What is an LA?

As part of the BEST program (NSF Noyce Teacher Scholarship grant), The College of Science is offering the opportunity for faculty to utilize learning assistants (LA) in their classrooms.  Our LA program is based on the understanding that learning requires students to articulate and defend their ideas.  Thus, LA supported courses provide regular opportunities for students to engage with each other in small groups using challenging curricular materials that help students to get closer to a scientific/mathematical understanding.  An LA’s primary role is to facilitate these collaborative environments by listening, observing, engaging students in questioning, helping students articulate their ideas and justify their reasoning to themselves and other students.  LAs may also be valuable in providing feedback to the professor on student understanding.  LAs can be used in classroom situations such as lecture using clickers, flipped settings, recitation, labs, learning communities, help/review sessions both in person or online.  LAs will be coached in aspects of pedagogy, and most importantly, how to get students to answer their own questions instead of the LAs giving the answers.

Expectations of the LA

  • Content: LAs meet weekly (~ 1 hr + prep time) with their supervising professor to review problem sets or other activities for the upcoming week, and reflect on the previous week.
  • Practice: LAs attend all classes as required by their supervising professor (0-3 hr) and facilitate collaboration among students by formatively assessing student understanding and asking guiding questions. Offer guided help sessions if required by the professor.
  • Pedagogy: LAs attend a special mathematics and science education seminar (NTSC 200 for 1SH) where they reflect on their own teaching and learning and make connections to relevant education literature.

Note: The LA program is no longer supported by the Noyce Grant. LAs will be compensated $800/semester for working 6-7hr/wk or $700/semester for working 5-6 hr/wk. Check with your supervising professor to find out how many hours they are requiring you to work.


Goals of the LA Program at Benedictine University

  • Teacher recruitment and preparation: to promote students seeking out teaching experiences in the future.
  • Curriculum and Course Transformation: to improve the quality of math and science education for all undergraduates.
  • Institutional change: to engage math and science faculty in the recruitment and preparation of future teachers and to promote faculty transformation of undergraduate courses.

Because this program was developed as part of the BEST program (National Science Foundation/ Noyce teacher preparation grant), you will explore teaching pedagogies as part of your teaching experience.  We want to provide a meaningful experience about teaching and learning that you will be able to use in the future.

For More Information, Contact:

Dr. Allison Wilson
BEST Program Director
Birck 319



If you are interested in becoming an LA for the Spring 2018 semester, please click on the link below.

Student Learning Assistants 

Goals for the LA

  • Learn the subject matter to a great extent
  • Increase confidence in knowing the subject material
  • Improve listening skills
  • Improve communication skills
  • Build relationships with students
  • Practice teaching skills
  • Learn about how to learn

     College of Science

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Robin Rylaarsdam, Ph.D
Acting Dean of the College of Science

Tonia Rucker, Assistant to the Dean
Email: trucker@ben.edu
Phone: (630) 829-6187
Fax: (630) 829-6186

Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

By Mail:
Benedictine University
5700 College Road
Birck Hall Room 119
Lisle, IL 60532