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OSU Learning Assistant Program

Learning Assistants in lecture.

Peer learning support helps every voice be heard

Oregon State University and the College of Science have emerged as pioneers in shaping a new era of improved science teaching, replacing the traditional lecture format with active learning strategies to maximize student engagement and learning in STEM courses. At Oregon State, peer Learning Assistants (LAs) facilitate discussions and collaborative learning in the classroom, promoting student learning skills and higher-order cognition that are important for success in science and mathematics majors.

Developed in 2014 by integrative biology faculty Devon Quick and Lori Kayes and Writing Center faculty Dennis Bennett, the Learning Assistant Program became incorporated into the College of Science in 2022. The program has become an integral part of many COS units, including biochemistry and biophysics, physics, chemistry, math and statistics.

Become a Learning Assistant

Ambitious, motivated students wanting to make a difference in the classroom can apply to be a part of the LA program. Students apply to be an LA after successfully completing the course in which they wish to assist learning. Faculty and LA Program personnel select LAs and place LAs with course faculty (selection is competitive). Once hired, LAs meet weekly with faculty to prepare, facilitate student learning, and learn about pedagogy and how to support student learning in the LA pedagogy course.

Generous donations ensure continued success

Initially supported by a four-year $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation and ESTEME@OSU project (Enhancing STEM Education at OSU), generous gifts from donors assure its continued success for years to come. Studies have shown the program's demonstrable success. In 2019, student retention and six-year graduation rates were the highest in OSU history.