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Architecture GSI Positions

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.” 

How to Apply: Fall 2020 GSI Positions

Complete both of the following steps to apply:

Step 1: Submit cover letter(s) and a resume combined into a single PDF file by following the link below

Submit Resume

Step 2: List the course(s) you are applying for. Rank in order of preference when applying for multiple positions.

Select Course

Position Details

Job Opening ID#: 186641
Posting dates: 5/26/2020 – 6/12/2020
Working title: Architecture Graduate Student Instructor at Taubman College

Fall 2020 GSI Positions

Arch 201 — Basic Drawing

Faculty: Melissa Harris
Positions: Up to 2
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.

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 314: Structures I

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

This course covers the basic principles of architectural structures, including the influence of geometric, sectional, and material properties related to flexure and shear in beam and framed systems; vector mechanics with application to analysis of trusses, catenaries, and arches; diagrammatic analysis of beams for bending moment, shear, and deflection as well as the study of structural framing systems for vertical and lateral loads.

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

  • attend lectures. 2  hr/wk
  • prepare recitation.  2  hr/wk
  • give recitation. 1  hr/wk
  • attend weekly meetings. 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: Master or Doctoral students in Architecture.


Arch 316: Design Fundamentals

Faculty: Roddier and Mitnick
Positions: 2
Effort: 23.7%

This course introduces the beginning student in architecture to a working understanding of the factors and issues that underlie the translation of human needs and purposes into significant architectural form. Course objectives are:

To establish a base of design concepts and knowledge with an introduction to references and ideas to foster independent inquiry.
To develop skills in environmental analysis, concept formation, and certain aspects of design.
To familiarize students with images of architecture and design drawn from various times and cultures. Specific topics include the basic elements, attributes, and organizational principles of architectural form and their relationship to design intention. Related topics include framework for design, design methods, site analysis and design, human factors, and environmental factors.

GSI Responsibilities: GSIs will run discussion section, assist in drafting assignments and exams, and grade student work. The GSI must attend all lectures (2 hours), run discussion section (1 hour), assist with the grading assignments with commentary that aims to improve and enhance students’ critical thinking and analysis skills in relation to understanding design fundamentals, provide assistance and clarification on issues related to course to students via e-mails and in-person in meetings as necessary.  Weekly work commitment will average 7.5 to 9.49 hours.

Required qualifications: GPA 3.0 or above, acute coursework knowledge of design fundamentals; strong writing skills. Please include in cover letter the courses taken relevant to this course.

Desired qualifications: GPA above 3.5, Intelligent, energetic and enthusiastic; interested in working with students, conscientious, well organized, good listening and reading skills; writing skills. Experience or promise in leading oral discussions.

Eligible: Master of Architecture students and Master of Urban Design students.


Arch 317/417: Construction

Faculty: Craig Borum
Positions: 3
Effort:  23.7%

This course offers an introduction to the study of construction materials and methods. The course stresses general principles that affect construction and its relationship to design intentions. It is structured through the discussion of specific material typologies including, wood; masonry and stone; concrete; steel; and glass. Upon completion of the course, the student is expected to demonstrate an understanding of  construction materials and building enclosure assemblies. The format includes one weekly lecture, one lab, and several lab exercises that provide a focus for discussion and practice and technical documentation relating to unit modularity, wall systems, floor and roof systems, waterproofing, prefabrication, and project delivery.  Additionally there are weekly quizzes and a final exam.

GSI Responsibilities: GSIs will run a lab section, assist in drawing assignments and exams, and grade student work. The GSI must attend all required lectures (2 hours), and a lab section (3 hours). The weekly work commitment will average 7.5 to 9.49 hours.

Required qualifications: GPA 3.0 or above, acute coursework knowledge of construction materials and methods; professional experience with knowledge of construction materials and methods; strong representational skills. Please include in cover letter the courses taken relevant to this course.

Desired qualifications: GPA above 3.5, enthusiasm, intelligence, ambition, organizational skills, analytical skills.

Eligible: Master of Architecture students and Master of Urban Design students.


Arch 357 Architecture, Sustainability & the City

Faculty: Jen Maigret
Positions: Up to 6
Effort: 25%

This undergraduate survey course is an introduction to the design of the built environment from the scale of a building to cities, regions, countries, and the planet. This course will explore how architectural and urban history, theory and practice have influenced and responded to evolving ideas about sustainability. Case studies of buildings and cities, of different cultures and periods, will be presented to deepen the student’s understanding of the environmental, economic, socio-cultural, and aesthetic impacts of design and urbanism. Contemporary problems and opportunities in sustainable architecture and urban design will be considered, including renewable energy, ecological resilience, resource and water conservation, transportation, high performance buildings, and emerging work on greenhouse gas emissions reductions. This course will discuss the opportunities for these considerations to improve the livability, mobility, equity, and vibrancy of the public realm through design.

GSI responsibilities: The GSI must attend all lectures, and is responsible for two, weekly discussion sections. The GSI meets students at weekly office hours and grades a once-weekly 300-1000 words written response to readings or an assigned exercise. The GSI is responsible to grade a midterm and final exam in coordination with other GSIs, as well as working with the Instructor to facilitate interactive responses integrated with lectures. The weekly work commitment will average 9.50 to 12.49 hours.

