Instructional Assistant

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Friday, September 22, 2023


PSD Geophysical Sciences: Administration and Staff

About the Department

The Department of the Geophysical Sciences provides a vibrant venue in which scientists carry out research across several broad subject areas that span the past, present, and future evolution of the Earth, its life, and its cosmic environment. We pride ourselves in the innovative and interdisciplinary research of highly accomplished faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates, all of whom push the boundaries of their respective fields. The Department supports a PhD program in Geophysical Sciences while offering undergraduate degrees in both Geophysical Sciences and Environmental Science which allow students to discover, learn, and share knowledge about the natural processes that have and continue to shape our world and other planetary bodies. The Department is committed to fostering an environment where individuals from all backgrounds can grow and become the unique scientists they wish to be.

Job Summary

The Instructional Assistant assists faculty and program administration in their work delivering undergraduate education in the Geophysical Sciences and Environmental Science majors, and associated instruction in the Physical Science core curriculum. The Instructional Assistant’s role comprises a set of responsibilities designed to address the department's curricular needs, and may differ each quarter. The role focuses on supporting instruction as a teaching assistant in specific courses. Specific duties include assisting undergraduate students in lab, workshop or field settings; grading assignments and exams; coordinating field trips, excursions, and non-classroom activities and experiences; and supporting instructors’ use of academic technologies. The Instructional Assistant has experience completing research and academic work in a relevant area and is equipped to support undergraduate instruction in capacities that range from substantive, pedagogical, methodological, technological, to administrative. The role will be a combination of the responsibilities listed below, and the specific allocation of duties may differ each quarter.
The annual work period is 9.5 months, from September 1 through June 15, and the salary is paid over 12 months, from September through August.


  • Assists the instructor of record in an undergraduate Geophysical Sciences, Environmental Science, or Physical Science course or courses by running weekly review and discussion sections as an accompaniment to the scheduled course; holding regularly scheduled office hours; reading, commenting on, and evaluating papers, exams, and other assignments and recommend grades for individual assignments; contributing to teaching resources and student materials; managing reserve readings, course websites and other course materials; coordinating discussion sections, setting up equipment, and other logistics; meeting regularly with the instructor of record; attending regularly-scheduled sessions of assigned courses and reading all assigned materials.
  • Grades assignments, exams, and papers from a variety of courses.
  • Works with small groups of students to help them improve in the subject area.
  • Holds office hours to speak individually with students.
  • Meets regularly with instructors of record to discuss program goals and curriculum.
  • Manages academic technologies and coordinates technological support for instructor and students in undergraduate courses.
  • Attends relevant on-campus training sessions on pedagogy, research methods, and academic technology.
  • Participates regularly in events, workshops, colloquia, and lectures in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences.
  • Interacts with faculty, researchers, and staff for committee work or information.
  • Assists teachers with all aspects of the academic program. Instructs and provides counseling to students as well as giving them feedback.
  • Work with small groups of students to help them improve in the subject area and hold office hours to speak individually with students.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 2-5 years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


• Master’s degree or higher in a relevant field of Earth and Environmental Sciences.


• Teaching assistant or instructor in relevant undergraduate courses.

• Conducting research in related fields.

Preferred Competencies

  • Strong verbal and written communication skills including excellent editing/proofreading ability in English.
  • Foster an inclusive environment for all students.
  • Handle multiple concurrent projects in a competent and professional manner while also managing details and meeting deadlines.
  • Work effectively with supervision and as a part of a team, individually, or in concert with other offices and campus partners.
  • Work autonomously, taking initiative and without detailed instructions.
  • Maintain confidentiality/discretion at all times.
  • Handle stressful situations.
  • Critical thinking skills.
  • Problem solving skills.
  • Decision making skills.
  • Reasoning skills.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Creativity.

Working Conditions

  • One-year term 37.5 weekly hours position.
  • 9.5 month position paid over 12 months.
  • Some availability during evenings and weekends.

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Cover Letter which is to include your interest in this position (preferred)
  • References (3 required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family

Academic Affairs

Role Impact

Individual Contributor

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

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