The program began at ECU in the fall of 2017. It was developed by STEM CoRE faculty – Dr. Kristine Callis-Duehl, Dr. Daniel Dickerson, Dr. Joi Walker and Dr. Steven Wolf. In our pilot year, the LA program recruited 9 faculty members to work with Learning Assistants, 2 Biology, 4 Chemistry, and 3 Physics. A total of 36 students were hired as LAs and utilized in 13 sections of introductory Biology, Chemistry, and Physics courses.
By using Learning Assistants in our STEM courses, we have seen a decrease in D and F course grades, as well as reduced withdrawal rates. During the Spring 2018 semester, the sections of PHYS 2360 – University Physics II that utilized Learning Assistants saw an increase of A, B and C course grades, a decrease of D and F course grades, and a lower withdrawal rate than the sections of PHYS 2360 without LAs.
A key aspect of the Learning Assistant Program is increasing the number of STEM teachers we create. As a new LA, you are required to take our pedagogy course “Special Topics in Science Education”, an introductory course on learning theory and active listening to prepare you for the LA experience. For those interested in a career in teaching, check out our student resources page for information on scholarships and loan forgiveness programs available.
The general program information throughout is adapted from the Learning Assistant Alliance at the University of Colorado – Boulder.