Be a Teaching Assistant

Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, you can become a VCU service-learning teaching assistant. Service-learning teaching assistants develop new skills, work closely with faculty, develop relationships with community leaders and participate in a wide variety of community initiatives. Students who are interested in becoming SLTAs must be nominated by a VCU service-learning instructor.

Benefits

Students who serve as service-learning teaching assistants will:

  • Enhance leadership skills.
  • Develop interpersonal skills such as resourcefulness, giving and receiving feedback, working with diverse populations, and listening without judgment.
  • Improve problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
  • Enhance perspective on faculty/student relationships.
  • Create networking opportunities.
  • Build resume credentials for future education or employment.
  • Work closely with a faculty member.

Components

  • Students who are interested in becoming a service-learning teaching assistant must first be nominated by a VCU service-learning instructor.
  • Service-learning instructors must first e-mail Katie Elliott at elliottkl@vcu.edu to provide the name of the selected student.
  • The nominated student then completes and submits a SLTA/SLGTA Application (Word).
  • All students who are working as SLTAs must be enrolled in the SLTA supervision course CMST 410 (PDF)for undergraduates, 1.5 credits; CMST 691 (PDF) for graduate students. (Note: Both CMST 410 and CMST 691 may be taken in multiple semesters)
  • SLTAs provide a minimum of five hours per week of teaching assistance throughout the semester, including ongoing group and individual supervision with Service-Learning Program Office staff.
  • SLTAs also work collaboratively with each other to take leadership roles within the VCU Service-Learning Program Office by developing and/or implementing new or enhanced program features.
  • SLTAs are formally recognized for their contributions with a certificate and letter of commendation from the VCU Service-Learning Program Office and the VCU vice provost for the Division of Community Engagement.

Undergraduate Students

The undergraduate SLTA Program serves as a crucial element in the VCU 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.

  • Once undergraduate students are accepted into the SLTA Program, they first complete the required SLTA Orientation Course CMST 310 (PDF). This 1.5 credit course is a self-paced, seven-module online course that provides students with the foundational information they need to understand and support the objectives of VCU service-learning courses.
  • Undergraduate students who successfully complete the CMST 310 course may begin their SLTA work with their service-learning instructor. All undergraduate who are working as SLTAs must be enrolled in the SLTA supervision course CMST 410 (PDF) for undergraduates, 1.5 credits. (Note: CMST 310 may be taken in multiple semesters.) Undergraduate students may work as a service-learning teaching assistant and enroll in CMST 410 during the same semester they complete CMST 310.

SLTA Fellows

Students who have been an SLTA for at least two semesters and wish to continue in the program have the opportunity to become SLTA Fellows. These students participate in an advanced version of the SLTA required seminar, CMST 411 (PDF). This 1.5 credit course provides fellows with the opportunity to serve as peer leaders in the CMST 410 seminar. Additional tasks include helping to facilitate class discussion, providing mentoring to new SLTAs and working with the seminar facilitator to develop an independent service-learning project. Fellows continue to serve as a TA for their service-learning instructor.

Graduate Students

The Service-Learning Graduate Teaching Assistant (SLgTA) Program apprentices graduate students to outstanding, community-engaged faculty members in the student's academic discipline. Graduate-level 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.

Graduate-level SLgTA roles often include teaching, research and service responsibilities, thereby preparing graduate students for future faculty positions. New graduate-level 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. Current service-learning class instructors can be identified online at Find a Class.

Get Started

A VCU service-learning instructor must nominate both undergraduate and graduate students for an SLTA position. Nominated students then submit a formal application to the SLTA Program. If you have any questions about the SLTA program, e-mail Katie Elliott at elliottkl@vcu.edu.