BECOME A LEARNING ASSISTANT
An experiential learning experience with K-State First
K-State First Learning Assistants (LAs) and Residential Learning Assistants (RLA) have an important experiential learning opportunity through interaction with the K-State First program, which assists first-year students. This experience provides an opportunity for LAs and RLAs to develop leadership and mentorship skills through a program that aims to support students’ academic and social development during their first semester of college. At the same time, RLAs and LAs have the opportunity to help first-year students establish a foundation for a successful college career. A Learning Assistant leads non-residential CAT Communities and a Residential Learning Assistant leads residential CAT Communities.
In general, the educational goals for an LA or RLA include:
- Participate with the instructor in facilitating the K-State First course (planning and facilitating class activities, developing classroom community, connecting with students, etc.). Your role in the classroom is based on your educational goals, objectives of the course, and what works best for your community. This may involve activities within the course for first-year students, as well as facilitating out-of-class activities, such as study sessions, one-on-one meetings with individual students, co-curricular events, etc. You will need to be able to adapt to a variety of responsibilities and engage with the professor, other RLAs and LAs, and first year students in productive and meaningful ways, consistent with the course objectives.
- Enroll in and attend the EDCEP 311 class for 0 credit hours with other learning assistants during the spring semester. This class will provide instruction to establish a foundation and further your development as a better leader, educator, mentor, and young professional and connect you with people and resources at K-State. Along with required attendance, you will have reading and written assignments with this class.
- Attend a monthly staff meeting. This staff meeting will provide an opportunity to debrief on how your experiential learning opportunity is going, connect with fellow Learning Assistants, and receive ongoing training. Staff meetings will be the first Monday of every month from 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm.
- Attend a monthly one-on-one meeting with your K-State First supervisor. This meeting will provide an opportunity to connect with a K-State First professional and debrief on how your experiential learning opportunity is going.
- Serve as a peer mentor and role model for first-year students.
- Meet regularly with the K-State First Learning Assistant Coordinator to discuss your progress and issues related to your leadership and mentorship development.
For RLAs Only:
- Connect with and educate first-year students in the residence halls (developing academic programming, meeting with students informally, attending events, etc.) for approximately five-hours/week.
- Meet regularly with your Residence Hall staff and LA Coordinator (LAC) throughout school year and attend all required H&D training and meetings in August and winter break.
- Facilitate meetings and events with the CAT Community professor within the residence halls & dining centers.
PLEASE NOTE: Your time requirement for this experiential learning opportunity is around 10-15 hours per week for an RLA or 6-8 hours per week for an LA. At the beginning and end of each semester, you can expect to spend more than the minimum time requirement. As with all other academic courses, you will need to balance those responsibilities with your own coursework and involvement on campus.
The objectives of the experience include:
- You will think critically about your role as a learning assistant.
- You will communicate effectively—with your experiential learning supervisors, your peers, and your students.
- You will build community as a learning assistant cohort.
- You will apply the learning you gain to your role as a learning assistant.
- You will develop and reflect upon skills gained as an LA that will enhance your educational goals.
The minimum qualifications to enroll in EDCEP 311 and participate as a Learning Assistant are:
- Sophomore standing by the fall semester of your experience.
- Good academic and disciplinary standing; minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.
- Successful prior completion (B or higher) in a K-State First course preferred.
- Permission of the instructor and/or Learning Assistant Coordinator.
Additionally, students should be able to demonstrate that they have the following competencies and are committing to further developing them through this experiential learning opportunity:
- Relate well with students, faculty, and administration.
- Communicate clearly and effectively with students and faculty.
- Display a positive attitude, confidence, flexibility, and a team approach to activities.
- Ability to follow applicable university policies.
- Demonstrate a desire to learn about university operations including policies and procedures, people, programs, and community.
Continued participation in the experiential learning opportunity is dependent on continued demonstration of these competencies.
- The experiential learning opportunity for RLAs is for the entire academic year, not just the Fall Term.
- Prior Residence Hall experience is helpful.
- For LAs and RLAs, the university provides $500/semester training grant.*
- For RLAs only, the university also provides room and board (includes laundry) for both semesters at no cost (must have a roommate) to the RLA.*
* All funds provided to the participating students or otherwise credited to their benefit are to aid the student in pursuit of their education and training. To be eligible to receive the funds, the students must be enrolled in the course and participating in good standing in the experiential learning opportunity at the time funds are distributed.
Please contact Brent Weaver for up-to-date information on the application process.