Learning Assistant Program

LA Program Overview

This innovative program engages undergraduates in classroom teaching and learning while helping them develop their teaching, leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills. At Rutgers-New Brunswick, the LA Program is a partnership between the Learning Centers and several academic department. The program is modeled after a similar program developed at the University of Colorado. Other institutions with LA Programs are listed on the Learning Assistant Alliance website.

For questions about the LA Program, please contact Dr. Corey Ptak (Director of Integrated Academic Support Programs) or Sari Katzen (Program Coordinator of Integrated Academic Support Programs).

The Role of Learning Assistants

  • Assist in the classroom through various means: facilitating discussions and workshops during lectures, team-teaching recitation or laboratory sections with a graduate teaching assistant, or independently leading supplemental study groups or recitations.
  • Paid a stipend of up to $1,500 each semester they participate in the LA Program
  • Assigned to 160 minutes of contact time with students in labs, lectures, recitations, or study groups each semester
  • Co-enroll in a 3-credit, 300-level pedagogy course (Peer Instruction Education) only during their first semester as an LA
  • Attend weekly staff meetings led by faculty teaching the course
  • Participate in professional development workshops offered by the Learning Centers each semester

Frequently Asked Questions

What will I do if I become a Learning Assistant?

  • LAs lead and facilitate discussions with small groups of students in lectures, recitations, labs, or study group sessions and are assigned to 160 minutes of contact time with students during the semester.
  • In some courses, LAs work as a team with a course instructor or graduate student and need to use effective questioning skills to engage all students in meaningful group work.
  • Co-enroll in the Peer Instructor Education course – LAs will participate in a 3-credit, 300-level course sponsored by Rutgers Undergraduate Education that is designed to help them understand how people learn and help them develop their teaching and leadership skills.
  • Participate in the Assessment Program – LAs will be expected to participate in the assessment of this program through interviews and questionnaires. The data from these assessments will help the Learning Centers improve and further develop this program and explore additional ways to provide academic support for our students.
  • Participate in a Learning Community – LAs are also part of a larger community of teachers and learners at Rutgers. To foster a sense of community, they will be invited to participate in many events including seminars, dinners, social events, and planning sessions. LAs are important members of the development team and their comments and involvement are essential to the improvement and success of the Program.

What are the benefits of becoming a Learning Assistant?

  • The LA positions are paid positions, which will allow students to earn additional income while developing their own skills and understanding. LAs are paid up to $1,500 each semester they participate.
  • Participation in the program helps LAs develop communication and group facilitation skills.
  • LAs will have a unique opportunity to work closely with faculty and staff in their fields. LAs will have the opportunity to participate in seminars and training sessions with some of the top university research faculty who are interested in teaching and learning.
  • LAs will have a unique opportunity to meet and work with other students, and to help other students succeed in their courses.

Who can be a Learning Assistant? What courses are available?

Candidates should be in good academic standing, and have earned an A or B+ in course in which they will serve as a learning assistant. The ability to work with small groups and good administrative skills are required.

Please visit our Partnering Courses page to view the courses in which LAs are staffed for recent and upcoming academic years. Check back each semester as new courses may be added.

Where can I find more information about other Learning Assistant Programs?

Professional Development

Learning assistants participate in on-going professional development throughout their participation in the LA Program.

  • LAs attend weekly staff meetings with faculty, course instructors, and TAs in their assigned course
  • LAs participate in peer leader trainings through the Learning Centers
  • During their first semester in the program, LAs must co-enroll in a 3-credit, 300-level pedagogy course (Peer Instruction Education, 01:090:322)
    • In the pedagogy course, LAs are trained to facilitate learning and engage students in scientific discourse, rather than act as experts who have knowledge that needs to be transmitted to the student. Course topics include learning theory, cooperative learning, questioning techniques, and activity design.
  • Every semester in the program, LAs are observed in their lecture, recitation, or study group assignment as part of their formal job evaluation. 

Get Involved

Faculty

If you are interested in the LA Program, request a meeting (individual or with colleagues) with Dr. Corey Ptak, Director of Integrated Academic Support Programs, to discuss potential opportunities and strategies for partnering with the LA Program and utilizing learning assistants in your course to help facilities active and collaborative learning.

Meet Current and Previous LAs

If you are currently a learning assistant (or if you were a learning assistant in the past), please provide us with your current contact information so that we can maintain our alumni database records. (Note: the password to complete the contact info survey is laprogram)