Information About Graduate Student Instructors at the University of Michigan
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Information About Graduate Student Instructors and Staff Assistants at the University of Michigan


The Regents of the University of Michigan
Graduate Employees Organization
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO Local 3550

June 11, 1999 - February 1, 2002


Article I:
Recognition and Definitions

Section A. Description of Unit

Pursuant to and in conformity with the certification issued by the Michigan Employment Relations Commission on April 15, 1974, in Case No. R74 B-70, as amended by order of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission on November 4, 1981, in Case No. C76 K-370, the University recognizes the Union as the sole and exclusive representative for the purposes of collective bargaining in respect to wages, hours, and all other conditions of employment for all employees in the following described bargaining unit:

All graduate student assistants, including graduate student instructors and graduate student staff assistants; excluding supervisors and all other employees.

Section B. Definitions

1. The term "employee" (and "employees") as used in this Agreement (except where the Agreement clearly indicates otherwise) shall mean only an individual assigned to one of the classification titles within the bargaining unit described in Section A.

2. Graduate Student Assistants are employees assigned the title of (a) graduate student instructor or (b) graduate student staff assistant. An employee must be a student in good standing in a University of Michigan graduate degree program.

3. The term "in good standing" in the University of Michigan graduate degree program shall be defined by the Rackham School of Graduate Studies and the various departments, programs, and other academic units. The application of these definitions shall be consistent for all graduate students, including graduate student assistants. Such definitions shall be available at the various departments, programs, and other academic units.

4. The title "graduate student instructor" shall be given to a graduate student who is employed to teach courses, or coordinate, lead, or assist in the instructional process in direct interaction with students in recitation, laboratory, quiz, or problem sessions or to teach during regularly scheduled office hours. The title shall also be given to a graduate student who is (1) employed on a regularly scheduled and pre-arranged basis throughout not less than one term and (2) who (a) grades papers or examinations in a manner that requires subjective evaluation above and beyond the mechanical or routine comparison of submitted papers or examinations with answers, responses, or elements predetermined as correct or acceptable by another individual or method or (b) provides tutorial instruction.

It is understood, however, that the title shall not be given to an individual who provides tutorial instruction or grades on a demand or on-call basis regardless of the frequency of the demand or calls.

It is understood further, that this title need not be assigned by a department or unit to a graduate student employed to provide any of the above services who holds a graduate or professional degree in a field of specialization relevant to the department or unit of employment, but is currently pursuing a graduate degree in a different field of specialization. Nor must a department or unit assign this title to any graduate student who already holds a doctorate or professional degree from a degree program comparable to that of the department or unit or who has equivalent professional experience.

5. The title "graduate student staff assistant" shall be given to a graduate student whose employment (1) fulfills a degree requirement or (2) is otherwise considered academically relevant by the department or degree program in which the degree is being pursued and who is employed to perform administrative, counseling or educational duties other than those of a graduate student instructor.

If employment is in a department or unit other than the one in which the degree is being pursued, the graduate student will not be given the title graduate student staff assistant unless prior arrangements have been made between the employing department or unit and the department or program in which the degree is being pursued to provide employment under that title. In this connection, however, it is understood that the staff assistant title will be given to graduate students employed by and in (1) the University Library Associate Program or (2) the Dean's Office of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts in the positions as academic counselors.

The definitions set forth in 4 and 5 are not intended to establish mutually exclusive duties for employees assigned these titles, but are established to denote principal functions.

6. A "term" means the period of time consistent with an academic calendar and designated as Term I (Fall), Term II (Winter), Term III (Spring-Summer), Term IIIA (Spring-Half), or Term IIIB (Summer-Half).

7. "Department" or "Unit" means the University operational unit which employs graduate student assistants. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to operations known as departments, centers, and institutes.

8. "Instructional Staff" means regular or supplemental professors, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors and lecturers.

Section C. Grievance Procedures

No matter concerning the definition or application of "in good standing" in a University of Michigan graduate degree program shall be subject to the grievance and arbitration procedures.

In the event that a grievance arises alleging a violation of the Article, it shall begin at Step Two of the Grievance and Arbitration Procedure, provided it is submitted in writing within twenty (20) days following reasonable knowledge of the facts giving rise to the grievance. There shall be unrestricted review of all aspects of the grievance at Steps Two and Three.

If any such grievance alleging a violation of this Article should be taken to arbitration as provided in Section D. of Article XV , the Arbitrator's authority and jurisdiction shall not include any matter involving a question of good standing in a University of Michigan graduate degree program or whether employment is academically relevant. Neither shall the Arbitrator have authority to review the decision by a department or degree program regarding the acceptability of an employment position as meeting a degree requirement. The Arbitrator shall, however, have authority to determine the factual matter of whether an employment position has or has not been certified as meeting a degree requirement by the department or degree program in which the degree is being pursued.

Nothing herein shall preclude a group grievance on behalf of all named and similarly affected individuals.

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Information About Graduate Student Instructors at the University of Michigan

Site updated March 31, 2008

Current or prospective graduate students seeking information on obtaining GSI/GSSA appointments should contact the academic department where they are enrolled, or plan to enroll. Information on all University of Michigan academic departments is located at

Those seeking appointments outside of their current field of study may want to visit the University site designed specifically for units that customarily hire graduate students from other departments. That site is located at:

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