How to Help Your Peers on Campus

Are you looking for ways to get involved on campus? Do you enjoy helping your fellow students? Want resume building experiences? Let me introduce you to the College of Charleston’s Peer Facilitator Program.

What Is a PF?

When you were in your first year of college at CofC, do you remember taking your First Year Experience class that is required for all incoming students? You may remember the seminar portion that was structured like a normal class for credit. But, you may also remember those peer-led one hour weekly synthesis seminars. Did you ever wonder why you were in a class led by current students at the College? Well, these students are part of CofC’s Peer Education program.

Our PFs provide first-year students with guidance, support, and wisdom to be successful!

From the CEPE website on Peer Facilitators

The Importance of Peer Education

CofC’s goal through Peer Education is to give its students resources in other college students for assistance and mentoring in and out of the classroom. FYE synthesis seminars are designed to help incoming students at CofC to get acclimated to the college through the guidance of their PFs. These peers are faculty-nominated students that show interest in leading and assisting their students through the first year of college. CofC relies on these PFs to be a less intimidating form of authority that students can ask for help rather than the average adult professor.

PFs as a Discourse Community

Peer facilitators are expected to create content for each week in the seminar they lead. Chloe, a current peer facilitator, showed me the textbook these PFs in training are expected to read prior to taking on a class of their own. The textbook essentially identifies the expectations of a peer facilitator, tips on managing a classroom, and a formula for creating a lesson plan. In each lesson plan, PFs are asked to first identify the “learning outcomes.” These outcomes should be the focus of the lesson and at the end of each class, PFs assess whether or not they have reached these goals through student feedback. Many PFs ask for anonymous responses at the end of each lesson that identify whether or not these outcomes have been achieved. PFs also receive feedback in weekly meetings with other PFs and the PF leadership team. The purpose of these meetings is to share ideas of content to be used in lessons and they always refer back to the formula to ensure that each lesson is centered around these previously determined learning outcomes.

PF Qualifications

As mentioned above, PFs must be nominated by a CofC faculty member, and then must take a Teacher Education course specifically designed for this role. In this course, the students learn how to be professional yet approachable mentors to new students of The College. PFs are responsible for creating a lesson plan that is reviewed by Peer Center faculty to be used in the class they will be responsible for leading. PFs also learn how to communicate with their students in an appropriate manner and how and when to use campus resources with these students.

Want to Learn More About Becoming a PF?

Visit the Center for Excellence in Peer Education’s website to learn more about Peer Facilitators positions and other positions in Peer Education on campus at Reach out to your previous FYE professors and any professors you have good relationships with for a recommendation.

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