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Teaching Opportunities at the Department of Biology

A common sentiment among teachers is that the best way to learn a subject is to be involved in teaching it to others. The Department of Biology provides two types of opportunities for undergraduates to gain experience teaching.  These opportunities also provide undergraduate students in biology courses with a chance to learn from peers who have recently been through the course.

Biology Undergraduate Lab Assistants (BULA) assist faculty instructors or graduate teaching fellows in charge of the laboratory or discussion sections associated with our courses.  Biology Tutor for Undergraduates (BTU) assist students in biology courses and hold regularly scheduled tutor sessions in the Biology Peer Tutor Center (PSC B009).

One of the educational objectives for BULAs and BTUs is that they will learn subject matter content at a much deeper level than they did as students in the class. A second objective is for these students to learn about teaching. Having to explain a concept to someone else sometimes means having to distill it to its essence, or having to get inside someone else’s head to understand the difficulty they are having in learning. These are valuable skills that are best acquired by doing. Some students may discover that teaching is a profession they wish to pursue; others may decide they don’t like teaching: either discovery is an important lesson. A third objective is for students to enhance their skills and abilities as learners and students through seeing the educational process from the perspective of a teacher.

BULAs will be involved in laboratory teaching situations in which a faculty member or a GTF is in charge of the laboratory. BULAs will primarily work one-on-one with students or in small groups. BULAs may enroll for one or more credits of Bi 402, Supervised College Teaching, four credits of which may be applied to the biology major graduation requirement. BULAs will be under the supervision of a faculty member who will be responsible for ensuring that the work they do involves quality educational experiences.

BTUs are selected to tutor students in the Biology Peer Tutoring Center, located in PSC B009.


If you are interested in being considered for a BULA or BTU position, please visit the Biology Office in 77 Klamath Hall for an application form. In selecting BULAs and BTUs, consideration will be given both to the educational need of the student applying, and of that person’s ability to assist other students in learning.

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