Partnership for Persistence: Influence of Undergraduate Teaching Assistants in a Gateway Course for STEM Majors

Stephanie B Philipp, Thomas R Tretter, Christine V Rich


Nine science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) departments across our university developed a program to increase persistence of undergraduate STEM majors. Trained and supported undergraduate teaching assistants (UTAs) led sessions featuring active learning and informal discussion with students in a two-semester general chemistry course sequence for STEM majors. UTA-led students were three times more likely to persist into the second semester of chemistry. Students in UTA sections rated their TAs as better at impacting academic success and building rapport than did students in traditional GTA-led recitations. Mutually reinforcing elements of the program supporting student persistence in STEM will be discussed.


undergraduate teaching assistants; college persistence; institutional program; chemistry

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