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 generally work about 10 hrs/week, depending upon the needs of the course they support. LAs are paid $11 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 (ex: LAs do not grade, but do plan questioning strategies to guide students through assignments)
- 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
Specific LA roles vary by course. 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. In 2020-2021, LAs fulfilled the following types of roles:
- 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 (on a limited basis)
For additional information about the LA program, click here.
- Generally speaking, LAs need to have previously taken the course for which they serve as an LA (or they have completed an approved equivalent)
- Students may serve as an LA for a course that they have not previously taken, IF they do not intend to take that course in the future, and IF the instructor grants approval.
- Students may NOT serve as an LA for a course that they are taking concurrently, even if there are different instructors involved.
- Summer LA positions are ONLY available to returning LAs. LAs must be matriculated (degree-seeking) U of U undergraduates, but they do NOT need to be enrolled in Summer courses. They DO need to be enrolled for the following Fall.
- Fall/Spring LAs must be matriculated (degree-seeking) U of U undergraduates who are enrolled in courses (taking 3 credits or more).
- Post-baccalaureate students who are NOT enrolled in a graduate program may be considered for LA positions that receive relatively few applicants (e.g. some upper level courses), although currently matriculated/enrolled U of U undergraduates will receive priority consideration.
Questions? Please reach out to email@example.com.
Apply to be a Fall LA (application cycle is April 19-May 9)
–> Fall 2021 application cycle: April 19-May 9 (new AND returning LAs are eligible to apply)
The Fall application will be posted here on April 19.
Before applying, please review program information at csme.utah.edu/la.
Applicants should prepare to complete the application. It takes time to complete, and asks for the following information:
- Contact information
- Major, GPA, anticipated graduation date
- Evidence of previous courses taken – DARS Report (find a video here about how to get a DARS report)
- A written explanation of your interest in being an LA (< 300 words)
- A written statement about your relevant experience (< 300 words)
- Schedule availability, including your Summer 2021 and/or Fall 2021 class schedule
- Commitment to enroll in the FREE pedagogy course, SCI 5050 (for new LAs)
- Commitment to complete program orientation (for all LAs).
- OPTIONAL: Name of faculty member or instructor who will submit a recommendation form on your behalf. This recommendation is OPTIONAL FOR ALL APPLICANTS. If you choose to request a recommendation form, it is due by March 31 (for Summer) for May 9 (for Fall). We strongly suggest that you give the faculty/instructor who is completing the form as much advance notice as possible. See below for additional information:
- Recommenders may be from the University of Utah, or any institution where you have been recently enrolled.
- Please note that recommendations are handled only via the recommendation form; NO SEPARATE RECOMMENDATION LETTERS ARE ACCEPTED
- Recommendation submissions are due at the same time as applications: March 31 (for Summer ’21 positions) or May 9 (for Fall /21 positions)
- When asking a faculty member/instructor to complete a recommendation form, students should send the recommender a completed FERPA release form along with a link to the recommendation form.
Trainings & Campus Resources for Existing LAs
Campus Resource Guide
Please click here for a directory of available campus resources LAs may use as a reference in their work with undergraduate students here at the U. Resources include:
- Financial, food or housing insecurity
- Health and wellness
- Disability accommodation
- Child care assistance
- Safe U Resources for sexual or interpersonal violence, harassment, or discrimination
- Campus support centers and student groups
- Crisis services
Optional Online Training