writing component for each of them. In Spring, there are about 1/3 as many sections available for interns. We like when interns can work in both Autumn and Winter for continuity’s sake, since students typically remain in the same section across quarters, but it is not required. Intern positions are renewable indefinitely pending successful job performance (based on evaluations as well as supervision). Prior to each quarter, we send all hired, trained staff a work survey to ask whether you’d like to teach in the upcoming term.

What kind of training is required?

One quarter of training in HUMA 50000: Pedagogies of Writing, offered Spring quarter (as a 10-week course that meets in one small-group seminar and one lecture per week) and Summer quarter (as a 6-week course that meets in two small-group seminars and two shorter lectures per week). The training course is unpaid, but trainees may choose to either take it for credit or to take it unofficially so as to avoid tuition charges, depending on their funding status.

What kinds of courses are available in the Humanities Core?

The Core sequences differ greatly in the kinds of material they cover and in the way they teach that material. Many focus on literary or philosophical texts from various traditions and canons; others may incorporate more contemporary sources; all work to establish methods for appreciating and analyzing the meaning and power of humanistic texts. Writing Interns need not be experts in any particular subject area or topic in order to provide writing instruction in a particular Core sequence. We do ask for your course and time preferences each quarter you are available to teach.

For a list and course descriptions of the Core sequences, see the College Catalog.

Lectors in Academic and Professional Writing

A lector is a graduate student who provides writing instruction in ENGL 13000/33000: Academic and Professional Writing—a.k.a. the “Little Red Schoolhouse,” our flagship advanced writing course for upper-year undergraduates and graduate students.

Who is eligible to lector?

Graduate students from ALL divisions and schools are eligible — and eagerly sought — for this position. Here’s why: LRS is geared toward 3rd- and 4th-year undergraduates of ALL major fields with a variety of professional goals, as well as graduate students in all divisions and professional schools. And the course attracts all of them, quarter after quarter. Our goal is to give all writers the principles of clear, reader-oriented writing that they can use in whatever fields they pursue. LRS small-group seminars, which are led by lectors, typically include students from a wide variety of fields (from philosophy to econ to bio to math) by design, because we believe this actually serves our pedagogical goals best. We’ve had lectors from Divinity, Anthropology, Comparative Human Development, Chemistry, all with great success.

 

What do lectors do?

Lectors meet with approximately 7 students once a week in an 80-minute discussion section, or “seminar.” Students write a short paper each week, read each other’s work, and discuss them in the seminar. Lectors read the student’s papers, lead the seminar discussion, and write extensive critiques on the papers each week to reinforce the writing principles at work. Lectors also attend the weekly lecture that the students attend.

All Lectors start out leading seminars at the undergraduate level. Once they have had success there, they become eligible for to teach in the graduate sections of LRS. Lectors may also teach writing to first-years as a Humanities Writing Intern without taking an additional training course.

The LRS approach to writing is “reader-based,” which means that we teach students how to anticipate readers’ responses to their prose and how to tailor their prose to meet readers’ expectations. What kinds of readers? We’re geared to helping writers reach the academic and professional readers that they’ll be addressing in academia or in their professions after college. To do this, we teach principles of clear writing that build upon one another: we start with clear sentences, move on to paragraphs, and conclude at the level of the text as a whole.

When and how often do lectors work?

Lectors are appointed quarterly, and LRS is offered every quarter of the academic year. In Winter and Spring, the course is offered for both graduates and undergraduates, so more sections are available. In Summer, fewer sections are offered, and in Autumn, only graduate students may register, which also reduces the number of available sections. Since trained lectors are eligible to work as Writing Interns, we encourage them to consider doing so in the Autumn, when there are fewer LRS sections but many Humanities Core sections available.

Once you’ve been accepted and completed training, your position will be renewable indefinitely pending satisfactory job performance, as well as pending section availability. We send out a work survey before each academic quarter asking if you are available to teach, until you tell us otherwise.

 

What kind of training is required?

One quarter of training in ENGL 50300: Principles of Teaching Writing, offered each Autumn quarter as a 10-week course that typically meets on Monday afternoons for both a small-group seminar and plenary lecture. The training course is unpaid, but trainees may choose to either take it for credit or to take it unofficially so as to avoid tuition chargers, depending on their funding status.

College Core Writing Tutors

Writing Tutors teach writing on a one-on-one basis, using our writing principles to guide students using non-directive pedagogical methods. Tutors work with undergrads on course papers in order to help improve students’ overall skills in academic argumentation and structure. The Writing Tutors are open to all undergraduates, but prioritize students writing for their Core courses. Students may schedule appointments in advance or drop in to wait for the next available tutor.

Who is eligible to tutor?

As with our other grad student positions, grad students from ALL divisions and schools are eligible to work as writing tutors. Applicants may either be hired and trained specifically as writing tutor, or they may be hired primarily as a writing intern or lector, which additionally qualifies them to tutor if desired.

When and how often do tutors work?

Writing tutors are appointed quarterly. Rather than working within a course, writing tutors instead are available in weekly four-hour shifts in the North Reading Room of the Cathey Learning Center (accessed via the 3rd floor of Harper Memorial Library). We offer evening shifts Sunday-Thursday nights, as well as a few weekday shifts. The Core Writing Tutor program is open from Week 2 through the end of finals week in Autumn, Winter, and Spring. Tutors may work one or more shifts per week, depending on their availability and on student demand.

Once you’ve been accepted and completed training, your position will be renewable indefinitely pending satisfactory job performance, as well as pending shift availability. We send out a work survey before each academic quarter asking if you are available to teach, until you tell us otherwise. Tutors may also become eligible to teach writing to first-years as a Writing Intern without further training.

What kinds of things do writing tutors do?
  • Brainstorm on how to get started on a paper or how to best approach a paper assignment or prompt, particularly in terms of how to construct an argument.
  • Read a full or partial draft of a paper and comment on its overall argumentation. This kind of comment can include, but is not limited to, logical flow of argument, effective uses of quotes and other types of evidence, persuasive placement of points, etc.
  • Read a full or partial draft of a paper and comment on its organization, both globally and at the paragraph level.
  • Spot patterns of grammatical errors in a student’s prose and teach the student how to identify and correct these patterns.
  • Make suggestions for how to revise a paper for greater coherence, clarity, and persuasiveness of argument.
What kind of training is required?

One quarter of training in HUMA 50000: Pedagogies of Writing, offered Spring quarter (as a 10-week course that meets in one small-group seminar and one lecture per week) and Summer quarter (as a 6-week course that meets in two small-group seminars and two shorter lectures per week). The training course is unpaid, but trainees may choose to either take it for credit or to take it unofficially so as to avoid tuition charges, depending on their funding status.