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How to Apply

To apply, students must complete the steps below:

Apply through Job ID: 194633

Please upload the following documents as one PDF document with your application: (1) a cover letter, and (2) CV (including names of two faculty references).

The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experiences that directly relate to this position. If you have held a GSI position at U-M, as part of your cover letter please provide the course title, number, term, and faculty instructor for each course taught. Please also attach E&E summary sheets for the U-M courses where you have been a GSI.

Posting begin date:  February 23, 2021

Posting end date:  March 9, 2021

Notification date:  March 31, 2021

Applicants may request status of his or her application at any time.

Course Description

From the earliest times as a state, the polities of the East Slavs, and, later, Russia attempted to find a way in a competitive international environment despite disadvantages and challenges. Even as it became the largest country in the world (by territory), the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union were confronted by rival states that threatened -- and felt threatened by -- the colossus that stretched from central Europe to the Pacific Ocean.

Russia's history is of radical social experiments, the rise of a Great Power, and then the descent into defeat. Yet, this is the country that provided an influential model of a kind of state socialism, and it played a key role in the defeat Nazi Germany, before becoming one of the great antagonists of the Cold War.

Another striking paradigm is that Russia, always “late to the table” in European culture, and so different from Western-European cultural patterns, has, despite (perhaps, in part, because of) its evident disadvantages and its frequent claim of a distinct path, made stunning and very original contributions to world literature, music, and the arts.

This course explores the extraordinary history of the East Slavs before modern times, then of the Russian Empire, later of the Soviet Union, and now of today’s Russian Federation, with some reference to the fourteen other states that emerged in 1991 from the collapse of the Union: Ukraine, Belarus’,  the countries of “Central Asia”, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Baltic republics.

The course is interdisciplinary; the story is told from different perspectives, through the lenses of a number of invited lecturers from various departments and schools, bringing together the methodologies of the Social Sciences and the Humanities.

Michael Makin, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, will direct the course and give the core lectures. Discussions, films, and readings will contribute to the understanding of a much misunderstood part of the world.

The humorist Will Rogers once said, "Russia is a country that no matter what you say about it, it's true. Even if it's a lie, it's true. If it's about Russia." Come and find out what really is true and what might be false about the country that Winston Churchill famously called "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."

Appointment period:  Fall Term, 2021

Course name: REEES 395 - Russia and the Soviet Union: Reform, Revolution, and the Socialist Experiment

Lecture meets Tue/Thu 4-5:30 pm.  See the Fall Term LSA course guide schedule for details.

FTE:  Two positions at 0.50 FTE


  • GSIs will attend all lectures and films;
  • Lead 2 discussion sections per week;
  • Grade assignments and exams (with faculty oversight);
  • Assist in preparation of exams and lecture materials;
  • Hold weekly office hours;
  • Be available over email to students and the instructor and assist students in case they have questions pertaining to the course;
  • Meet regularly with the course instructor.

Required Qualifications*

Applicants must be in good standing in a University of Michigan graduate degree program and be eligible for a graduate student instructorship or staff assistantship.

Desired Qualifications*

Priority will be given to applicants who have an academic background on Russia/Former Soviet Union and knowledge of a language of the region, and who intend to pursue an academic career (including teaching) focused on the region. Strong preference will be given to applicants who are continuing full-time students who have prior experience as a GSI.

Contact Information

Please address applications to Professor Michael Makin. Send inquiries to

Decision Making Process

A CREES faculty committee will review the applications and select the GSIs on or before March 31, 2021. All GSI appointments are subject to administrative approval.

Selection Process

A CREES faculty committee will review the applications and select the GSIs on or before March 31, 2021. All GSI appointments are subject to administrative approval.

GEO Contract Information

The University will not discriminate against any applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, marital status, familial status, parental status or pregnancy status, sex, gender identity or expression (whether actual or perceived), sexual orientation, age, height, weight, disability, citizenship status, veteran status, HIV antibody status, political belief, membership in any social or political organization, participation in a grievance or complaint whether formal or informal, medical conditions including those related to pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, arrest record, or any other factor where the item in question will not interfere with job performance and where the employee is otherwise qualified. The University of Michigan agrees to abide by the protections afforded employees with disabilities as outlined in the rules and regulations which implement Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Information for the Office for Institutional Equity may be found at and for the University Ombuds at

Unsuccessful applications will be retained for consideration in the event that there are last minute openings for available positions. In the event that an employee does not receive their preferred assignment, they can request a written explanation or an in-person interview with the hiring agents(s) to be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time.

This position, as posted, is subject to a collective bargaining agreement between the Regents of the University of Michigan and the Graduate Employees' Organization, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO 3550.

Standard Practice Guide 601.38, Required Disclosure of Felony Charges and/or Felony Convictions applies to all Graduate Student Assistants (GSAs). SPG 601.38 may be accessed online at , and its relation to your employment can be found in MOU 10 of your employment contract.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.