Responsibilities of Hiring Units

Assistantships at UWM are governed by many overlapping and collaborating units, starting with the program or department hiring the assistant, but also including the Graduate School, the Office of Research, the Center for International Education, Financial Aid, the Bursar, and the Office of Human Relations. This section is designed to help all assistants better understand where to direct questions or concerns. The Graduate School maintains a general inbox for questions about all assistantships. If students or programs are in doubt about where to turn, start by writing to

Hiring Program or Unit

The program, department, or administrative unit hiring a Graduate Assistant is responsible for issuing the Letter of Offer to hire an assistant, setting up payroll, and supervising the assistant. The hiring unit will be the main point of contact for all assistants, and most questions or concerns should be directed there first. Depending on the question or issue, an assistant’s contact within the hiring program or unit might be a faculty supervisor or an administrative staff member who manages business matters or graduate studies for the program.

Graduate School

The Graduate School maintains and publicizes all university policies and procedures related to Graduate Assistants, and updates and communicates information about stipend rates. It monitors enrollment status for assistants. It also enforces faculty governance policies affecting both students and programs related to matters such as maximum employment levels and the combination of assistantships with fellowships. The Graduate School’s dean is also involved in assisting the Office of Human Relations in managing some steps of the Graduate Assistant Employment Grievance Procedure. (See Eligibility for Assistantships section.)

Financial Aid

Assistantships do not generally impact financial aid eligibility, but assistantships are often combined with other scholarships, such as Chancellor’s Awards, which can affect financial aid eligibility. Graduate Assistants who have financial aid, such as student loans, may need to consult UWM’s Financial Aid office. For more information, visit the One-Stop Enrollment and Financial Services page.

Center for International Education (CIE)

International students must comply with Federal Immigration Law to work in the United States, including the requirement to have an approved I-9 on file. Programs will generally help international assistants access CIE, but if in doubt international assistants should ensure they meet all requirements by consulting CIE’s International Students and Scholars office.

Office of Research

UWM’s Office of Research maintains and publishes stipend tiers for Research Assistants and assists programs in the appointing and oversight of Research Assistants. The Office of Research is often the best place for programs and students to turn with questions about stipend rates for Research Assistants or federal rules that might impact the appointments.

Bursar’s Office

The Bursar’s Office manages the routine financial affairs, including payroll, for the university. Graduate Assistants will not usually need to consult the Bursar, except in rare cases such as those where overpayment or underpayment needs to be rectified. For more information, visit the One-Stop Enrollment and Financial Services page.

Office of Human Resources

Even though the individual hiring program or unit appoints most Graduate Assistants, their appointment will be processed by UWM’s “HR” office, and likely will be managed by an HR Assistant or HR Business Partner delegated to the hiring program or unit. Graduate Assistants typically do not need to work with HR directly, except in rare cases such the need to rectify errors related to pay or the payment period. Even in those cases, assistants will usually work through staff in their hiring program or unit. However, the Office of Human Resources also oversees the Graduate Assistant Employment Grievance procedure. (See Section 1.5.)