Department of Kinesiology at Western Illinois University Graduate Assistantships


Graduate assistantships are academic merit-based awards that recognize outstanding achievement and provide financial support to students as they pursue their degrees. Graduate assistants are expected to balance the challenges presented by both the assistantship duties and the requirements of the graduate degree. As such, a student must demonstrate satisfactory progress toward the completion of scholarly tasks as well as assignments in the workplace. All graduate students are encouraged to consult with assistantship supervisors and departmental graduate advisors throughout this process.

Students with full-time assistantships are required to work up to 20 hours per week or teach up to 6 semester hours per semester, and will receive a monthly stipend and waiver of tuition. Current stipend amounts, policies, procedures, and additional information concerning the assistantship program may be found below and in the graduate catalog. Assistantship applications received prior to March 15 may be given priority consideration.

Western Illinois University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and has a strong institutional commitment to diversity. WIU has a non-discrimination policy that includes sex, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, or veteran status.

Categories of Assistantships in the Department of Kinesiology
  1. Teaching Assistant (TA) - A Teaching Assistant is the instructor of record for a class or laboratory, within a specific academic department of the University. Teaching Assistants’ duties consist of one or more of the following types of activities:
    • conducting classes or laboratories,
    • preparing lectures,
    • constructing and grading tests/quizzes,
    • holding student conferences,
    • assigning course/laboratory grades,
    • other duties related to the assigned course/laboratory.
  2. Graduate Assistant (GA) - A Graduate Assistant supports the administrative and operational functions of the University or approved external agencies. Graduate Assistants’ primary duties (i.e., greater than 50%) consist of one or more of the following types of activities:
    • technical support services (i.e., web, equipment management, etc.),
    • advising students,
    • clerical support,
    • recruiting students,
    • event development/management,
    • other support services.
Application Process (Deadline March 15, 2024)

To apply for an assistantship, an Application for Assistantship must be submitted and on file with the School of Graduate Studies. The application is available as part of the domestic application process or online for international students and those that did submit it with the domestic application.

The Department of Kinesiology also requires candidates to complete the following form at in order to be considered for the available positions. All employment requirements must be met before an assistantship contract may be written.

Department Eligibility requirements
  • Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology or health related field.
  • Experience teaching/coaching/participating in individual or group activity classes (e.g., aerobic condition, strength and conditioning, dance, badminton, basketball, etc. See list of department activity classes).
  • Experience assisting in laboratories (e.g., anatomy and physiology, physiology of exercise, adapted physical education, etc.)
  • A demonstrated commitment to effective, inclusive teaching at the undergraduate level
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • A demonstrated ability to work collegially with faculty, staff and students
  • Special skills
    • CPR/FA/ AED certification (current)
    • NSCA / CSCS / USAW certification
  • Provide three professional references
  • All assistant report to Graduate coordinator and Department Chair.
Physical Demand and Work Environment: (Must be performed with or without reasonable accommodations)
  • Classroom, playground and/or other outdoor environments
  • Lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling light to moderately heavy objects up to 35 pounds
  • Dexterity of arm, shoulders, hands, and fingers to demonstrate activities or games
  • Walking, running, and jumping
  • Hearing and speaking to exchange information
  • Seeing to observe students
  • Bending at the waist, kneeling or crouching to assist students
  • Standing for extended periods of time
  • Exposure to climatic elements and intermittent noise
  • Potential for contact with bloodborne pathogens and communicable diseases
Tuition Waiver Benefit

Graduate assistants receive a waiver of tuition (upon receipt of a signed contract) for the period of appointment plus a maximum of one summer session adjacent to (preceding or following) the employment period. If eligible, the summer tuition waiver is automatically applied for the summer following the end of the contract period; students must notify the Graduate School at the time of signing a fall contract if they choose to use it the preceding summer. The waiver does not include insurance costs or student fees. Tuition waivers may be revoked if the assistant does not fulfill the original terms of the contract. Tuition waivers are not prorated.

Tuition Waiver Taxation

Per Internal Revenue Service regulations (IRC 127), taxes will be withheld on graduate assistant tuition waiver amounts exceeding $5,250 in the calendar year (January-December). Research, teaching support, and teaching assistant tuition waivers are exempt from taxation under current tax laws. For more information, please visit or contact the School of Graduate Studies.

