HPM Teaching Assistant Resource Guide

The following resource page has been created to assist students who are looking for a TA position in the Department of Health Policy and Management.  If you have any questions regarding being a TA, please contact:

Nicole Pires, Senior Program Coordinator of Academic Programs, npires@hsph.harvard.edu


Jen Moltoni, Assistant Director of Academic Programs and Student Services, jmoltoni@hsph.harvard.edu.

The Office of Education has also created a resource webpage for TAs at HSPH:  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/office-of-education/course-development-and-teaching-resources/teaching-assistants/

TA Job Search and Employment FAQ

How do I find a TA position in HPM?

If an Instructor needs to have a TA for his or her course, he/she will contact the HPM Office of Academic Programs with information about the course and his or her expectations for the Teaching Assistant position.  Academic Programs will then email the opportunity to students, and the interested students will contact the instructor directly.  The instructor will then reach out to the student(s) that he or she is interested in working with.

PLEASE NOTE:   If you are currently a student that is hired into a full-time, Harvard based student-staff position, the instructor will need to get prior approval from the HPM Academic Programs Office before hiring can begin.  This is due to the extra financial implications, possible conflicts with the scheduling of the full time position and TA position, and compliance issues.  This also applies to Harvard non-student staff members.  If you have any questions, or need more information, please reach out to Nicole Pires at npires@hsph.harvard.edu.

What is the TA hiring process?

TA hiring process is handled by the Senior Program Coordinator in the Office of Academic Programs in HPM. The Coordinator will reach out to each instructor prior to the start of the semester, and will request the following information:

  • name and contact information of their TA(s)
  • the general functions that the TA(s) will be performing for that instructor’s course(s) (i.e. arranging logistics, grading assignments, leading discussion sessions, holding office hours, etc.).
  • If the instructor plans to use a TA that is not affiliated with the School, the instructor will need to send the TA’s email address along with their affiliation.

All new TA’s will then receive an email from the Senior Program Coordinator prior to the beginning of the semester that requests the following:

  • All TAs must review, sign, and return the Community Norms and Expectations Policy Community Norms and Expectations Policy to the Senior Coordinator as soon as possible. This policy can be accessed HERE.  A copy of the policy will be attached to the email.  Completing this form is a requirement, and TAs will not be paid until the Senior Coordinator has a copy of this policy on file.
  • TAs will be asked to contact Leila Rosario (lrosario@hsph.harvard.edu) to complete any necessary paperwork for payment. These documents include an I-9 (if not already on file), an identification from the list on the I-9, and an Employee Registration Form.  TAs must complete these required forms before being hired for the position.

How much will the TA be paid the Department of Health Policy and Management? How many hours are TA’s generally expected to work?

Teaching Assistant Rates**

**Subject to change.  Payments for some summer courses may vary.  Please check with the Senior Coordinator for more information.

    • 1.25 Credits= $975
    • 2.5  Credits = $1950
    • 5.0  Credits = $3900

In general, most TAs work between 5-15 hours per week, depending on the course and the workload. Estimated hours per week should be discussed prior to beginning a TA position.  In June 2020, Harvard Chan revised their guidelines regarding TA payments.  Please read this statement HERE.

When should the TA expect to be paid?

TA’s should expect to be paid on a monthly basis.  For more information on the Harvard Chan School payment policies, please visit HERE .

Where should the TA direct any stipend/payment related questions to?

Questions about TA stipend payments should be directed to:

Leila Rosario, Financial Operations Manager



Who will answer general questions about being a TA?

General Questions about being a TA can be directed to:

Nicole Pires, Senior Program Coordinator of Academic Programs



What duties are involved with being a TA in Health Policy and Management?

In addition to attending the class, TAs may be expected to do a variety of activities such as preparing materials for class, holding “office hours” (virtual or live) for one-on-one tutoring and collecting materials, reviewing problem sets, assisting with graded assignments, arranging for media services in the classroom, maintaining the intranet Course Web Page, and teaching various sections of the class or labs. Exactly what is required of any individual TA is determined by the course instructor and depends on the student’s abilities and the needs of the specific course.

Being a TA:  Common Questions and Answers

Course Preparation:  How do I…..

work with CANVAS?

Canvas is the learning management system at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  It is where students and instructors access all of their course websites.  You can access Canvas directly by visiting http://canvas.harvard.edu and logging in with your Harvard Key or you can access your courses through MyHarvardChan.  You can also set up the Canvas app on your smartphone or tablet.