Required qualifications: Academic experience in architecture, sustainability, and urbanism. The GSI must demonstrate strong verbal communication skills (especially experience or promise in leading oral discussions), strong writing assessment skills, and enthusiasm for teaching.

Desired qualifications: History and theory courses in architecture, urban design and planning are desirable, as is experience in energy, environmental and ecological issues. Completion of Arch 506/UP533 "Sustainable Urbanism and Architecture" or Arch 515 “Sustainable Systems” is highly desirable.

Eligible: Master or PhD students in Architecture or Urban Design.


Arch 515: Sustainable Systems

Faculty: Jen Maigret
Positions: Up to 6
Effort: 23.7%

This required graduate survey course provides a broad intellectual context for discussing sustainability and architecture in relationship to environmental and social challenges that operate at a global scale. The course will assign readings from a range of disciplines and perspectives on the natural world and its technological management. Case studies of buildings, landscapes, and regions, from different cultures and periods, will be presented to deepen the student’s understanding of the environmental, economic, socio-cultural, and aesthetic impacts of design and urbanism. Lectures will cover a range of contemporary design opportunities to improve resource conservation, ecological resilience, and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Topics covered include zero codes and certifications, water infrastructure and conservation, thermodynamics in architecture, embodied energy, atmosphere and air, and ecological systems models. This course will discuss the opportunities for these considerations to improve the livability, mobility, equity, and vibrancy of the public realm through design.

GSI Responsibilities: The GSI must attend all lectures and is responsible for one, weekly discussion/working section. The GSI meets students at weekly office hours, attends a weekly course preparation meeting and will work with the instructor to facilitate interactive responses integrated with lectures. The GSI will be responsible for grading written responses to readings, assignments, and a final exam in coordination with other GSIs. The weekly work commitment will average 7.5 to 9.49 hours.

Required qualifications: Academic experience in architecture and sustainability. The GSI must demonstrate strong verbal communication skills (especially experience or promise in leading oral discussions), strong writing assessment skills, and enthusiasm for teaching. 

Desired qualifications: GPA 3.5 or above and completion of Arch 515 “Sustainable Systems” with a final grade of A- or higher. History and theory courses in architecture, urban design and planning are desirable, as is experience in energy, environmental and ecological issues. 

Eligible: Master or PhD students in Urban Planning, Architecture or Urban Design.


Arch 527: Integrative Systems

Faculty: Kennedy
Positions: Up to 1
Effort: 23.7%

Taught in conjunction with ARCH 672, this course focuses on the principles, performances, and integration of building systems, including, but not limited to structural, environmental, building envelope, lighting,  mechanical, plumbing, electrical, communication, and horizontal and vertical conveyance systems. Course presentations and exercises address  life safety issues, accessibility, security, fire protection systems, building codes, and building specifications.

GSI Responsibilities: GSIs will assist in drafting assignments and exams, and grade student work. The GSI must attend all lectures (3 hours). The GSI will serve as a resource to students for inquiries via email and by holding office hours. The weekly work commitment will average 7.5 to 9.49 hours.

Required qualifications: GPA above 3.0, completion of Arch 527 or equivalent with distinction.

Desired qualifications: Professional experience and / or advanced coursework in building construction systems.  Ability to assess students’ work developing drawings and diagrams of building systems and their integration with studio design.

GPA above 3.5, Intelligent, energetic and enthusiastic; interested in working with students, conscientious, well organized, good listening and reading skills; writing skills. Opportunities to develop and deliver select course presentations may be available to qualified GSI candidates.

Eligible: Master of Architecture students and Master of Urban Design students.


ELI 530: Academic Speaking and Writing for Architecture and Urban Planning

Faculty:  TBD
Positions: 1
Effort: 23.7%

In this course, graduate students learn and practice effective presentation and discussion skills; presentations are videotaped and critiqued individually with the instructor. Participants also practice writing professional documents and summaries and responses that are integrated with reading and discussion. Materials and assignments are drawn from current discipline-specific topics in other classes. For example, architecture students will present their current studio work (in progress) throughout the semester for feedback and readings are chosen from the topics covered in the core courses in Architecture and Urban Planning. 

GSI responsibilities: The GSI attends class sessions and monitors class contributions (3 hours per week). This may also include providing feedback on student presentations and facilitating small group in-class discussions. The GSI will set up a class blog and manage blog assignments. The GSI serves as a resource to students in developing effective presentation and discussion skills and may provide feedback on written assignments. The weekly work commitment will average 7.5 to 9.49 hours.

Required qualifications: GPA 3.0 or above, strong oral and written communication skills. Experience in leading oral discussions, as well as assessing students’ writing and presentation skills. Demonstration of oral and written Architecture presentation mastery.

Desired qualifications: GPA 3.5 or above

Eligible: Master or Doctoral students in Architecture.


Arch 583 – Professional Practice

Faculty: Hwang

Positions: up to 2

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), and/or architecture license.

Eligible: Master or Doctoral students in Architecture and MS_DMET

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