Physics Learning Assistant Application, New Applicants, Fall 2013


Thank you for your interest in being a Physics Learning Assistant (LA). LAs assist with the instructional mission of the physics department by working with faculty who are teaching Physics 1430 (Mechanics) and Physics 2425 (Electricity and Magnetism), facilitating student learning in the classroom, and providing support for students in the Physics Help Center. LAs will also attend preparation sessions each week, and will be required to enroll in a physics course, Physics 4320 (Special Topics: Physics Cognition and Pedagogy), taught by Dr. Eleanor Close. LAs commit between 5 and 10 hours a week to preparation and work in the classroom, with the option of more hours for grading and staffing the Physics Help Center. LAs are paid at a rate of $10.00 per hour, and upon completion of all of their obligations new LAs will also receive a $300 stipend. LAs are different from Laboratory Instructors in several ways: LAs assist faculty in the classroom, facilitate student interactions within the framework of research-based activities, and study and reflect on relevant discipline-based pedagogical research. Students from any major are welcome to apply to be Learning Assistants; the only prerequisite is successful completion of Physics 1430 (to serve as an LA in Physics 1430) or both Physics 1430 and Physics 2425 (to serve as an LA Physics 2425). Applicants who are interested in the philosophy behind the Learning Assistant model can visit the page at

Colorado Learning Assistant Program

The deadline for application to the program is Tuesday, April 23, at midnight. We predict more applicants than openings, so please complete the application carefully. Decisions regarding employment will be made by May 1.

* 1. Last Name

* 2. First Name

* 3. Texas State ID

* 4. Texas State e-mail

* 5. What is/are your major(s) and minor(s) (if any)?

* 6. Are you planning on, or possibly interested in, completing a physics major or minor? Describe your current level of interest in the major or minor (e.g., “I am planning to major in physics,” or “I might add the physics minor if I can fit it into my degree plan in mathematics”).

* 7. What do you think are some specific characteristics of “good” and “bad” interactions between students and instructors? Please be as specific as possible; give examples if you can.

* 8. Please explain your view of the purpose(s) of physics instruction. Of course, the obvious purpose is for students to “learn physics.” What particular aspects of learning physics do you think are especially important and why are they important? What else besides physics content might be learned in a physics class?

* 9. Please explain why you would like to serve as a Physics Learning Assistant. How do you expect you might benefit, and what do you think you might contribute?

* 10. All Learning Assistants are required to attend preparation sessions each Friday from 12:00 PM - 1:50 PM. New LAs must enroll in Physics 4320.001 (CRN 18149), which meets Tuesdays from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. New LAs are also required to attend a pre-semester New LA Workshop, which will include an introduction to the teaching philosophy and methods of the program as well as employment logistics (e.g., hiring paperwork). The New LA Workshop for Fall 2013 will be Friday, August 23, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM (lunch will be provided).

We understand that students’ schedules may change before school starts in August. If you know you will not be available for these required preparation sessions, please apply again in December for Spring 2014, or consider applying for a Physics Lab Instructor position.

* 11. In which sections of PHYS1430 or PHYS2425 do you expect you would be able to work? (Check all that apply)

* 12. How many hours per week do you think you will be available to work?

* 13. How many hours per week would you like to work (in your ideal schedule)?

* 14. What is your expected graduation date?

* 15. What is your current Texas State GPA?

* 16. Please indicate the grade you earned in each of these classes.

  A B C D F W I have not taken this class I am currently enrolled in this class Other
Physics 1430 (Mechanics)
Physics 2425 (Electricity and Magnetism)
Physics 2435 (Waves and Heat)
Math 2471 (Calculus I)
Math 2472 (Calculus II)
Math 3373 (Calculus III)

* 17. Please comment briefly on the grades you entered above. In particular, if you checked “currently enrolled” for any of the classes listed, please predict your final grade. If you checked "Other" for any of the classes listed, please explain. You can comment on trends (e.g., if your grades are getting better or worse) or anomalies (e.g., if one grade stands out as especially low or high), or anything else that you think needs to be explained. If you would like to mention grades in classes not listed above, you may do that here as well.

* 18. What ideas do you have for a career for yourself? Give at least two practical ideas (as in, branch manager at a bank, or high school band director) and at least one fantasy idea (as in, circus clown or news anchor). What is a fantasy for one person might be practical for another. Please explain.

Thank you for applying to the Physics Learning Assistant program. You will hear something from us by May 1.