The LA Model

The Learning Assistant (LA) Model targets introductory science and mathematics courses to:

  • To recruit and prepare talented math and science majors for careers in teaching
  • To engage math and science faculty in the recruitment and preparation of future teachers
  • To improve the quality of math and science education for all undergraduates
  • To transform departmental cultures to value research-based teaching for ourselves and for our students

With the aid of the LAs, the transformation of introductory science and mathematics courses involves creating environments in which students can interact with one another, engage in collaborative problem solving, and articulate and defend their ideas. At the same time, the undergraduate LAs engage in live teaching experiences (while being paid), and thus decide if teaching will be part of their future career. Students that elect to continue will enroll in top quality teacher preparation programs and are eligible for $10,000 Noyce Fellowships. Support continues as the teacher enters the classroom, through an established professional community of practice.

Hallmarks of the LA program include:

  • The focus on teacher recruitment and preparation
  • An introductory seminar targeted at helping LAs integrate content, pedagogy, and practice
  • A collaborative educational research program to evaluate the effects of the LA model
  • The involvement of science and mathematics research faculty in recruitment and preparation of teachers

LAs are paid approximately $1,500 per semester to work approximately 10 hours per week in various aspects of course transformation.