Undergraduate Learning Assistant (LA) Program

Want to find out when the application opens for future quarters?

Click here to add your name to a list of folks we will email when the application opens.

Do you not yet feel confident enough to be an LA?

You don't need to feel like an expert!

We often hear that LAs were hesitant to apply until a friend emphasized that they DON’T need to be content experts! You’re an LA, NOT a TA. 🙂

You get a LOT of support!

LAs get weekly meetings to review material and ask questions of fellow LAs and instructors. And you can always ask a TA for help in section!

We especially love having LAs who struggled in the course!

If you struggled in your course, you’ll be able to better empathize with and support other struggling students.

BENEFITS OF THE LEARNING ASSISTANT (LA) PROGRAM

How Do LAs Benefit?

  1. LAs learn evidence-based teaching techniques in a weekly pedagogy seminar to help other students learn more effectively. LAs increase their course content knowledge, along with their communication and interpersonal skills.

  2. LAs receive upper-division units for their work in the program and can receive this credit up to 4 times. This counts towards your UCLA upper-division GPA and upper-division unit requirement.

  3. Returning LAs are able to apply for Logistical Head LA positions (a paid position) as well as Pedagogy Head LA Positions.

How Do Students Benefit?

  1. In LA-supported courses, students get extra help in lecture and discussion, extremely fast responses to questions posted on the discussion forum, and additional office hours each week. LAs also help students engage in discussion to increase student critical reasoning and facilitate student group collaboration. Moreover, the LAs are often seen as more accessible and approachable.

  2. A recent PLOS article found that peer-led team learning (i.e. having peers facilitate group problem-solving in a manner similar to that of LAs) helps under-represented minority students succeed in STEM classes.

To learn more about how the LA program has been benefitting the LAs and students on the UCLA campus, CLICK HERE to read a summary of the LA program’s progress.

Check out the video diary made by LS30 LA Chimerika Stephanie Aneke – she made this reflecting on her first quarter as an LA --> 

WHAT DO WE ASK OF LEARNING ASSISTANTS?

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Apply

Interested in being an LA?

See the buttons at the top for the current state of applications.

Please note that all new LAs must be able to attend the Pedagogy Seminar on Tuesdays from 4-5pm (mandatory requirement for all new LAs)

As a campus with a continually growing diverse student body, we encourage applications from individuals with a commitment to mentoring under-represented demographics in the sciences.

 

General Application Timeline

*Please note that this old timeline is for your reference. Fall 2018 will follow a different timeline due to the summer break.

General LA Program Application Timeline

Weeks before quarter Head LA Applicants New + Returning LA Applicants
6 weeks (e.g. Wk 5 of preceding quarter) Applications open
4-5 weeks (e.g. Wk 7) Logistical Head LAs selected  
2-3 weeks (e.g. Wk 10) Head LA Orientation LA acceptances sent out
Wk 10 Tues. 4:30-5:30pm   New LA Orientation for following quarter
What do we expect of LAs?

The program consists of the following weekly commitments:

  • 1 credit pedagogy seminar co-taught by Dr. Shaked, Dr. Tienson-Tseng, and/or other STEM faculty (1 hour seminar + 2 hr/wk reading and time to write weekly reflections and work on course projects)
  • 1-2 hours weekly meeting with instructor(s) and TAs to go over content and likely misconceptions for following week
  •  2-6 hours of the following: attend lecture, lab and/or discussion sections to foster collaborative learning
  •  1-3 office hours with TAs
  •  1-2 hours of other tasks (e.g. looking ahead at lectures or homework; responding to questions on discussion board)

New LAs are asked to commit at least 9 hr/wk (for 3 units) and ideally 12 hr/wk (for 4 units).

In the pedagogy seminar, we will go over the theory of learning and strategies that will help increase student learning. This includes weekly readings, reflections, and projects that LAs spend an average of 2 hr/wk on. The seminar includes LAs from across the sciences, math and computer science.

Here is a detailed table of weekly expectations for each type of LA.

For more information, check out the Pedagogy Seminar Syllabus.

What classes can I be an LA for?

The courses participating in the LA program varies each quarter, but so far we have had LAs helping in the following courses:

  • Chemical Engineering 101A/101B
  • Chemistry 14A/14B/14C/14D and 14BL
  • Chemistry 20A/B, 30A/B/C
  • Chemistry 153A & 153L
  • Computer Science 30/31/32/33/35L
  • Math 31A/B, 32A, 33A/B
  • MCDB 60
  • Physics 1A/1B/1C
  • Physics 5A/5B/5C
  • Physics 4AL/4BL
  • Physics 5BL/5CL
  • Life Sciences 7A/7B/7C
  • Life Sciences 23L
  • Life Sciences 30 A/B
  • Life Sciences 40
  • PIC 16A
  • Psychology 10, 116 A/B
  • Statistics 20
  • Statistics 100 A/B/C
Is the LA program only for STEM classes?

The LA program focuses on benefiting South Campus undergraduates and supporting faculty teaching large introductory science, math & engineering courses.

Can I be an LA for more than one class per quarter?

Yes! You can LA for more than one class in a quarter if you choose. However, this is not recommended.

Can I be a new LA if I cannot make the Pedagogy Seminar Time?

Unfortunately, no. The pedagogy seminar teaches LAs evidence-based teaching practices that are essential to facilitating active learning in the classroom. The LA program and pedagogy seminar are ongoing, so you can always apply to be an LA another quarter. Pedagogy Seminar is Tuesdays 3:30-4:45PM and we aim to keep this time consistent every quarter so that you can plan accordingly!

I want to LA for a specific class, but the instructor is not currently part of the LA program? Is there anything I can do?

Yes, the Instructors (link) page includes information about the LA program that you can share with them.

Interested in other Education-Related Opportunities at UCLA and beyond?

Click here to see a list of on- and off-campus opportunities, for credit and paid, while a student and for recent grads!