Our Philosophy

Our Philosophy on the Role of Graduate Assistants

Loyola’s mission is to provide all of its students with a transformative education. Graduate assistants engaged in teaching and research advance this mission as part of their education and through their academic relationship with Loyola. Their role not only helps create a campus culture rich in scholarship, research, teaching, and mentorship, but it also enables them to gain valuable experience that their future employers are looking for. This makes them categorically students and not Loyola employees.

Consistent with Loyola’s Jesuit, Catholic mission, which includes the principle of service to others, our graduate assistant programs provide students with the mentorship and experience to allow them to thrive academically and to eventually become leading professors, researchers, and scholars in their own right. In support of their professional academic training, Loyola provides its graduate assistants engaged in teaching and research with a competitive package of financial and learning and development support.

Our graduate assistants pursue academia in the context of Loyola’s distinct mission and values. They embody and employ a Jesuit pedagogy, which is person-centered and society-centered, and which empowers and transforms. Students at this level are encouraged to refine and test their calling, and to reflect continually on the questions “for whom” and “for what” as they prepare for their careers. In their teaching and research, they are encouraged to ask: How will this contribute to or impact the communities that it serves? How might it contribute to society and to social justice?

We select graduate assistants as students, and they are admitted to a graduate program based on their academic profile and potential for successful graduate studies—not on the basis of any employment-related qualifications. A student’s choice of where to seek graduate school admission is based, in large part, on the reputation and accomplishments of faculty with whom they could study and from whom they could learn by engaging in research and teaching.

Graduate students are offered assistantships in teaching or research as part of their academic program of study, and they receive financial support and learning and development support awards—not “wages.”

Graduate assistants are neither hired nor employed by the University; they enroll in graduate school to continue or complete their education. Where they perform teaching or research assignments, they are furthering their own learning and developing the skills to become teachers or researchers in their own right. Their primary role is academic. The degree awarded at the end of a graduate education is based on academic standards.

In summary, graduate assistants are students in every sense of the word, and to treat them as “employees” would adversely impact the fundamental, core aspects of the relationship between Loyola students and faculty and the manner in which Loyola structures and delivers its transformative education, including what courses to offer and what teaching methods to use.