All students are required to precept at least once in order to acquire valuable teaching experience. The application deadline is mid-March for the fall term; mid-November for the spring term.
The Graduate School does not generally permit first-year students 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. Each term, the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning provides an AI (Assistant in Instruction) orientation for students who have never precepted. Faculty instructors are encouraged to write evaluations of their preceptors.
We know in advance that some courses will require preceptors. A good example is Art 100. However even in this case, we do not know in advance how many preceptors will be needed. In the case of other courses 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. When applying to precept, students must have their advisers send a supporting note.
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.