ON DEMAND: Graduate Assistants supporting active learning in graduate classrooms


  • Rebecca R.G.
  • Hannah Klawa
  • Cigole Thomas
  • Long Nguyen
  • Joanna Jauchen
  • Padmanabhan Seshaiyer
  • Evelyn Sander




Starting in Fall 2020, the Department of Mathematical Sciences initiated a program to expand and build on our Learning Assistant Program (previously only for undergraduate classes) to our core graduate classes as well. This new initiative titled Graduate Learning Assistants (GLAs) consists of a cohort of graduate students that have advanced to PhD candidacy working with graduate students who are taking core courses, to facilitate their learning individually or in small groups. By aiding in active learning within the course and running review sessions for the PhD preliminary exams (both done in a synchronous online format), GLAs promote student discourse and help students develop a deeper understanding of the foundational concepts and connections inherent in the course content they are learning. Since the material of graduate courses is at a very different level from the large undergraduate classes, the method of presentation and interaction is necessarily quite different. In this presentation, the GLAs will explain the pros and cons, what works and what does not, for peer mentoring of graduate students in taking graduate courses and preparing for their PhD prelims. Faculty organizers will also be involved to answer questions about how the program was established and implemented. We hope that this new GLA initiative can serve as a model to enhance and strengthen PhD programs in other disciplines.

Author Biography

Rebecca R.G.

College of Science

Additional Files





2021 On Demand Pre-recorded Presentation