Be a Teaching Assistant
What is a SLTA?
Service-learning teaching assistants (SLTAs) make service-learning more meaningful and beneficial for both students and community partners. Service-learning teaching assistants are exceptional undergraduate or graduate students who are nominated by a VCU service-learning instructor to assist them with a service-learning course. As peer leaders, SLTAs develop new skills, work closely with faculty, develop relationships with community leaders and participate in a wide variety of community initiatives. SLTAs provide an average of five hours per week of teaching assistance throughout the semester, including ongoing group and individual supervision with Service-Learning Office staff.
Why be a SLTA?
As a service-learning teaching assistant, students have opportunities to work closely with faculty mentors and to learn alongside other highly engaged students. SLTAs will:
- Gain real-world experience working as an educator and community liaison.
- Enhance leadership skills and professional identities.
- Gain self-knowledge such as awareness of personal strengths and leadership styles.
- 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.
- Deepen understanding of civic and social structures and their impact on everyday life.
- Collaborate with a faculty member and mentor.
- Gain networking opportunities and build résumé credentials for future education or employment.
How to become a SLTA
Students who are interested in becoming service-learning teaching assistants 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 a SLTA:
- Service-learning instructors must nominate the prospective service-learning teaching assistant by filling out the online SLTA nomination form.
- The nominated student then completes and submits the online SLTA/SLGTA Application.
- Once their application is accepted, the SLTA must enroll in the appropriate SLTA seminar course: CMST 391 (PDF) for first-time undergraduate SLTAs; CMST 411 (PDF) for returning undergraduate SLTAs; CMST 691 (PDF) for graduate students.
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.
- First-time SLTAs: Undergraduate students who are accepted into the SLTA Program must enroll in CMST 391 (PDF). This 3-credit seminar course provides SLTAs with support, instruction, and professional development for their role as STLAs.
- Returning SLTAs: Undergraduate students who continue serving as SLTAs for a second semester enroll in CMST 411 (PDF). This 1-credit seminar course offers advanced learning and opportunities for experienced SLTAs to serve as peer leaders in the CMST 410 seminar. SLTAs who continue for more than two semesters take CMST 492, an independent study, designed collaboratively with their mentor faculty member and the service-learning office staff.
- Note: 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. 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 .
If you have any questions about the SLTA program, please email Katie Elliott at firstname.lastname@example.org.