I got in a dispute with a professor I TA'd for, and now my department is not giving me TAships. What should I do? I am required to teach more classes in my department in order to satisfy a graduation requirement. In addition I do not have research funding and I'm dependent on TAships to make money.

Nobody actually told me I wouldn't be allowed to TA again, but I suspect I have been blackballed by my department (and there's no way for me to know, since the application process is opaque, and they can just keep rejecting my applications without telling me why).

  • 9
    the application process is opaque — Yikes. Get out.
    – JeffE
    Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 22:16
  • Do you mind sharing what happened in the dispute with the professor?
    – Yasha
    Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 23:52
  • 3
    Have you tried talking to one or more professors whose classes you would like to TA? Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 0:04
  • 1
    If you have a union, this is exactly the sort of thing they're for. Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 2:43

2 Answers 2


I agree with the idea of asking, as suggested by @user6726. However, as a matter of general office politics I suggest a couple of refinements:

If you have an advisor, that is the first person to ask. If not, if there is someone with general administrative responsibility for graduate students, try them. You can always escalate to the department chair later if necessary.

Regardless of who you ask first, if you really are blackballed make them bring it up. You have a question along the lines of "I need more TA assignments for graduation, but have not got an assignment the last X cycles. What do I need to do to get an assignment?" That opens the discussion without accusing anyone of anything. If they tell you that you are never going to get another TA assignment then it is time to escalate to the department chair and your union, if any.

In a comment, I asked about talking to professors. Depending on the department's rules and customs, the professor who is responsible for a course will have some amount of influence over TA selection for the course. Even if you have been deliberately blackballed, asking a professor you do get along with about being a TA for one of that professor's courses may break the logjam.


The first thing would be to meet with the department chair to get the story. If that doesn't yield a satisfactory result, many universities have an appeals process, and you could call on that avenue. If teaching is an actual requirement, then they would need a pretty compelling reason to effectively terminate you without just cause and doing the Due Process thing, although this depends on the legal system in your country, of course. But you would have to be pretty blameless (e.g., if the dispute was over a significant error on your part as a teacher, that could be the end of the discussion).

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