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Graduate Student Instructor

Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) at the University of Michigan are considered members of the community of scholars.

Graduate Student Instructor Overview

GSIs contribute to our teaching enterprise by working as partners with the faculty members who develop and supervise course offerings. Graduate Student Instructors (GSI) are a very important part of our professional programs. Not only are they responsible for providing classroom or studio instruction in collaboration with one of our faculty members, they also become mentors, advisors, and friends to many students. Being a GSI at Taubman College is an opportunity to learn the subject that they teach thoroughly and also learn about teaching. Indeed, many students discover the rewards of teaching through being a GSI and go on to academic careers.

All Taubman College graduate students are eligible for GSI positions and typically hold those offered within their field of study. The number of positions that is available depends on the program's teaching needs for the particular term. Each GSI appointment provides a full tuition waiver (for any appointment greater than 20%), monthly stipend, and health benefits during the term of appointment.

Please note that only students currently enrolled at Taubman College are eligible to apply to become a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) in Taubman College. These positions, as posted, are subjected to a collective bargaining agreement between the Regents of the University of Michigan and the Graduate Employees' Organization, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO 3550.

Only students who have satisfactory academic performance are eligible for a GSI position. Satisfactory academic progress is defined as:

  • a 3.0  GPA or above
  • no more than one outstanding incomplete
  • progress toward degree at the rate of 9 or more credits per semester

Do not apply to GSI for a course that meets at the same time as a course you will be enrolled in.

All positions require that you submit a cover letter and a resume combined into a single PDF file.

The cover letter header must include:

  • name
  • program (MUP, M.Arch, PhD)
  • expected date of graduation (MM/YYYY)
  • Umich email address
  • Student ID #
  • Position(s) you are applying for, listed in ranked order of preference from highest to lowest.

The percentage of effort for each position is outlined in the fraction calculation when the position is offered.  GSI and Faculty should check in regularly to ensure that the outline on the fraction calculation accurately reflects the effort.

All Graduate students of Taubman College are eligible to apply for GSI positions but each program hires students from within their field.

Dual-degree students must take 75% of their course work in the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and must be enrolled for at least 6 credit hours in the term they hold a GSI position.

Architecture applicants will be reviewed by the faculty noted on the job description; in cases where the faculty is TBA the chair will review applications in consultation with faculty who teach in that subject area.  Urban and Regional Planning applicants will be reviewed by the chair. They will review the cover letter and resume submitted as part of the application. Selection criteria will include:

  • Relevant academic experience
  • Academic Standing of 3.0 or more
  • Professional and well thought out cover letter stating specific skills, and resume indicating the use of those skills. If the applicant has made email or in-person contact with the faculty member or chair about the GSI position, those communications can be considered as representative of the applicant’s communication style
  • Individual faculty may choose to conduct interviews with qualified applicants

After review of the architecture applicants, faculty will rank up to four candidates for each GSI position.  In addition to selecting their top applicants, faculty can list those applicants whose qualifications are not sufficient to serve as a GSI in the course.

In both programs the chair will be responsible for matching faculty and student preferences for final GSI assignments. 

The percentage of effort for each position is detailed in the posting. Should enrollment warrant, and the GSI agree, an increase in percentage is possible. GSI and Faculty should check in regularly to ensure that the outline on the fraction calculation accurately reflects the effort. Unsuccessful applications will be retained for consideration in the event that there are last minute openings for available positions. In the event that an Employee does not receive his or her preferred assignment, he or she can request a written explanation or an in-person interview with the hiring agent(s) to be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time.

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. The University will not discriminate against any applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, marital status, familial status, parental status or pregnancy status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, height, weight, disability, citizenship status, veteran status, HIV antibody status, political belief, membership in any social or political organization, participation in a grievance or complaint whether formal or informal, or any other factor where the item in question will not interfere with job performance and where the employee is otherwise qualified. The University of Michigan agrees to abide by the protections afforded employees with disabilities as outlined in the rules and regulations, which implement Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.” 


Winter 2019 GSI Positions

Job Opening ID #165128

Posting dates are 11/12/2018 to 11/26/2018

Working Title
Architecture Graduate Student Instructor at Taubman College

Apply here

Arch 201 — Basic Drawing

Faculty: Melissa Harris
Positions:  Up to 1
Appointment:  23.7%

A freehand studio drawing course limited to pencil and pen, this introductory class concentrates upon seeing, describing, and analyzing form through linear graphic means. Though intended primarily for students considering a design-related career, it is open to students from any discipline wishing to improve their visual literacy. The first half of the course - unbiased toward a particular art - focuses upon understanding the role of line in creating form. Principles of orthographic and perspective projection are introduced in the second half of the semester.

GSI Responsibilities: The GSI participates in the cultivation of student's visual literacy and prepares them for future learning in the design realm, particularly for those interested in the field of Architecture. They will actively participate in the student's understanding of the material taught during class and provide critical response to the work. The GSIs collaboratively grade the student portfolios at the end of the term.

