Working as a Writing Intern

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 taken by 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 writing 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 are as follows:

  • 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. Each group meets for three 80-minute seminars per quarter.
  • 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, but is not respon)sible for all grading.
  • 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.

When and how often do interns work? How much are they paid?

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.

Writing Interns are compensated $3,000 per section. Some advanced PhD students may be eligible for a higher salary as determined by their Dean of Students office.

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 discussion and one lecture per week) and Summer quarter (as a 6-week course that meets in two discussions 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. In addition, some PhD students in the Humanities may be eligible for a pedagogical training stipend; please see the Humanities Division website or Dean of Student’s office for details.

What kinds of courses are available in the Humanities Core?

The HUMA 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 course descriptions of the Humanities Core sequences, see the College Catalog.