It is CANES’s policy to work to support all graduate students in good standing and making satisfactory progress towards their degree. It is also the department’s policy to distribute its resources as fairly as possible outside of guaranteed support offers. Thus, it is the department’s intention to give the maximum number of graduate students in the Classics and Hebrew Bible programs an opportunity to hold TAships consistent with the department’s needs and criteria. Graduate students from other fields will be appointed to TAships only when students in CANES are not available, not making satisfactory progress, or are less qualified. It should be remembered that teaching funds are variable, depending on budget and class enrollments. All students are encouraged to pursue opportunities for support outside the department at all stages of their study.

Teaching Assistantships

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Teaching Assistant appointments will be offered to eligible graduate students on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Contractual obligations made to the student
  • Satisfactory progress towards degree
  • Satisfactory student evaluations and faculty teaching observations
  • Departmental judgment of the student’s qualification to teach scheduled courses
  • Availability of budgeted positions


To be eligible to become a Teaching Assistant, graduate students should ordinarily meet the following requirements:

  • Students should be enrolled in the Classics or Hebrew Bible graduate program (exceptions will be made due to lack of qualified or available students)
  • Students should be making satisfactory progress towards an advanced degree
  • Students should not have exceeded the limited allotment of teaching within the department (5 years after the BA or 3 years after the MA).

Students who are non-native speakers of English must complete the SPEAK test for assessing English proficiency. The SPEAK test is the institutional version of the Test of Spoken English (TSE), which is administered by the Educational Testing Service. The SPEAK test measures oral proficiency and is frequently used to evaluate the spoken English of international TAs. The test is available only to students holding or under consideration for a teaching assistantship. For information and scheduled tests, please consult the English as a Second Language website. Students must achieve a score of 45 or higher before being placed in the classroom.

Class Assignments

Class assignments are made by the department chair in consultation with department faculty with consideration of the following items in order of importance:

  • Previous positive assessment of teaching ability
  • Fair rotation of teaching among qualified graduate students
  • Background and experience of the TA in course materials
  • The need for graduate students to have a variety of teaching experiences
  • The preference of the TA, and the preference of the instructor.

Training and Review

Training Program

All TAs are required to attend the department’s annual Graduate Student Orientation and Teaching Assistant Workshop. Subjects discussed in the department’s annual workshop include preparation, organization, sensitivity to ethnic and gender issues, and pedagogical methods. Experienced TAs are encouraged to share successful teaching methods and ideas with the group in an open discussion. Information is also provided on such university resources as the Writing Center.

New TAs are also required to attend the L & S Teaching Assistant Workshop and the Graduate Assistants Equity Workshop within the first two semesters of teaching appointments. In addition, for TAs with a first time Comm B appointment, the Writing Across Campus Comm B Training workshop will also be required. TAs are also encouraged to take advantage of the writing workshops offered by the Writing Center at the start of the academic year and throughout each semester.

For each course, the TA must meet with the Professor to outline the goals and objectives of the course, the exam and grading procedures, the syllabus and assigned readings, and specific pedagogical methods appropriate for the course. The syllabus of each course should include the name, office number, and phone number, of the supervising professor, the TA, and the current department chair. Should there be concerns about the course that the TA feels unable to address, he or she can refer students to the professor in charge of the course for initial consultation. Regular meetings between the TA and the professor are held throughout the semester to discuss the progress and success of the course.


Within the first few weeks of class, the supervising professor will observe the TA, with new TAs being a priority. After the visit, the professor will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the class and put forward a set of recommendations for further teaching development. A written evaluation, to be discussed in person, is then provided to the Department Chair and will be placed in the students file. If the Chair deems necessary, a second faculty member will make an additional classroom observation with a written evaluation. At the end of each semester or course, student evaluations for the TA classes are to be completed and kept on file in the department for future reference.


Workload/Percentage of Appointment

Teaching Assistantship appointments are percentage based. The percentage of appointment is based on the total expected hours of work throughout the course of the semester. For example, a 33% TA would be expected to work a total of 240 hours over the semester, which is roughly 13 hours per week. The Department of CANES has teaching appointments that range from 33.4% to 50% time depending on the course assigned.

Each TA will receive a breakdown of expected workload with their official appointment letter. The TA is expected to review and discuss the workload with the supervising faculty member of the course. By signing and returning the workload to the department administrator, the TA is accepting his or her appointment for the semester.

