Who should consider applying to be an STA?
Each course that opts into the STA program is assigned 1-2 STAs. STAs identify societal issues relevant to their designated course, communicate with course staff, study the course structure, and develop an integration plan for social/political/ethics material. Before and throughout the semester, STAs work with course staff to design, create, grade, and collect feedback on ethics content for their course. Each course is expected to touch on responsible computing multiple times during the semester, at least once as part of a graded assignment, with coverage starting earlier in the semester (rather than as an add-on at the end).
In the past, STAs have embedded content in lectures, labs, homework, projects, and discussion sections. The role of the STA varies by course, depending on the maturity of the SRC content – some courses have well-established content which has been refined over the course of several semesters, while courses that are STAed for the first time have no or little existing content at all – as well as the preferences of course staff. Some professors already have well-developed ideas for content, assignments, and activities that they ask the STAs to implement. Others rely on STAs to generate ideas themselves. STAs always grade or guide the grading of socially responsible computing assignments.
Beyond individual course development, STAs meet as a group throughout the semester for several tasks relevant to the entire program, like discussing learning goals and grading practices, reviewing each other's content, and planning whole program changes.
The program is looking for students with a genuine interest in aspects of socially responsible computing, and who want to work closely with course staff to develop content connecting the technical material in their class to its social context. Professors and Head-STAs don’t expect STA applicants to be experts but are interested in seeing how applicants have engaged with or thought about dimensions of socially responsible computing in the past. You should feel ready to expand and refine your knowledge, and share it with others. If this sounds like you, please apply! If you are still wondering if becoming an STA is right for you, feel free to get in touch with the Head-STAs (HSTAs) or with Julia Netter.
Submitting your application
The STA hiring process runs parallel to UTA hiring. You can find more information about the application logistics, including the current hiring timeline here.
Once STA applications have closed, you will be contacted by the HSTAs with information to guide you through the pre-interview process.
- As a first step, you will be asked to fill in a general STA application questionnaire which asks about your SRC-related interests and skills and how you would apply them concretely in the context of one of the courses you are applying to. It makes sense to spend a bit of time (around 30 minutes) thinking about your answers since they will be the basis for your interview (see next step). That said, since you will have the opportunity to elaborate on your ideas, your answers can and should be concise and to the point.
- Please note that some (not all) courses will ask you to submit a questionnaire as well. This is a separate part of the process and you need to complete both the course-specific and the general STA application questionnaire in order for your application to proceed. In some cases, both kinds of questionnaires may ask for similar information and it is fine if your responses are similar as well.
After the pre-screening process, you will be asked to sign up for an interview with the SRC program team (the HSTAs and program coordinators). This interview will focus on your SRC-related experience and goals for the course(s) you applied to. You should be prepared to talk in more detail about your answers on the pre-screening form.
Some courses will conduct additional, separate interviews for STAs in addition to the interview by the STA leadership team. In those cases, the HTAs of the courses you have applied to STA for will contact you to schedule the additional interview.
In order to be considered for an STA position for a course that conducts course-specific interviews, you must attend both the course-specific interview and the general STA interview.
Combined UTA-STA Position
If you have applied to be both an STA and UTA, you should be hearing back regarding interviews from the HTAs of the courses you’ve applied to UTA for, as well as the Head STAs. Your interview with the course staff will be a regular UTA interview; however, your course staff will know that you’ve also applied to STA and may or may not choose to ask you more specific questions about the STA role. Your interview with the HSTAs will focus on your goals as an STA for the course(s) you have applied to (as described in the interview procedure above).
If you have applied to UTA or STA for more than one course, keep in mind that you will only be allowed to accept both a UTA and STA offer if they are for the same course. You will not be allowed to UTA for one course and to STA for a different course.