The Service-Learning Teaching Assistant Program offers faculty critical support for coordinating student service experiences and ensuring quality service and reflection. It gives students a unique opportunity to develop professionally, engage more deeply with the community and collaborate closely with a faculty member. Service-learning teaching assistants work an average of five hours each week throughout an academic semester.
Service-Learning teaching assistants fill a number of critical support roles, including:
If you are teaching a designated service-learning course in an upcoming semester, consider how an SLTA/SLGTA might help in your service-learning class. Then, talk to an outstanding student about serving as your teaching assistant during the upcoming semester, preferably a student you know and have taught previously.
Once the invited student agrees to work as your SLTA, nominate the prospective service-learning teaching assistant by filling out the online SLTA nomination form. Nominated students must then submit an online SLTA/SLGTA Application.
Working with your SLTA or SLGTA
A teaching assistant can help you manage your teaching load in many different ways, and how you choose to incorporate them into your class is up to you. However your SLTA/SLGTA fits into your class, we ask that all instructors consider the following guidelines for cultivating a constructive relationship with your teaching assistant(s):
Evaluating your SLTA or SLGTA
Instructors working with a SLTA will be asked to complete a written evaluation of their teaching assistant twice a semester and to share these evaluations with them in constructive, face-to-face meetings. These evaluations function both as grades for your SLTA/SLGTA and as important opportunities to develop professionally.
SLTAs have opportunities to work closely with faculty mentors and to learn alongside other highly engaged students. SLTAs will:
Students who are interested in becoming SLTAs must be nominated by a VCU service-learning instructor. All STLAs take academic courses and receive academic credit for their coursework as service-learning teaching assistants.
To become an SLTA:
The undergraduate SLTA Program serves as a crucial element in VCU’s service-learning program. SLTAs enhance the learning experiences of students who are enrolled in service-learning classes and help faculty members manage the logistical details of their service-learning class and service placements. Students may serve as SLTAs for multiple instructors and continue collaborating with their faculty mentors.
SLTAs receive academic credit for these courses and pay tuition for them.
The Service-Learning Graduate Teaching Assistant (SLgTA) Program apprentices graduate students to outstanding, community-engaged faculty members in the student's academic discipline. SLgTAs enroll in CMST 691 (PDF) and collaborate with their mentor faculty member and the service-learning program director to individually tailor their course requirements and SLgTA roles.
SLgTA roles often include teaching, research and service responsibilities, thereby preparing graduate students for future faculty positions. New SLgTAs are strongly encouraged to attend the Community Engagement Institute prior to the semester in which they serve as an SLgTA.
SLgTAs must be nominated by a service-learning class instructor. If you are a graduate student and are interested in becoming an SLgTA, please contact a service-learning instructor within your academic program.