Instructors may ask their TAs to assist them with setting up their CANVAS site for their courses, and maintaining this site.  Here are some helpful resources:

Canvas General Information Site:  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/information-technology/canvas/

Canvas Guide for Instructors (FAQs for set up and updating): https://guides.instructure.com/m/4152

Canvas Questions and/or Tutorial Set Up:  mets@hsph.harvard.edu

find the class roster?

The class roster can be found via my.harvard.  The HELP section of my.harvard has some very easy to follow instructions to assist instructors in finding this list:  https://harvard.service-now.com/ithelp?id=kb_article&sys_id=315d83b1db8607c0a914fff31d96196a

The class roster will likely be available a few days prior to the start of class, however, please keep in mind that it will not be finalized until after the add/drop deadline of each quarter.

If you have any questions at all,  please contact Nicole Pires at npires@hsph.harvard.edu.

book a room?

If a TA needs to book a room for a one-time course-related event or for the entire term,  he or she will need to reach out to Nicole Pires (npires@hsph.harvard.edu) with their room request.  Please send  the requested dates, times, and items needed in the room, and please give at least 24 hours notice.  Please note that Nicole works Tuesday – Friday each week and plan accordingly.

arrange visitor passes for guest lecturers?

It is the responsibility of the course Instructor and/or TA to arrange Visitor Passes for Guest Lecturers. All visitor passes can be arranged online via the following portal:  https://app.sph.harvard.edu/internal/operations/visitor-pass/index.php

Visitor passes must be arranged at least 24 hours prior to the date that your guest arrives.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding Visitor Passes, you can contact Nicole Pires at npires@hsph.harvard.edu or the Harvard Longwood ID Office:

Harvard Longwood ID Office

  • Location: Kresge Building Office 119, 677 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115,
  • Phone: 617-432-0389 (2-0389)
  • Email:   idoffice@hsph.harvard.edu
  • Open: Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:00pm

arrange for AV assistance for my course?

It is the responsibility of the course Instructor and/or TA to arrange for AV assistance from the Department of Information Technology for their courses. If you need help setting up your AV needs, or need to record your course, you can request assistance online via the following portal:  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/information-technology/service/classroom-and-conference-room-support/

AV arrangements must be made least 24 hours prior to the date that you need assistance.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding Visitor Passes, you can contact Nicole Pires at npires@hsph.harvard.edu or you can phone the AV team at 617-432-HELP.

arrange parking for guest lecturers?

Each course instructor is sent a parking form by the Senior Coordinator  prior to the beginning of each term.  Instructors are encouraged to return this form prior to classes starting.

In the event that your instructor has not completed this form, and/or parking for guest lecturers needs to be arranged on an ad hoc basis, please send your request to Nicole Pires at npires@hsph.harvard.edu at least 48 hours prior to your guest lecturer’s arrival.  Any requests submitted at the last minute will be addressed during normal working hours.  Same day parking requests may not be possible.  Please plan accordingly.

print and make copies of course materials?

All TAs have access to the 3rd and 4th floor copier during regular business hours to make copies for courses that they are TA-ing for. If a TA does not have access to a printer and needs to print an original, these items can be sent to Nicole Pires at npires@hsph.harvard.edu.  Please give advance notice of a business day, if possible.

access my Teaching Assistant Evaluations?

Teaching Assistant evaluations are available to TAs on the course evaluation website (add a link) once the evaluations are posted (usually within several weeks of the end of the course).  Only the TA and the course instructor can see these evaluations.

Any questions regarding Teaching Assistant Evaluations should be directed to:

MPH Office, Office of Education



Working with Students:  How do I…..

help students who need accommodations?

If a TA discovers that a student has self- identified as having a disability, and is requesting accommodations for class, or, if a student is in need of other assistance regarding mental health issues, culture shock or other academic concerns, ask the student to immediately contact:

The Office for Student Affairs



help when I discover that a student is in need of tutoring?

