What is an Undergraduate Learning Assistant (ULA)?
Piloted in 2017, the ULA program partners faculty with a student who has completed their class to work 10 hours a week and assists with instructional duties, office hours, research for class, test new assignments, tech support, and more. They also provide near-peer mentoring to help other students, currently taking the class, to be successful.
Fall 2020 ULA Cohort
Who can be a ULA?
The ULA program targets academically strong juniors and seniors. ULAs must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and they must have completed your course (or an acceptable alternative) with a grade of B+ or better. If selected for the program, you – the faculty – will select your own ULA with support and guidance from the Center for Advancing Teaching Excellence (CATE).
Benefits to the faculty:
The ULA can take on a variety of tasks that directly support student learning (office hours, help with assignments, study sessions, answer questions). This frees up the faculty to focus on other aspects of the course. The ULA can also provide a student perspective to assignments, activities, course materials, and general lesson planning that can really help to guide the course refinement and implementation.
Benefits to the students in the class:
Students benefit from having a role model and near-peer mentor who has recently, and successfully, completed the class to answer questions that they may be hesitant to ask of faculty or TAs. They can turn to someone who has been directly in their shoes, understands where they are coming from, and can breakdown the material in a relatable way. ULAs have already completed the assignments for the class and can help current students with ideas for topics, where/how to research, and talk through their plans.
Benefits to the ULA:
ULAs develop leadership skills, gain peer mentoring experience, build confidence, delve deeper into subject area content, improve communication skills, and build meaningful relationships with faculty. It is especially beneficial to students who are planning to go to graduate school. It’s great resume material for them!
Faculty: Request a ULA
The faculty request for proposal has now closed and the courses for spring 2021 have been selected. For faculty interested in participating in the ULA program in the future, please be on the lookout for information about fall 2021 coming next spring. If you have questions or would like to learn more in the meantime, please contact us at MoodyCATE@austin.utexas.edu.
Students: Become a ULA
The ULA courses for spring 2021 have now been selected and student application has closed for the semester. Interested students should talk with their professors about options for fall 2021. If you have questions or would like to learn more in the meantime, please feel free to contact us at MoodyCATE@austin.utexas.edu.