MISSION OF THE LA PROGRAM JEDI DIVISION
Our mission is to transform the LA Program by creating a learning community centered around the empowerment of LAs coming from marginalized groups. We are dedicated to addressing some of the issues these LAs face in regards to equity, equality, accessibility, and much more. In addition, we will be placing a large emphasis on outreach to expand the opportunity of being an LA to more Bruins who may not have had exposure to the program before.
MISSION OF THE ANTI-RACISM DISCOURSE @ UCLA
The mission of the Anti-Racism Discourse (ARD) seminar at UCLA is to provide a space for UCLA undergraduates to engage in anti-racism discourse through reflecting on topics that target systemic racism surrounding our communities through proactive small-group conversation, reflection sessions and weekly action plans. Participants are able to practice communicating topics surrounding anti-racism through engaging with trained facilitators.
Why Should Learning Assistants Engage in Anti-Racism Discourse?
Educating myself through unlearning and relearning helped me as a Learning Assistant and as a person in general. In training our LAs, I truly understood why so much of our programming is centered around equity and inclusion and was able to articulate these thoughts to LAs
Educating yourself about systemic inequity is important as an educator because students cannot check aspects of their social identity at the door when they enter the classroom. Aspects of your identity are integral to how you experience UCLA and how you experience STEM. It is the job of educators to combat systemic racism embedded within our systems, but first we need to be aware of the systemic inequities so we can make a welcoming environment for all students.
As a New LA, experiencing ARD has helped me learn how to facilitate conversations surrounding racial inequities in many aspects of my life beyond the classroom. I find myself being more comfortable to advocate for my fellow students and LAs effectively after completing the ARD course.
The 4% Group
Our focus group is dedicated to addressing some of the issues that Black LAs face as a portion of the LA program at large. This will also be a safe space where Black LAs can meet others in the program, socialize, and have an environment where we can advance the collective experience of Black LAs in the program.
Below is a Spring 2021 slide show from one of the 4% meetings.
To me, being an LA means forming connections with students, being another resource for students to get their questions answered, and furthering students’ understandings about course content. I joined the LA program because I love helping others, and teaching/explaining different aspects of my favorite courses to students seemed really fun!
Being an LA means being the bridge between your peers and the content. We have the unique ability to express to our peers the content in such a friendly, peer-to-peer way that just isn’t possible with the other educational staff. I joined the LA program because it was an opportunity to work on my skills of explaining things to other people. I want to end up consulting and teaching at some point in my life so having the ability to be able to teach and explain concepts to students and get real-time feedback is really beneficial!
Being an LA means the connection between students and professors, making education more accessible regardless of a student’s background or strength in that course, and creating a more collaborative, rather than competetive, environment among STEM students at UCLA. I always found it so much easier and less intimidating to learn from a peer; the LAs I had were so helpful, made academia feel like less of this exclusive club, and really changed my outlook on learning! I joined the program because I hoped to do the same for other students who may have felt similarly.
Being an LA means being a student leader. Being an LA means being a vessel between students and the TA. Being an LA means giving back to the STEM community. Being an LA means representing minority groups in STEM. I joined the LA Program to represent Black women in STEM leadership positions. I also wanted to solidify my understanding in LS 7A, my first college-level science course.
Inclusive Teaching Strategies for Learning Assistants
As part of our program, Learning Assistants will gain experience working with the following evidence-based inclusive learning strategies:
Kaylie Bair (she/her)
Kaylie joined the Program Development Team in Spring 2021 and currently works with the JEDI and ARD divisions.
Naomi Hammonds (she/her)
Naomi joined the Program Development Team in Summer 2021 and currently works on the JEDI Division as well as leading the 4% Group.