Strategies for the Effective Use of Undergraduate Learning Assistants in STEM Courses

There is a growing national trend to use undergraduate learning assistants (UGLAs), also known as teaching assistants, in the college classroom to improve the educational experience of students and the teaching experience of faculty members. Research has shown that students in sections that utilize UGLAs earn higher grades, are more likely to pass their courses with a C or higher, experience lower levels of anxiety, and are more actively engaged in the classroom than their counterparts in courses without UGLAs.  

This program is intended to help faculty members who have limited experience using UGLAs in their classrooms. It is designed for STEM faculty and will be conducted in a "flipped-mode" format. Participants will complete brief readings and activities before the in-person sessions.  This will allow time to work on plans as well as give and receive feedback during the sessions.  UN-L STEM faculty experienced in working with UGLAs will lead sessions. Participants will be guided through the best practices necessary to hire, train, and employ UGLAs in the classroom. After completion of the program, participants will have a plan in place to make use of UGLAs in their courses.

Facilitators: Don Lee, professor, Agronomy and Horticulture, and Robert Vavala, instructional designer, Innovative Instructional Design, supporting STEM departments in the College of Arts and Sciences

Schedule: 11:00 AM—12:30 PM, biweekly, 1st and 3rd Fridays, starting February 1st, excluding spring break (2/1, 2/15, 3/1, 3/15, 4/5, 4/19)

Location: 113 Chase Hall, East Campus

Who should participate? ARISE professional development offerings are funded with an NSF grant and are intended for UNL STEM faculty. This session will be tailored to instructors considering or new to using undergraduate learning assistants.

Note: Lunch, materials, and a small stipend will be provided to participants.