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Doctoral Student Manual

Professional Activities


The doctoral student should engage in university teaching while in the doctoral program. Teaching can be in the form of a teaching assistant or co-teaching. In special cases, the doctoral student may be assigned as the lead instructor for a course. Teaching assistants assist faculty with day-to-day course management. Activities may include grading, online course management, designing class activities, class management, hosting office hours, and delivering some lectures. Students who co-teach take additional responsibilities that include syllabus design, planning instruction, delivering course content, additional grading, and managing the classroom environment.

Teaching Assistant Orientation


All doctoral students serving as a teaching assistant for a special education course must attend a COE Teaching Assistant Orientation Session held at the beginning of the first semester of their program. The Council on Teacher Education website provides information and support for teaching.  

English Proficiency Interview (EPI)

The University requires a high level of English proficiency for everyone involved in teaching. To ensure that Illinois Teaching Assistants have a successful teaching experience, Illinois’ policy requires the following: International and non-native English-speaking graduate students must demonstrate oral English proficiency prior to being appointed as classroom instructors. This includes TA appointments for face-to-face classes, blended and online instruction, accompanying/coaching, and office hours. For more information, please see the Oral English Assessment (EPI) website.


The immediate supervisor evaluates Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, and Trainees in the Department of Special Education each semester. The completed electronic evaluation is shared with the student and a copy of the signed evaluation is kept in the student’s permanent file. Assistantship and traineeship evaluations are taken into consideration when students are being recommended for continued funding.

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