The Department of Communication funds multiple graduate assistantships for the academic year (August-May) depending upon annual budgetary allocations. These assistantships are awarded on a highly competitive basis. Traditionally, assistantships are awarded to both the Division of Communication Studies and to the Division of Film and Digital Media. Graduate assistants in Communication Studies are expected to assist with the instruction and grading of speeches in the basic course program primarily composed of CSS 1301 (Fundamentals of Oral Communication) and CSS 1302 (Speech for Business and Professionals). In addition, some graduate assistants are assigned to work with undergraduate debaters in the Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum. Graduate assistants in Film and Digital Media typically assist with instruction and grading in FDM (2385) Production Methods and FDM (1303) Introduction to Mass Communication.
Students awarded graduate assistantships receive a paid stipend for the academic year (August-May) and receive a tuition scholarship for up to 18 hours of graduate coursework. These 18 hours are allocated based on the university’s budget calendar, i.e., beginning in the summer and ending with the conclusion of the spring semester. Therefore, a graduate student may use his/her 18 hours of tuition beginning in the summer semester, then fall, and then finally spring semester. Any un-used graduate tuition scholarship hours are forfeited at the conclusion of the spring semester.
Graduate assistantships also become available through grants awarded to faculty members. Graduate assistants funded via grants work exclusively with the faculty member who has secured the grant. Furthermore, Dr. Martin Medhurst, the Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Communication, also funds a graduate research assistant. This is a twelve month assistantship where the graduate assistant works exclusively with Dr. Medhurst managing his office, working as the editorial assistant for the journal, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, and helping Dr. Medhurst with his research. This graduate assistant receives a stipend and a tuition scholarship for graduate coursework.
Renewal of Graduate Assistantships
The graduate faculty awards graduate assistantships to deserving candidates and to those who have demonstrated excellence in their service to the department as a graduate assistant. Students may work as graduate assistants for 2 academic years. However, graduate students are not automatically guaranteed a second year of funding. The graduate faculty members supervising the graduate assistants evaluate the overall performance of students throughout the year. Students may be removed as graduate assistants or denied a second year of funding for inferior performance. Graduate assistants desiring a second year of funding must inform the Graduate Program Director on or before February 1st about any intentions to remain another year as a graduate assistant.