State of the Planet

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Apply to Be a Teaching Assistant in NYC and Rwanda

By Cari Shimkus

Teaching Assistant Position, Global Scholars Program: Rwanda

The Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development is looking for a teaching assistant to support all elements of the Global Scholars Program in NYC and Rwanda. The position will run Nov. 1, 2019 – Aug. 1, 2020, and has two stages:

  • Nov. 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020: 15-20 hours/week, including class time & office hours
    • Serve as TA for spring seminar, Climate Change: Resilience and Adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa
    • Help with evaluation of student applications from both Columbia and the U. of Rwanda, including contributing to admissions decisions, notifications, and early programmatic communications
    • Lead the planning for summer program logistics, including transportation, housing, and meals
    • Contribute to development of research projects to be conducted in summer 2020
    • Use electronic means to facilitate connections between Columbia and UR students
    • Finalize all planning elements for the summer course
    • Coordinate with Earth Institute and Office of Undergraduate Engagement to ensure all students are in compliance with Columbia’s International Travel Policy
  • June 1-July 31, 2020: full-time, including nights and weekends
    • Travel to Rwanda & Kenya to serve as a full-time TA (June 22-July 25). Live with Columbia & UR students in shared housing near campus
    • Serve as primary point of contact for students who might have questions or require assistance
    • Organize and participate in program-wide field trips, cultural activities, and group dinners
    • Assist faculty, including teaching, grading, and providing student support as needed


  • Current full-time graduate students at Columbia University, enrolled in a degree granting program
  • Must have studied abroad, visited or lived in Africa, preferably Rwanda
  • Background in policy, political science, and/or sustainable development; familiarity with climate change policy
  • Fluency in English required; proficiency in Kinyarwanda and/or French desired
  • Highly organized, attention to detail, savvy traveler, and responsive to frequent communication

A teaching assistant must fulfill the responsibilities as identified by the assigned supervising instructor while maintaining conduct of the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality. Working closely with undergraduate students, the TA for this course should be prepared to help with writing assignments and other course requirements. Additionally, the TA will assist with grading both written and oral work submitted by students. To facilitate smooth delivery of the course, the TA is expected to meet and coordinate with the instructor regularly, performing other course-related duties as assigned.


  • TA salary of $7000
  • Summer PA stipend of $4875
  • Round trip airfare NYC à Kigali à Nairobi à NYC
  • Housing, transportation, and most meals covered during the summer program

To Apply:

Submit cover letter and CV to Deadline: 5pm Friday, Oct. 11, 2019

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