Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Program

The Undergraduate Teaching Program (UNIV 250/251) provides Focused Inquiry students the opportunity to use the communications and critical thinking skills they learned in FI in new, advanced ways by revisiting their FI (UNIV 111/112/200) classroom as a peer mentor and leader. Past UTAs have described themselves as mediators between FI students and FI faculty as they experience both student and teaching perspectives, helping everyone create a productive learning space inside the classroom. UTAs can come from any major or any field of study, as the program will help UTAs to set their own goals and work with their mentors to make sure the program is helping UTAs achieve personal goals. This experiential form of education is great preparation for almost any field of study and applies to many endeavors beyond college.

The UNIV 250/251 course is a 1-credit service learning course housed in the University College where UTAs play an important role in one of the faculty mentor’s courses. Expected practices include attending the class each day of the week and assisting students in the class in various ways, such as modeling assignments/activities, providing feedback, etc; meeting with your faculty mentor (and the other UTAs, if applicable) once a week; and going to one meeting per semester with other UTAs.

Upon completing a year of UNIV 250 or 251, UTAs may enroll in the Peer Leadership Seminar (UNIV 350). This seminar offers a three-fold approach to leadership: practicing leadership through mentoring current UTAs in the 250/251 sequence; studying leadership through observing and synthesizing Richmond Metro Region events, people, and areas; and participating in conversations with local leaders such as politicians, business owners, clergy, teachers, and representatives of nonprofit organizations.

If you are a current FI student and are interested in the program, please discuss it with your current FI instructor or contact the UTA coordinators Ryan Cales (calesre@vcu.edu) or Amber Pearson (arpearson@vcu.edu).

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