|Document Title||Undergraduate Learning Assistant Policy|
May 4, 2009
Policy for the Use of Undergraduate Learning Assistants
This policy is intended to establish guidelines for the appropriate use of undergraduates as “learning assistants.” A point of pride for SUNY Fredonia is that undergraduate courses are taught by qualified faculty, most of whom hold advanced degrees, and that an effort is made to maintain class sizes that allow faculty to get to know their students and facilitate faculty-student and student-student interaction. The appropriate use of undergraduate learning assistants can enhance the teaching/learning experience, particularly in cases when it is necessary to offer courses in a large-lecture format, and can also be of benefit to those students chosen to serve as assistants.
By definition, a Learning Assistant (LA) is an advanced undergraduate chosen by a department to assist in the delivery of a course taken by less-advanced students. A student serving as an LA for a course should have taken and performed well in that course, or should have equivalent educational experiences that qualify him or her to serve as an LA.
The experience of serving as an LA is an opportunity for the LA to learn as well as to serve. Among the advantages of using LAs are the following:
Appropriate Roles for Learning Assistants: Subject to approval (refer to the “Implementation” section), the following methods for utilizing learning assistants are appropriate. This list is not intended to be all-inclusive; however, the University Senate has determined that it is never appropriate for LAs to grade student work nor have access to student grades.
Implementation: Any undergraduate serving as a learning assistant must be enrolled in a formal course. This is to provide for regular contact between the instructor and the LAs, give LAs transcript documentation for their experiences, and ensure that, via the course syllabus, all of the responsibilities and expectations of the LAs and the instructor are accounted for.
Such courses will be approved via the usual process involving the department, the dean, the Academic Affairs Committee, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. (Any course of this type that existed prior to the implementation of this policy must be resubmitted for approval.) Once approved, minor course revisions may be made with the approval of the department and the dean.