Stipend & Benefits

The current pay rate for a full-time beginning TA is about $32,300 per year. The approximate stipend for a 33.4% position is roughly $5500 per semester.

All Graduate Assistantships at or above 33.4% include full tuition remission, a full array of benefits including health insurance, and office space within the department. Spring teaching appointments also carry summer tuition remission.

General Graduate Assistantship Policies & Procedures

The Graduate School has created a resource defining and outlining information relevant to graduate students holding Project (PA) Teaching (TA) and Research (RA) Assistantships.

Departmental Travel Support

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Eligibility Guidelines

The CANES department can provide some funding for Classics students who are presenting a paper addressing a topic in the Classics field or interviewing for hire. Applicable conferences include the ASA and CAMWS, but other conferences such as graduate student colloquia will also be considered. First time recipients of this award may be asked to present a departmental Pillinger Talk in preparation for their conference presentation.

All applications for department travel must be supported by satisfactory progress in the student’s program. Graduate students may submit one request for travel support to the department per academic year. Every attempt will be made to fund student travel up to a maximum of $750. Students should recognize that funding is based on availability. The Fellowships Committee will assess the validity of all applications and determine the amount of each individual award if granted.

Before requesting travel funds from the department, graduate students should conduct due diligence to learn about and apply for travel awards offered by other units (Graduate School, ASM, etc.) at UW-Madison and by sponsors of the event for which travel funds are requested. Evidence of awards applied for and/or received should accompany all requests for department travel funding. Being competitive for awards outside the department is a matter of professional development.


Having applied for travel awards and supplements from external sources, students should then petition the CANES Department for travel support. All petitions are considered on a case by case basis and evaluated on the basis of academic merit and satisfactory progress in the graduate program.

Petitions should take form of a letter addressed to the chair of the graduate Fellowships Committee detailing the title of the talk, proof of acceptance, the date and place of the conference, and any other relevant information. All petitions should include a budget and should disclose details of awards or denial of funding from other sources.

Awards from other sources will not necessarily disqualify students from Classics Department funding. The applications will be read and voted on by the committee which will attempt to respond to requests in a timely fashion. The student will be notified in writing by the chair of the committee normally within a few weeks of the submission of application.

Since applications will be read on a rolling basis and funds are usually more plentiful at the beginning of the year, students are encouraged to apply early.

Scholarships and Fellowships

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Adams-Lemoine Dissertation Fellowship

This fellowship is awarded in memory of C.K. Adams, Professor of Latin & History and University of Wisconsin President from 1892 to 1902, and Fannie Lemoine, Professor of Latin from 1906 to 1923. The Adams-Lemoine Fellowship is utilized for student recruitment or completion of degree. It provides tuition remission, a stipend, and benefits in accordance with published University award amounts. Award periods vary and funding may be available for one or two semesters of study.

Moses S. Slaughter Fellowship

This fellowship is awarded in memory of Moses S. Slaughter, University of Wisconsin Professor of Latin from 1906 to 1923. The Slaughter Fellowship is given to a current or incoming graduate student who maintains Wisconsin residency. It provides tuition remission, a stipend, and benefits in accordance with published University award amounts and may supply funding for one or two semesters of study.

Frank R. Kramer Summer Fellowship

A pre-doctoral summer research grant awarded in memory of Dr. Frank R. Kramer, who earned a BA in Humanities in 1929, an MA in Greek & Latin in 1931, and a PhD in Classics in 1936. The Kramer Fellowship is meant to enable graduate students in their second year of study or above (pre-dissertation) to receive support for work connected to the advancement of their studies, pedagogy, and professional development in Classics. Award totals range between $750-$2,000.

Hieronimus Prize for Greek Composition

This monetary award is given in memory of Professor John Paul Hieronimus (PhD’31). Entrants are asked to translate a selected passage into ancient Greek or compose an original piece in ancient Greek addressing a specific topic. Awards are given in late spring.

Pillinger Prize for Latin Composition

This monetary award is given in memory of Assistant Professor Hugh Edward Pillinger (1965-1970). Entrants are asked to translate a selected passage into Latin or compose an original piece in Latin addressing a specific topic. Awards are given in late spring.

Other Funding Options

Research Travel Awards