If a TA believes that a student would benefit from 1:1 tutoring for a required field of study course, or, if a student has expressed interest in having a tutor:

  1. Either the TA or the student should discuss the request with the instructor
  2. If the instructor agrees that tutoring for the student would be beneficial, then he/she should write a short letter to Leah Kane (lkane@hsph.harvard.edu) with their approval and a brief description of why the student would benefit from tutoring.
  3. The instructor should submit the letter to Leah from the Office for Student Affairs.
  4. The Office for Student Affairs will reach out to the student about the possibility of finding them a tutor

**Tutoring through the Office for Student Affairs (OSA) is generally paid for by the student. The OSA has some funding available on a case by case basis **

handle interpersonal concerns and issues?

If a TA, a student, or students run into issues with Administration, Academic Staff, Faculty, other TAs, such as unfair treatment, abuse of processes, intimidation, harassment, or discrimination, please note that you can speak in confidence with a staff member from the Ombuds Office for the Harvard T.H Chan School, Harvard Dental School, and Harvard Medical School:

Melissa Brodrick- Ombudsperson
164 Longwood Ave, 1st Floor
Melissa_brodrick@hms.harvard.edu – 617-432-4040 (Ombuds general line)
617-432-4041(Office line)

How do I access Harvard’s Title IX policy regarding sexual harassment?

Harvard has very strict policies regarding sexual harassment and assault.  Here is a quick overview of where a student can go to get help, and the levels of confidentiality to assist TAs when a Title IX matter is brought to their attention

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is committed to helping anyone who has experienced sexual harassment, including sexual violence, to access the wide variety of resources available at Harvard and elsewhere.  Some of the resources listed below will be able to keep your information private, but they may have to share your information with those responsible for stopping or preventing sexual harassment on campus.  Before a student or TA speaks with someone regarding a Title IX concern, they must understand whether the person that they are speaking with can assure confidentiality, or how this information will be kept private. 

Please Note:  Members of the teaching faculty and staff at SPH are required to report any incidence of harassment to the appropriate Title IX coordinator.  If approached by a student who has a confidential matter to discuss, it is important that a TA reveals to the student what his/her reporting responsibilities are.  Here are the different resources that are available at the Harvard Chan School

Private Resources These people will keep your information as private as possible, meaning that they will only share it with those who have a need to know.  For example, they may need to disclose what you tell them to the appropriate Title IX coordinator, that is, the person responsible for addressing sexual harassment within the Harvard community.  The Title IX coordinator also will handle your information carefully, maintaining as much privacy as possible.

Confidential Resources:  These people are able to adhere to strict standards of confidentiality and can help you think through your situation and options, without sharing what you have told them other than in limited circumstances.  There are a few exceptions to their ability to maintain confidentiality and you can ask about those exceptions before you speak to them.

Deans, Advisors, Faculty Members, Campus Administrators, Coaches, and Residential Life StaffDeans, advisors, faculty members, campus administrators, coaches, and residential life staff will keep the information that you provide as private as possible, meaning that they will only share it with those who have a need to know.  For example, they may need to disclose what you tell them to the appropriate Title IX coordinator. 

Title IX Officer and Title IX Coordinators The University-wide Title IX Officer and the Harvard Chan School Title IX coordinators can speak with you about your options, support services, and how to file a complaint.  They, too, will handle your information carefully, maintaining as much privacy as possible, but may need to share it with those who have a need to know.  Each school has Title IX coordinators designated to receive complaints against students, as well as against faculty and against staff.

Medical professionals, social workers, rape-crisis counselors, and clergy: Medical professionals at Harvard include licensed clinicians at Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) and the University Mental Health Services.  These professionals have certain standards of confidentiality.  Similarly, rape crisis counselors, including counselors at the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (OSAPR), have certain confidentiality standards.  Rape crisis counselors also are available at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC).  BARCC also coordinates counseling and legal assistance resources. Harvard clergy also have certain standards of confidentiality.

In all instances, it is always best to first have a conversation about keeping information private or confidential, and what both of those mean in regards to any conversations had with the professional.

For more information regarding these policies and resources, please visit:  http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/student-affairs/sexual-harassment/

Additional information, including a 24/7 confidential hotline, can be found here:  http://share.harvard.edu/?utm_source=publichealth&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=feb_outreach

Tips from Past Teaching Assistants

The Academic Programs Office asked TA’s to send along any tips or advice that they had regarding being at TA.  Here were a few of their suggestions:

For multiple TAs in a single class:

– TAs should agree to a consistent policy on how they will respond to requests for one on one meetings outside of office hours.

– TAs should develop a plan to respond to students who email all TAs at once or message all TAs at once via Canvas.

