Learning Assistants

About the LA Program

The Learning Assistants (LA) Program in the Sciences at UCLA is an evidence-based, multidisciplinary instructional strategy, in which students who have succeeded in a given course receive credit to learn how to help the next group of students succeed in that course. It is specifically geared toward large introductory science, engineering and math courses.  All new LAs attend a pedagogy course to learn about best practices in fostering student-centered and collaborative learning, and they simultaneously practice, reflect on, and improve these skills in the content course, under the guidance of their faculty mentor. Undergraduate students who serve as LAs thus help facilitate active learning and collaborative instruction in class and outside of lecture during office hours and discussion/lab sections.

The program aims to strengthen a few key aspects of UCLA courses:

  1. Increase the success and skills of the LAs themselves, as they refine content knowledge, while gaining new communication skills and a sense of community.
  2. Enhance the ability of faculty to effectively scale active learning, collaborative learning, and other interactive activities to more effectively teach a large and diverse student body.
  3. Increase the level of student satisfaction and belonging in these courses, and for the LAs themselves.
  4. Foster more application and interdisciplinary connections being made by instructors and TAs, since LAs are often more aware of student interests than the faculty and TAs teaching the courses.

For a detailed explanation of LA and instructor responsibilities, please refer to the buttons on the top of the page.

Below is an April 2018 slide show about UCLA’s LA program.


The LA program is supported by the Deans of UCLA’s Physical and Life Sciences, UCLA’s Office of Instructional Development and UCOP.


LA program development team (undergraduates): Johnny Dang, Kylie Rostad, Elisa Fazzari, Dominic Diaz, Timothy Hamilton, Mariam Ghattas, Max Zhu, and Irena Roy

Email: uclalearningassistants@gmail.com

Director of the LA program: Shanna Shaked

Senior Associate Director of CEILS
Lecturer, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Email: shaked@physics.ucla.edu
Office Location: Young Hall 3077D

Other past and present program coordinators:

Gaston Pfleugl, Life Sciences Core
Heather Tienson, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Nadia Sellami, Undergraduate Research Center – Sciences
Josh Samani, Physics & Astronomy

Website developed in collaboration with LAs Yiwei Sun, Emily Duong, Sara D’souza, and Johnny Dang.

The LA Program in the Sciences was established in Winter 2016 by Drs. Nadia Sellami (Life Sciences) and Shanna Shaked (Physical Sciences).