Supported SiteSupported Site California State University, San Marcos: Collaboration


  • The CSUSM College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) and School of Education (SoE) collaboratively run the CSUSM Learning Assistants program. PI Price is in CSM and PI Lawler is in SoE.
  • The PIs worked with the North County Professional Development Federation (NCPDF) to make contacts with local high school physics teachers.
  • An LA program was established at Palomar (described in the Early Teaching Experiences section).


  • The physics department is in a different college from the science and math secondary education program. This creates some administrative barriers to collaboration.
  • The SoE's secondary science education specialist is a retired faculty member who teaches science methods part time. PI Lawler is a math education specialist.


  • These collaborative efforts benefit all participants in ways that are important to their communities. For example, the LA program supports course improvement (valued by CSM) and teacher preparation/recruiting (valued by SoE).

Lessons Learned

  • This collaboration thrives due to common commitments and goals, including:
    • Social constructivism as a theory of learning.
    • Learning via student-student interaction and engagement with authentic problems (inquiry).
    • That teaching itself is (can be) an intellectually stimulating and scholarly endeavor.
    • Respect of the teaching profession and of/for teachers.


  • PI are engaged in ongoing administration of LA program.
  • PIs made a presentation to SoE faculty meeting (September 8, 2011).
  • PIs met with with NCPDF Director (September 30, 2011; December 15, 2011; April 25, 2012; May 11, 2012).
  • PIs met with Vista High School administrators (March 21, 2012).
  • Math and science teachers from Vista High and San Marcos High visited campus during Fall 2012.
  • PIs meet regularly with and brief the Director of the SoE and the Dean of CSM on project activities. Administrators are regularly invited to project events such as the LA recruiting event.