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Graduate Assistants (GA) help Special Collections achieve its mission by working on archival processing and description, digital capture and metadata projects, and outreach initiatives including exhibitions and lesson plan development. In consultation with the Director of Special Collections, GAs will work on projects based on the students’ learning objectives and how the assistantship would meet the applicant’s career goals as well as unit needs. Students who successfully complete projects in Special Collections gain important transferable skills and exposure to professional software applications and data management strategies that help prepare them for further study or careers in a wide range of fields, including English, Psychology, Public Administration, Criminal Justice, and Education.

The Special Collections Graduate Assistantship spans the 2019-2020 academic year during the Fall and Spring semesters with the possibility of renewal for the 2020-2021 academic year. Graduate Assistants are expected to work 20 hours/week for a total of 280 hours/semester. The successful applicant will be awarded a $4500 stipend and a maintenance fee waiver of $4225 each semester.

Information about graduate assistantships, including eligibility and requirements to remain eligible is available on the Graduate School’s Opportunities of Assistantships and Internships page.

Duties and Qualifications

Assistantship duties may include:

  • arranging and describing archival collections;
  • authoring biographical and historical notes that provide context for archival materials;
  • creating finding aids in compliance with Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) and local practices using ArchivesSpace;
  • assist in scholarly communication and Affordable Course Materials Initiative (ACMI) projects by gathering and reporting data;
  • collaborate on the creation of instructional materials related to scholarly communication topics like publishing, open access, and copyright;
  • conducting oral history interviews;
  • transcribing audio and video assets;
  • using scanners and cameras to digitize archival materials and rare books;
  • creating descriptive metadata and developing digital collections using CONTENTdm;
  • applying controlled vocabularies, including LCSH, LCNAF, AAT, and, to describe digital objects;
  • curating web and physical exhibitions;
  • authoring lesson plans for K-12 audiences;
  • conducting research and writing narratives for grant applications;
  • and developing Buzzfeed quizzes, blog posts, and other outreach initiatives.

Required qualifications include:

  • ability to work independently and produce high quality, thorough, and accurate work;
  • strong organizational, analytical and problem-solving skills as well as demonstrated initiative and adaptability;
  • working knowledge of office productivity suites, such as Microsoft Office and Google Drive;
  • effective written and oral communication skills;
  • ability to follow detailed written instructions;
  • and ability to work 20 hours/week during Special Collections’ hours of operation.


Interested parties should apply for a Graduate Assistantship in Special Collections for the 2019-2020 academic year by submitting a cover letter, resume, and application to the Director of Special Collections, Carolyn Runyon, at

The cover letter should provide a description of the applicant’s relevant experience and expertise and address what the applicant hopes to gain from the assistantship, including learning objectives and how the assistantship would meet the applicant’s career goals. The cover letter should also describe how they would like to positively contribute to the mission of Special Collections. We encourage all applicants to think broadly about what they hope to accomplish in their practical experiences and pitch projects such as curating exhibits, processing collections, authoring finding aids, drafting records management policies, creating a digital preservation plan, developing programming, or creating curriculum maps, lesson plans, and research guides.