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Models for Peer Interviews

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As your LA team grows, it becomes more challenging to select students as LAs.  A great way to narrow down applicants is to involve your current, senior LAs in the process.  Many senior LAs are excited to be involved with choosing the next generation of LAs and they can help choose students that really fit the needs of your specific instructional team.  Below are several models that have been used to facilitate a peer interview process for LA selection in the Eberly College of Science.


Model 1:  LA Feedback (minimal organizational effort)

  1. Gather a list of potential applicants.  Many instructors are now using a Google Form to easily collect information from students interested in applying to their courses.  A critical piece of information for this model is to ask for a LA reference.  CESE can provide you a generic form that can be modified to your preferences.
  2. Pre-screen applicants for any specific qualities you may be looking for as an instructor.
  3. Bring the screened list to a LA meeting and ask your LA for feedback.  Often times, LAs have worked directly with students that have applied, so they can speak to the individual characteristics of the applicant and if he or she would be a good fit. 
  4. This model can be combined with others listed below.

PROS:  Easy to organize, incorporates LA participations.

CONS: May miss good applicants that have not interacted with LAs.


Model 2:  LA Interviews During Office Hours (minimal organizational effort)

  1. Gather a list of applicants as listed above.
  2. Invite applicants to attend already scheduled LA office hours or LA session for a one-on-one interview.
  3. CESE can provide you with a generic Google Form that has interview questions the interviewing LA fills out during the interview.  Interviews last about 10 minutes. One of the questions is a ranking of the applicant to help narrow down the possibilities. 
  4. Bring interview notes to a LA meeting and discuss with other LAs.

PROS:  Uses already scheduled times, incorporates LA participation

CONS:  If office hours/LA sessions are busy, this can slow down interviews or limit LA help.  Only allows feedback from one LA (can address this by LA meeting discussions).


Model 3:  LA Group Interviews (most organizational effort)

  1. Gather a list of applicants as listed above.
  2. Identify two-four senior LAs that you or colleagues have worked with that demonstrate excellence in your program. 
  3. Ask the senior LAs if they would be willing to run short, 15-minute LA interviews as a group.  Some instructors organize times via Doodle Polls and others have allowed the senior LAs to determine logistics if they are interested.  Another option is open-interview times.  This is the time-intensive step. 
  4. Use a CESE provided interview form (see above).   Some LA interview groups ask applicants to provide a short example of their teaching (eg., explain a difficult topic with a drawing). 
  5. Bring interview notes to a LA meeting and discuss with other LAs. 

PROS:  Provides multiple opinions about a candidate, allows for high-quality selection.

CONS:  More time intensive, relies heavily on senior LAs.