– Schedule brief check-ins with other TAs for a given class, even if the Professor does not require it.

For all TAs:

– In office hours, if you hold group office hourse, make sure questions rotate between students (1 per student) in order of how they arrived. Answer each question for the group – not only for the person who asked the question.

– Make sure the 30 minutes after your office hours are flexible.

– Solicit input on subjects to focus on in review sessions.

– Solicit feedback after review sessions.

– Consider holding review sessions even if the Professor does not require them.

– First-year students are especially anxious about grades during Fall term – knowing what to expect in terms of testing and grading helps to calm students down more so than general encouragement. If you have not taken the class before, understand the basics from past students: how long are the test(s), what resources will they have access to, what material do test(s) cover, how in depth is testing on different subjects, how easy/hard tests are graded, relative ease/difficulty of midterm(s) versus final exams.

– Class lectures are in depth and professors often forget to link individual topics to each other. Beginning each office hour/review session/etc. by doing so really, really helps students get a handle on large amounts of information while simultaneously motivating why the topic is important.

– Do NOT be afraid to not know the answer to a students’ question – simply say you’ll follow up by email.

-Have a quality check method in place during the final grading process.  If you are not the person entering the grades into the system, make sure to double check what was entered with the person who is inputting that information.

-Familiarize yourself with the syllabus and, if one doesn’t exist, create a table of dates for the students (and yourself) to keep up with assignment deadlines.

-Use Canvas. It’s efficient and keeps materials contained. Spend some time getting used to the system and figuring out how to use the different tools. This also will allow you to determine what you have access to and if you need help troubleshooting anything before the course starts.  Post the full syllabus directly on Canvas, rather than just in a .pdf or .doc form, if possible.  Check all links on Canvas regularly to make sure they’re working, and update them right away if not.

-Make a commitment to answer student messages within 24 hours at the latest. Work out in advance with your instructor/professor what types of questions get referred “up,” and what you can handle.

-Touch bases with the instructor about 2-3 weeks in advance to fully understand how much responsibility you have in terms of assignments, grading, etc. Get a shared understanding of the class schedule, spacing out of assignments and exams over the quarter/semester, and set up processes for communication.  Also, try to determine whether your work is front loaded, evenly spread out over a semester or year, or back ended (e.g. grading finals).

-Send an introductory email to students about a week before the class started and allow them to ask any questions about the course.

-Speak up early and often if you hear of or observe issues with specific students, whether it’s late assignments, participation, or someone appears to be struggling. This obviously depends on the size of the class, but try to keep an active eye on the class.

-Encourage the students to populate their Canvas profiles. It’s helpful when you are trying to get to know names and faces.  Try to learn everyone’s name as early as possible.

-Find out whom to email/call in campus security (guest speakers need visitor badges), media services and IT for questions/problems. It’s helpful to have contacts in advance of an issue.

-Attend as many lectures as possible – it is best to be able to attend all of the lectures.

-If you can, meet with previous TA(s) for any tips based on their experiences.

Additional Resources

Office of Education – Teaching Assistant Information Page: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/office-of-education/educational-policy/course-development-and-teaching-resources/teaching-assistants/

Bookit: https://ems.sph.harvard.edu/virtualems/

Media Services: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/information-technology/forms-fees/media-services-request/

Link for Request to Record Class Sessions: https://harvard.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3z9gsgQoceqDIvX

Canvas Help: https://wiki.harvard.edu/confluence/display/canvas/Welcome

Visitor Pass Request Form: https://app.sph.harvard.edu/internal/operations/visitor-pass/index.php

Key Contacts

General Teaching Assistant Questions and Information:  Nicole Pires, npires@hsph.harvard.edu.

TA Stipend Payment Questions and Information:  Leila Rosario, Financial Operations Manager, HPM, lrosario@hsph.harvard.edu.

TA course evaluations:  MPH Office, Office of Education, mph@hsph.harvard.edu.

Student Disabilities, Accommodations and Tutoring:  Leah Kane, Office of Student Affairs, lkane@hsph.harvard.edu.

IT and Media Services Questions, Concerns, Issues:  617.432.4357, or via email at helpdesk@hsph.harvard.edu

Longwood ID Office:  617.432.0389, or via email at:   idoffice@hsph.harvard.edu

Harvard Chan School Security:  

  • Kresge Building: 617.432.3133
  • FXB Building: 617.432.1040