What is a Learning Assistant (LA)?
Learning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduate peer facilitators who support student learning and evidence-based instructional practices. LAs are specifically trained to facilitate small-group student discussion and are focused on supporting students, rather than instructors.
LAs work between 5-10 hrs per week depending upon the needs of the course they support. LAs are paid a stipend based on $13 per hour. LAs also:
- Participate as members of an instructional team in courses which actively engage learners
- Facilitate students in small-group discussion during class time
- Focus on supporting learners, rather than instructors
- Meet with their instructional team (instructor, TAs, LAs) weekly
- Receive training in pedagogical theory and strategy as students in SCI 5050 – The Science of Learning (1-credit hour)
Ideally, at least 50% of LAs’ hired time will be spent facilitating student learning during required class time. New LAs will also spend an hour each week in a pedagogy course (SCI 5050). Roles for LAs are subject to change. LAs have fulfilled the following types of roles (which varied by course):
- Lecture (supporting students during lecture in breakout groups, Zoom chat, etc.)
- Lab (supporting students working on lab tasks in small groups)
- Discussion section (supporting students working in small groups; generally a required course component)
- Online facilitation (facilitating student interactions, such as on an online discussion board; generally an optional course component)
- Mentor hours (supporting students based on needs; offering technical support, directing students to resources, reaching out to unengaged students)
- Small group study (being available during a specified time for students to drop in for help; generally an optional course component and may include study hall, review session, etc.)
- Grading (tasking LAs with grading is discouraged, but it is permitted for a fraction of LA hours as long as the sum of all assignments they grade contributes less than 10% to a student’s total grade, and the instructor provides a detailed rubric for each assignment to be graded)
- For additional information about the LA program model, click here.
Request an LA
Request forms for spring 2023 semester open OCTOBER 1, 2022. All requests must be submitted by 11:59pm on October 15, 2022.
Thank you for your interest in utilizing Learning Assistants! Please contact your Department Coordinator to find out if Learning Assistants make sense for your course and your goals:
- Biology – Reneé Dawson
- Chemistry – Michael Gruenwald
- Math – Matt Cecil
- Physics – Tabitha Buehler
Recommend an LA
Please complete this recommendation form. The form contains simple checkboxes and the option to write an open-ended response. Please do not submit a letter, just the form.
You may wish to ask the student to complete a FERPA release for the recommendation. A release document is available here.
Contact LA Program Staff
The Learning Assistant program is a collaborative project between the College of Science and the Center for Science & Mathematics Education (CSME). For information specific to departments, please contact the departmental LA coordinators:
- Biology: Renee Dawson
- Chemistry: Michael Gruenwald
- Math: Matt Cecil
- Physics & Astronomy: Tabitha Buehler
For general inquiries about LAs and the LA program, contact the LA Program staff at the CSME:
- Education Director: Karie Christopher, Karie.Christopher@utah.edu
- LA Program Manager: Kendall Van Horssen, Kendall.VanHorssen@utah.edu
- Contact all LA Program staff: email@example.com