Teaching Associate Program

Each year, the Department of Communication Studies invites applications for its Teaching Associate (TA) Program, which offers COMM MA students foundational education in pedagogy combined with direct experience in teaching college-level public speaking.

While many COMM TAs go on to pursue successful careers in teaching, participating in the COMM TA Program is also an opportunity to develop valuable, transferable skills that are relevant to many different career paths, including time management; organization; presentational speaking; setting and assessing goals and outcomes; managing people and tasks; problem-solving; teamwork; and interpersonal communication.

To learn more about what it's like to be a COMM TA, watch these video interviews with current and past members of the program.

Table of Contents

Qualifications Duties
Training Salary & Benefits
Application Equal Opportunity



COMM TAs are competitively selected; in order to be considered, applicants must have the following qualifications.

  • Admission as a classified student to the SJSU COMM MA program.
  • A baccalaureate degree in Communication Studies or a related field.
  • Evidence of satisfactory achievement in previous academic work.
  • Successful completion of college-level courses in rhetoric, argumentation, and/or public speaking.
  • Awareness of and sensitivity to the educational goals of a multicultural population; interest in teaching students with non-traditional and/or ethnically diverse backgrounds.

TA Duties

COMM TAs who satisfactorily complete the program's preparatory training are assigned to teach COMM 20, Public Speaking in the fall and spring semesters. These sections typically meet in person for 2.5 hours per week. 

As instructors of record, COMM TAs are responsible for providing classroom instruction, designing course assignments, preparing their course materials, assessing student performance, holding regular office hours, and determining course grades, among other duties. 

TAs must also follow departmental and university teaching policies and procedures, such as submitting a syllabus conforming to the SJSU accessible syllabus template; participating in GE assessment; holding regular office hours; providing feedback to students in a prompt manner; etc. For more information on current teaching policies visit the SJSU Academic Senate university policies webpage.

Parallel to teaching COMM 20, all first-year COMM TAs must enroll in and successfully complete 2 units of COMM 285A in the Fall and 2 units of COMM 285B in the Spring. COMM 285AB is a credit/no credit course that provides TAs with ongoing pedagogical training and support. All first-year TAs can reasonably expect to spend about 5-6 hours a week on COMM 285AB coursework.

Taking into account the hours required to teach COMM 20 and the hours required to complete COMM 285AB coursework, all first-year TAs can reasonably expect to spend about 14 hours per week on the TA program.

TA Training

COMM TAs are required to complete a robust departmental training program in the summer prior to their appointment.

Completion of SJSU's university-wide TA training may also be required.

TA Salary & Benefits

COMM TAs are classified as Unit 11 Academic Student Employees. As such, they are covered by the Unit 11 bargaining agreement negotiated by their union, UAW Local 4123.

All COMM TAs are compensated for the 8 hours per week that are required to successfully prepare for, teach, and assess each section of COMM 20 assigned to them. Their term salary is TBD, subject to budget developments.

COMM TAs also receive a tuition fee waiver for up to 6.0 units for teaching one section of COMM 20 per semester. (TAs who teach more than one section per semester may earn a higher tuition fee waiver.) To learn more, visit the SJSU University Personnel (UP) webpage on the Teaching Associate Fee Waiver.

Additional information about TA benefits is laid out in Article 3 (Benefits) of the Unit 11 bargaining agreement [pdf]

Application Process

To apply for the COMM TA Program, fill out and submit this online SJSU COMM TA Program application, and submit all required application materials described below by the stated deadline.

Application Material How to submit

Statement of purpose describing your motivations for applying to the COMM TA program, your experience, and your fit for the program.

Type into the online application form.

Current resume or CV that highlights your relevant skills and knowledge.

Upload as part of the online application form.

Transcripts for all coursework that you have taken at all colleges and universities that you have attended, including SJSU.

For SJSU coursework only, unofficial transcripts downloaded from MySJSU will be accepted.

For all other college and university-level coursework, only official transcripts will be accepted. 

Upload as part of the online application form, and/or have them emailed directly to the TA Program Director at tabitha.hart@sjsu.edu

Three signed letters of recommendation in PDF format that discuss your qualifications and your potential for serving as a TA.

Have each recommender email their letter directly to the TA Program Director at tabitha.hart@sjsu.edu

The deadline to submit COMM TA application materials for Fall 2024 admission is 11:59 p.m. on March 8, 2024.

Only complete applications will be considered.

Final decisions will be announced via email by the beginning of April 2023.

If you have any questions about the COMM TA Program or the application process, please email the TA Program Director at tabitha.hart@sjsu.edu

Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, Title IX

San José State University as a standing policy does not discriminate against individuals because of their race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, handicap, or status as Disabled Veteran or Vietnam Era Veterans. This policy applies to all University programs and facilities including, but not limited to, admissions, educational programs and employment. Such discrimination is prohibited by Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Acts, Title IX of the Education Amendments, Secs. 503 and 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Age Discrimination Acts of 1974 and 1975, Vietnam Era Veteran's Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, and other Federal and State statutes and regulations. Inquiries regarding the application of these laws and regulations to the University may be directed to the University's Office for Equal Opportunity.