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Two Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) positions have been funded through a One UT Collaboration Grant, the Tennessee Open and Affordable Course Materials (TOACM) grant. GRAs from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) and the University of Tennessee – Knoxville (UTK) will collaborate to complete the grant projects to create a system-wide open and affordable course materials web resource and form a system-wide Open and Affordable Course Materials Council. 

This grant project builds on the success of the Affordable Course Materials Initiative at UTC and UTK’s UT Open Textbook / OER Grant program. GRAs will become familiar with Open Educational Resources, Affordable Course Materials, and course affordability initiatives. GRAs will design and build a web resource to support the growth and development of UT System affordability initiatives and promote those initiatives. Experience with web development and/or knowledge of open education and course affordability topics is strongly preferred. 

In consultation with the project team and their campus-based direct supervisor, GRAs will work on grant projects structured around the student’s learning objectives and career goals as well as project needs. GRAs will gain important transferable skills and exposure to professional software applications, professional collaboration, the complex University of Tennessee System, 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.

Position Details

The Tennessee Open and Affordable Course Materials Grant Assistantship spans the 2020-2021 academic year during the Fall and Spring semesters. This is a one-year term position. Graduate Assistants are expected to work 20 hours/week for a total of 280 hours/semester. The successful applicant will be awarded a $6,000/semester stipend and maintenance fee waiver (nine hours per semester) for the fall and spring semesters.

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

Duties and Qualifications

The individual filling this GA position will collaborate closely with the individual filling a second Tennessee Open and Affordable Course Materials (TOACM) graduate research assistant (GA) position to perform the following tasks 

  • Develop structure and content for and build a web resource to publicize and promote Open and Affordable Educational Resources (OER/AER) initiatives at UT System institutions.
  • Facilitate communication for and organization of TOACM Council meetings, including developing agendas, taking notes, and communicating action items.
  • Complete self-paced training on OER/AER and UT System Institutions as assigned by the TOACM Project Team.
  • Research the availability and use of OER/AER at institutions in the UT System, including collection of use and impact data.
  • Assist in publicizing and promoting the identified instances of use of OER/AER in the UT System.
  • Research and keep current on developments and best practices in the field of OER/AER and open source educational tools and materials. 
  •  Identify and evaluate OER/AER and open source educational tools being used outside the UT System to recommend consideration of those materials in UT System institutions.
  • Curate and promote instructional and outreach materials related to OER/AER use and development for UT System faculty and staff.
  • Communicate with stakeholders across the UT System to identify OER/AER champions.
  • Be mentored and directed in their efforts by the TOACM Project Team, including meeting weekly with their campus-based direct supervisor and participating in Project Team meetings.
  • Produce quarterly reports of accomplishments, outstanding tasks, and potential barriers to their work. 
  • Assist Project Team with coordination of any events, training, webinars, and meetings.
  • Optional but not required opportunities for travel to OER conferences and meetings (pending funding, interest, availability); Additional (optional but not required) opportunities to participate and present and conferences and meetings

Required qualifications include:

  • Ability to work with a group and 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 to effectively interact with faculty and staff in a positive and professional manner;
  • Ability to prioritize and follow detailed written instructions within a multitask environment; and 
  • Ability to work 20 hours/week 

Preferred qualifications:

  • Experience in communication, program planning, advocacy, or student government. 
  • Knowledge of or interest in issues of access and equity in higher education
  • Knowledge of or interest in Open Educational Resources / affordable course content
  • Demonstrated web development skills and experience


Interested parties from both campuses should apply for a Graduate Assistantship for Tennessee Open and Affordable Course Materials for the 2020-2021 academic year by submitting a cover letter, resume, and application to University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Scholarly Communications Librarian, Rachel Fleming, at by Monday, July 20, 2020.

The cover letter should provide: 

  • A description of the applicant’s relevant experience and expertise
  • What the applicant hopes to gain from the assistantship, including learning objectives and how the assistantship would meet the applicant’s career goals. 
  • A description of how they would like to positively contribute to the project goals of advancing open and affordable course materials programs in the UT System

We encourage all applicants to think broadly about what they hope to accomplish in their practical experiences.