GSIs minimum duties include: attend class (6 hours per week) and hold office hours (1 hour/week). During class the GSI provides individual roving critique, elaboration by example (often by drawing) of understanding and clarifying daily objectives. As the course builds exercise by exercise, the GSI should have both a long-term view and a grasp of each assignment. Several days prior to classes starting, a 2-3 hour meeting serves to outline the semester.

Prior to class each morning, the GSI is expected to have the technology ready for use. This means arriving to class before it starts. While the students stream in, they might also supervise the pinning up of drawings. Twice there are extended grading periods (varies on size of class, but typically 2-4 hours x 2 per term). In these evaluation sessions, the GSI’s work together and in parallel with the professor assessing, taking notes, recording, and delivering grades and suggestions for improvement to each student individually.

GSI’s are also expected to meet with excused absent students to review missed material. (1 hour/week). Regular meetings with instructor to monitor progress, discuss efficacy, and student concerns should take an hour per week. (.5 hour/week) Weekly work commitment will average 7.5 to 9.49 hours.

Required qualifications: GPA 3.0 or above; proficiency with freehand studio-drawing, and ability to communicate about design. Please include in cover letter the courses taken relevant to hand drawing.

Desired qualifications: GPA 3.5 or above, strong academic record in architectural or art drawing courses.

Eligible: Masters students in Architecture and Urban Design.


Arch 323 — History of Architecture

Faculty: Andrew Herscher
Positions: up to 2 positions
Appointment: 23.7%

This course is the second in the undergraduate two-course sequence (Arch 313/323) surveying the history of architecture from antiquity to the present. This course will provide an introduction to global architecture and urbanism from the 16th century to the present. A major theme will be architectural engagements with such global contexts as imperialism, colonialism, capitalism and modernization. Rather than assuming that these contexts simply pre-exist and shape architecture, the course will pursue the co-constitutive interactions between architecture and its various economic, political, social and cultural surrounds. In exploring these interactions, the course will present architectural history not as an empirically-verifiable record, but as a discursive representation of the past, a mediation of present concerns, and a production of possible futures: a project that can open up new ways of thinking about and practicing architecture.

GSI Responsibilities: GSIs will run discussion sections, assist in drafting assignments and exams, and grade student work.

Required Qualifications: Knowledge of the history of architecture; strong writing skills; classes/background in architecture. Phd or MSci students are preferred in this course, but M.Arch students are considered, and have been appointed

Desired Qualifications: Enthusiasm, intelligence, ambition, organizational skills, analytical skills

Eligible: Masters or Doctoral students in Architecture, and Masters students in Urban Design


Arch 324 — Structures II

Faculty:  Peter von Bülow
Positions: Up to 5
Appointment: 23.7 %

This course covers the basic principles of elastic behavior for different materials such as wood, steel, concrete, and composite materials and compares the properties and applications of materials generally. It investigates cross sectional stress and strain behavior in flexure and in shear, and torsion as well as the stability of beams and columns. The qualitative behavior of combined stresses and fracture in materials is also covered.

GSI responsibilities: GSIs must attend general course lectures on TBD and teach a recitation section on TBD. GSIs are responsible for helping their recitation students with assignments and grading exams and projects. They also provide general support for the course. Weekly work commitment will average 7.5 to 9.49 hours.

GSI Time Allocation: 23.7% appointment Weekly time work commitment 7.5 to 9.49 hours.

- attend lectures. 2 hr/wk

- prepare recitation.  2 hr/wk

- give recitation. 1 hr/wk

- attend weekly meeting. 1 hr/wk

- answer student questions. 1 hr/wk

- support course development. 1 hr/wk

- grade exams and projects. 1 hr/wk

Required Qualifications: Courses or background in architectural or engineering structures; knowledge of structural system analysis and design; good analytic ability – math, physics and basic mechanics. Include a brief CV outlining your experience and qualifications.

Desired Qualifications:  Communication skills; organizational ability; instructional experience; computational expertise; comfortable explaining how structures work; experience in construction.

Eligible: Masters or Doctoral students in Architecture.


Arch 583 — Professional Practice

Faculty: Hwang and Schmidt
Positions: up to 1
Effort: 25%

This course surveys essential topics, issues and core competencies in professional practice, including practice management, project management, leadership, client and employee relations, legal responsibilities, collaboration, ethics and professional judgment, community social responsibilities, diversity, and financial considerations. Mainstream and alternative practices are explored in case study discussion and lecture formats.

GSI responsibilities: GSI attends class sessions and monitors class contributions (3 hours per week). GSI is responsible for grading weekly quizzes in a timely manner (6 hours per week). GSI serves as resources to students in developing firm analyses (2 hours per week), and preliminarily evaluates term papers near the end of semester (up to 25 hours). Weekly time work commitment 9.50 – 12.49 hours.

Required qualifications: GPA above 3.0, completion of Arch 583 with distinction.

Desired qualifications: GPA 3.5 or above, 15 months or more experience in architectural practice setting(s).

Eligible:  Masters or Doctoral students in Architecture.