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

  • Stephanie B Philipp University of Louisville
  • Thomas R Tretter University of Louisville
  • Christine V Rich University of Louisville
Keywords: undergraduate teaching assistants, college persistence, institutional program, chemistry


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.

Author Biographies

Stephanie B Philipp, University of Louisville

Department of Middle and Secondary Education


Thomas R Tretter, University of Louisville


Department of Middle and Secondary Education

Christine V Rich, University of Louisville

Associate Professor

Department of Chemstry

Manuscripts (Research or Theory)