Apply to have a Learning Assistant help with your course this fall!
Faculty Course Applications for Spring 2024 are now open with a priority deadline of Dec. 17, and rolling admissions thereafter.
Open to all CNS faculty, lecturers and tenure-line are all encouraged to apply.
Faculty should read below to learn more about the program, what being a Learning Assistant entails, and how to apply to get an LA for their course(s). Students can learn more about their application process on the student Learning Assistant page. Student applications open on Dec. 18 with reviews starting as early as Dec. 20.
The priority timeline is extremely compressed this term due to the combination of delays in course assignments in many departments and the continued delays in student hiring at the beginning of each term. While applications will continue to be accepted as long as space remains, faculty and students should understand and expect that HR is likely to take weeks to complete the hiring process and students cannot work during that time, even if classes have already begun.
Learning Assistant Faculty Learning Community Opportunity
For the second year, we are running a year-long Learning Assistant faculty learning community (FLC) with a $3000 stipend for those interested in investigating effective teaching practices that are effectively supported by learning assistants in and out of the classroom. This community started in Fall 2023 and guarantees participants an LA for one of their courses. Those who are getting support from Supplemental Instruction (SI) or Peer Lab in Fall 2023 were also eligible for the Learning Assistant FLC and encouraged to apply.
What is a Learning Assistant?
A Learning Assistants are un Program supports undergraduate Learning Assistants, faculty, and students by transforming courses so that they are more closely aligned with research-based instructional strategies. The Learning Assistants (LAs) assist the faculty in creating a learner-centered environment by supporting faculty in the classroom, facilitating student discussions and understanding in both the classroom and in out-of-class sessions, and provide feedback to the faculty on the student experience. The LA program emphasizes “best practices” and provides diverse student support which are helpful for students at any level. An LA program is similar to the existing Supplemental Instruction and Peer Lab programs, and LAs get sustained professional development in effective pedagogies while working with their faculty instructors. The pedagogy course has been highlighted by students and faculty at CSUSB as one of the most important aspects contributing to student and LA success.
Why use a Learning Assistant?
Learning Assistants learn about teaching math and science while they are learning the math and science content more deeply. Research shows that Learning Assistant programs have multiple impacts:
- Students enrolled in the course and their Learning Assistants both learn the subject better.
- Faculty have assistance in the classroom to provide support for high-impact and evidence-based teaching strategies.
- Incorporating LAs in the classroom, especially in introductory courses, increases students sense of belonging and retention.
What do Learning Assistants do?
- Work directly with students, helping make courses more student-centered using interactive techniques
- This includes attending and assisting during scheduled class time.
- LAs also hold their own sessions for students outside of class time. Specifics on the amount of time, timing of sessions, and content of the sessions are course specific and can be found in the application or will be negotiated directly with the instructor.
- Take a 2-unit pedagogy course on interactive teaching techniques and education research.
- This course is generally schedule based on LAs availabilities.
- Meet weekly with the course instructor to discuss common student difficulties and upcoming activities. This is to be scheduled between you and the instructor.
What do Learning Assistants get?
- Paycheck! LAs are paid 10 hours/week for the academic term (~16 weeks). Current hourly rate is a minimum of $16/hr.
- LAs can opt to earn course credit in lieu of a paycheck
- Pedagogical content knowledge
- Learning how people learn both to help your students, but also to better understand your own learning
- Increased course content knowledge
- LAs generally better understand the course content after serving as an LA than before. Teaching is learning!
- Faculty mentorship through weekly faculty meetings
- An experiential learning program
- Learning how to teach within the context of an actual teaching experience. Great for those interested in teaching or planning to go to graduate school.
Who are selected to serve as Learning Assistants?
- Undergraduate students
- Recently completed the course they are being hired to support
- Not necessarily majoring in that discipline (i.e. a physics Learning Assistant can be a biology major, or a math Learning Assistant can be a Liberal Studies major)
- Chosen based on a combination of performance in the course and interest in teaching
How does the Learning Assistant application process work?
- If you haven't already created your learningassistantalliance.org account, please do so and make sure that you use your csusb.edu email address.
- Click on the sign-up button in the upper-right corner of the page.
- Select "I am a staff or faculty member of an academic institution."
- Click the CSUSB logo
- Fill out the information requested.
- It may take a day or two for your account to be activated.
- To apply, login to your faculty/staff account, click on LA Campus on the top header, then Course Proposals on the left-hand side, then Start Course Proposal.
- Follow the directions to submit your proposal for the class for which you are requesting an LA.
- Only include multiple courses or sections in a single proposal if you intend to have a single LA (or group of LAs) attend all of the classes listed. Also, LAs can only work 10 hours/week.
- Otherwise, list each course/section as a different application.
- Submit your proposal(s) for consideration. After proposals have been reviewed, you will be notified.
- Once the student application portal opens, students will begin to apply.
- You can review and rate student applications as they come in.
- Mark your preferred selection via the star ranking system, with more stars corresponding to preferred students.
- If the student application window has closed and you still don't have applicants, you can send a late application request to individual students that you have already connected with.
- Once the student application review window opens, faculty can request to interview applicants.
- The program will begin to asses your rankings and those of other faculty and classes to determine who to hire.
- You cannot send an offer to an LA yourself, as students often apply to more than one course and the program needs to balance the needs of all courses.
How do I recruit Learning Assistants for my course?
The best way to get students to apply is to reach out directly and individually to students. These could be students you know from a previous class, research, or from working with a student organization. You can talk with colleagues for their recommendations for potential students. You can use EAB/Navigate on MyCoyote to search for students who have previously taken the class, even if you weren't the instructor of record.
Secondary recruitment options are to email out to student organizations and those in current courses. Make sure you let them know there are courses in many departments and that they do not need to be majors to apply. Direct all students to the student Learning Assistant webpage for more information and to apply.
For more information about the national Learning Assistant program, developed at UC-Boulder, please see: https://learningassistantalliance.org.