Instruction for Applying to a SoCS UTA Position (Summer 2019)

The recommended application process is to follow these four steps (links provided below):

  1. complete a TA Hiring Skills Assessment outlining your level of qualification relevant to each of the courses you wish to apply to;
  2. attach any additional file you desire within the assessment;
  3. save the results of the skills assessment as a PDF file; and
  4. upload this file to the Academic Staff Work Assignment page as part of your application(s).

Only one assessment need be completed -- all of your qualification may be placed in one assessment across multiple courses.

Relevant links are:

Okay — but I have some questions about the process!!

We have answers! A FAQ is below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The following are questions that we anticipate people may have about the process:

Why are you doing this?

We hire based on the qualifications of the candidates. It is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate evidence of qualifications, as indicated in section 11.03(a) of the CUPE 3913 Collective agreement.

In the past, most applications were vague, and in many cases had no information about important qualifications and were unclear in terms of level of expertise related to qualifications.

By completing a assessment, you will have a neatly and clearly organized set of responses for each potential qualification, and you and the reviewers understand what information has been provided in relation to which qualification.

There is a separate assessment for UTA and GTA applications, because

  1. most courses are only available for one level of applicant, so that allows a clear list of potential courses to apply for, and
  2. the qualifications may differ for the same course, as the job is not the same.

Do I have to do this, or can I do it the old way?

If you choose not to complete a assessment, and simply apply with textual information and an optional uploaded file as has been done in the past, your application will still be considered, exactly as such applicants have been considered in the past.

It is, however, important to realize that the reason the assessment exists at all is to help solve the identified problem of incomplete and vague applications presented in the past. It is expected that applications including a assessment will be more complete applications, simply because being guided helps people answer when there are a long series of questions.

The assessment will guide you to supply your qualification information in the context of the job.

Anyone not using the assessment tool is still expected to describe their qualifications fully and clearly in relation to the jobs as described, as as required under section 11.03(a) of the CUPE 3913 Collective agreement.

In particular, if the committee cannot clearly see information for a particular qualification, we have to assume that you have no qualification in that area.

I TA-ed the course before -- don't you already know my qualifications?

In short: no, we don't.

While teaching the course before likely gives you an excellent preparation for teaching the course again, there are a number of points to consider:

If I just fill out the assessment, have I applied for the job?

No. Filling out the assessment simply provides you with a way to create a (nicely formatted and complete) file outlining your qualifications for your job application.

The process in the CUPE 3913 Collective agreement indicates that application materials must be uploaded as part of the application, this means that if you forget this step, the School cannot reference your results directly from the assessment as application materials.

Do not forget to save and upload your file.

If you only complete the assessment, you will not be considered to have applied for any job.

May I put all my answers in one assessment?


The assessment is designed to allow you to express your qualifications for all of the jobs for which you want to be considered, within one assessment. This allows you to complete the assessment only once, save the PDF copy and then upload it to as many TA position applications as you wish.

In addition, you can upload a file within the assessment if you wish to include additional materials, such as a cover letter or resume that you would like to make available to the hiring committee.

Note that if you indicate that you wish to be considered for all available work assignments, the information in the assessment will be used to determine your qualifications for all of these potential jobs as well.

How do I navigate in the assessment?

When completing the assessment, the first page asks you to provide identity and contact information. This will allow us to ensure that the assessment responses are identified as belonging to the correct person, much as is done when writing an examination or course assignment work.

The assessment then presents a Table of Contents that allows you to jump to any course for which you want to provide information. The Table of Contents is always available through the button in the top left corner with three (red) lines. Once you have filled out information for your choice of courses, you can use this tool to jump to the "End of Survey". At this point you can attach your additional file if desired, and you will then be able to save the results as a PDF.

Very Important: be sure to save your PDF file results and upload them with your application! If you don't upload the file and apply to any position at the Academic Staff Work Assignment TA Job Postings (UTA and GTA) website, you won't be considered to have applied to any jobs.

How do I explain my qualifications?

