The Learning Assistant Model at the University of Colorado at Boulder is founded on the premise that teacher preparation begins in the college of arts and sciences, where students begin their content education. The Learning Assistant model uses the transformation of large-enrollment science courses as a mechanism for achieving four goals: (1) to recruit and prepare talented science majors for careers in teaching, (2) to transform undergraduate math and science courses to be more student-centered and interactive, (3) to engage science research faculty in research-based teaching, and (4) to change the culture of university math and science departments to view teaching as a legitimate and desirable activity for ourselves and for our students.
The Learning Assistant program has had a dramatic impact on our faculty, on our students, and on science teacher recruitment and preparation. For example, we have recruited 17 physics/astrophysics majors to careers in K-12 teaching (compared to only 5 physics majors enrolled in certification programs in the entire state of Colorado in 2004-2005). In this presentation, I will describe the program in detail and present qualitative and quantitative data to support claims about the program.