All students are encouraged to precept at least once in order to acquire valuable teaching experience. The application deadline is mid-May for the fall term; early January for the spring term.
Normally first-year students are not encouraged to precept, but there may be exceptions. Students who do precept are offered a one-time reduction in their course load, equivalent to one course. Preceptors must be present and available throughout the entire semester to assist with teaching and grading. Preceptors may not take the originals of student written work away from Princeton. Each term, the Graduate School provides an AI workshop for students who have never precepted. Faculty instructors are encouraged to write evaluations of their preceptors.
The process that leads to precepting assignments is a complex one, involving variables and unknowns (enrollment size), and three criteria that are potentially in conflict with one another: student interest, faculty interest, and funding issues. The important point to stress, however, is that the eventual decision is made by the faculty course instructor.
We know in advance that some courses will require preceptors. A good example is Art 101. However even in this case, we do not know in advance how many preceptors will be needed. In the case of other courses (Art 320 would be an example) we only know whether preceptors will be needed after the undergraduates have pre-registered.
Well in advance of pre-registration, all enrolled graduate students are asked whether they are interested in precepting. At this time they are given a list of courses to be offered in the next term which we know will need preceptors. When pre-registration figures justify it, students are advised of any additional courses that may require preceptors.
It is important to understand that students have to apply in order to be considered. The pool of preceptors for each course is determined by the students who indicate their interest on the application. For example, if a student checks Art 320, but not Art 101, he or she is not considered for Art 101. When applying to precept, students must have their advisors send a supporting note.
The role of the Graduate Office is limited to distributing applications to the graduate students and furnishing individual instructors with the information that appears on the application forms. If requested, the Chair, Department Manager, or DGS may offer advice to a faculty member regarding precept assignments, but they do not make the decisions that assign students to precepts in specific courses; those decisions are made by the instructor responsible for the course.