Payroll Schedule

Full paychecks for fall contracts with semester-long employment dates will be issued in October, November, December, and January. There are five paychecks issued to those with spring semester-long contracts: 1/2 check in February; full checks in March, April and May; and 1/2 check in June. Payday is the first of the month unless that day is a weekend or holiday, in which case payday will be the weekday before the first. Assistants are required to participate in direct deposit of wages using the financial institution of their choice.

WIU Eligibility Requirements

Students must meet all of the conditions listed below in order to hold an assistantship position:

  1. Must have a graduate assistantship application on file in the Graduate School. Please note that individual hiring areas may require additional application materials or processes.
  2. Must be a degree-seeking graduate student regularly accepted into a master’s, specialist, or doctoral program. Probationary, non-degree, post-baccalaureate certificate, and second bachelor’s degree students are not eligible to hold assistantship positions.
  3. Must maintain a 3.0 or higher graduate GPA once graduate-level courses have been completed.
  4. Master's level students must be enrolled in at least nine semester hours of graduate coursework or undergraduate deficiencies if holding a graduate, teaching support, or research assistant position for fall/spring; or at least six semester hours if holding a teaching assistant position for fall/spring; or three semester hours for summer (any position). Doctoral students must be enrolled in at least six semester hours of graduate coursework to hold any classification of assistantship position for fall/spring or three semester hours for summer. If it is the assistant's last semester of coursework (as verified by the degree plan), it is acceptable to be registered for only the remaining required courses.
  5. Sign an assistantship contract and complete all required employment paperwork including a background check.
Employment Requirements

All graduate assistants must complete an Authorization for Deposit of Recurring Payment form which allows assistants to receive monthly stipends electronically from WIU. Additionally, if this is the student's first period of employment at WIU or if changes are necessary, an Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) form and an Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate (W-4) must be completed in the Graduate School within three days of the contract's begin date.

The Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (Act)(325 ILCS 5/4) mandates that all personnel of higher education institutions, including graduate assistants, report cases of suspected child abuse or neglect to the Department of Children and Family Services' (DCFS) toll-free, 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE (22873). Effective July 13, 2012, the Act requires any person who enters into State of Illinois higher education employment to sign a statement on a form prescribed by DCFS to affirm that the employee has knowledge and understanding of the reporting requirements of the Act. The statement, Acknowledgement of Mandated Reporter Status, must be completed via STARs prior to a contract being written.

Western Illinois University endeavors to provide a safe environment for its employees and students and requires candidates to submit to a background investigation upon offer of employment. Employment is contingent upon compliance with University policies and procedures relating to the receipt and evaluation of information contained in the background investigation.

All graduate assistants under contract to the University will be assessed the student health insurance fee. A brochure explaining the coverage of the student health insurance program is available at the Student Health Insurance Office, lower level of Beu Health Center, (309) 298-1882. Student health insurance may be waived if the student provides proof of equal or better deductible.

Graduate assistants must adhere to the same standards of professional ethics as permanent employees. All graduate assistants must comply with The State Officials and Employees Ethics Act (5ILCS 430/5-10) by completing the annual online training. Prior to a contract being written, newly hired assistants must review the WIU Ethics Orientation for Employees document and electronically submit the signature/certification page. The document is available on STARS under Employee Compliance.

All graduate assistants are required to complete online sexual harassment prevention training in accordance with the Illinois Human Rights Act and in support of the University's sexual misconduct policy. This training is administered by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. Students will receive a personalized training link in their WIU email account. This training needs to be completed within 30 days of hire.

In accordance with state statute, teaching assistants engaged in oral instruction in the classroom should be people who possess adequate competence in spoken English (unless the language of instruction is not English). For students whose native language is not English, this competence must be evaluated by the department chair. Certification of such evaluation is required on the Graduate Assistant Contract Request which the department chair must submit to the Graduate School.

Teaching assistants are required to complete training on the WIUP University Information Management Systems (MVS) so they are able to enter grades online for the courses which they are assigned to teach.  It is the responsibility of the teaching assistant to contact the Office of Human Resources ((309)298-1971 or room 105, Sherman Hall) to schedule the training.

It is recommended by the Graduate School that graduate assistants not hold employment other than the assistantship.

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