Once you have entered the assessment and moved to the page for a particular course, you will see a list of questions. These directly reflect the "Required" and "Preferred" qualifications identified in the Academic Staff Work Assignment TA Job Postings (UTA and GTA) posting.

For each qualification, there is a yes/no question or a ranking question.

Yes/no questions are provided for those questions where there is no ambiguity of level, such as having taken a prerequisite course.

For questions where different levels of qualification are likely, we ask you to describe your level of qualification on the scale "None, Some, Lots" and explain your qualification level in an accompanying text box.

If you do not have any qualification in a particular area, use "None" or leave it blank. Any unanswered questions will be assumed to have a level of "None."

Please give an honest and fair assessment of your qualifications. In the past, the vast majority of people assigned to TA jobs have not had every qualification, and may only have low levels of experience and skill in some areas. Do not feel that you need to claim to have high levels of qualification in order to be hired.

Qualification assessment rating

When trying to determine your level of qualification, think of how your friends and colleagues would rate your qualifications within a given area. If you are assessing yourself at higher levels of qualification, it is very important to use the text box to explain why, so that the committee can ensure that all applicants are using a similar scale.

Consider this descriptive scale:

Is there an example of explaining qualifications?

Yes! Here are two examples:

Example: "Ability to do Python programming"

For this area:

Example: "Ability to independently lead laboratory sections"

For this area:

Each of the descriptions explaining the levels in these examples are examples of the sort of information expected in the "Explanation or rationale" field.

How can I attach my resume or cover letter?

As only one file may be uploaded as part of a job application, a means has been provided to allow you to attach a resume or cover letter within the assessment.

The tool to do this is at the end of the assessment, on the "End Survey" page in the table of contents.

Alternatively, you can follow the advice on this page to merge PDF files together before upload.

I attached my resume, why can't I see it?

Unfortunately, in the downloaded PDF Qualtrics provides you just has a marker for the uploaded file -- you won't be able to see the attached resume in the PDF you download.

Rest assured, however, that it is there, and any file you attach will be made available to the committee.

(For new grad students) Isn't this the same as the graduate student GTA guarantee assessment?

There is some understandable confusion here.

This assessment is about finding out what qualifications job applicants have in relation to the TA jobs actually on offer this semester. You need to fill this application out to let us know what qualifications you have, and at what level, in relation to the jobs specifically actually on offer this term.

In a related process, graduate student applicants are asked to complete a similar assessment speaking about senior courses in general. That assessment is done only once, and only in the case of new graduate students applying to the program, and only in the context of whether a certain number of GTA positions may be guaranteed to a graduate student as part of their letter of offer.

I have seniority, do I have to do this?

As described in the CUPE 3913 Collective agreement seniority will be used to assign a job to an applicant with greater seniority "in cases where applicants are demonstrably equal in the opinion of the University".

It is important to realize that seniority does not mean that a full application is not required.

In particular, a "blank" application from someone with several points of seniority, while stronger than a blank application from someone with fewer seniority points, is weaker than an application from anyone who shows any evidence of any qualification whatsoever.

Please do not be fooled into thinking that seniority by itself will produce a job. A complete application is most definitely required.

What positions am I eligible for?

In order to be eligible, you must be registered as a student in the semester in which you will be working as a TA. In addition:

Do you have any general job application advice?

Yes. Here are some general job application instructions.

Carefully read any job posting. It is full of clues about how to apply. In particular, the list of stated qualifications and duties should all be responded to in your application. Clarity on your part is your best tool.

If you wish to provide a resume, cover letter or other materials, it is important to remember that you are writing to show your expertise for a specific job, or set of jobs. Information that is not directly relevant to the job should go at the end of the application in an attached document, or likely not be included at all.

Focus your application and be clear. Much of being a good TA is about being a good communicator. If your application is not clearly written and focused on the task at hand, this reflects negatively on your ability to teach and mentor students.

Oh no! I did something wrong! How do I fix my application?

The university has a help page all about this -- it is available here:

Is there more help on the University application process?

The above link is just one part of the overall University FAQ on the process: