Santa Clara University


Guidelines for Selection and Use


Processes for participation in the Peer Educator Program *

Faculty who wish to participate in the program select juniors and/or seniors majoring in their discipline to work with them as peer educators in the instruction of a particular undergraduate course. Using a peer educator in a course connected with a Residential Learning Community and/or a core course is especially encouraged. Students selected to be peer educators should have a solid knowledge of the subject and good communication skills, including a sensitivity to issues related to learning.

After ascertaining that the students selected to be peer educators will be available for that particular course, the faculty members send a request to the registrar’s office using a Web-based form whose URL can be provided by the program director (Nina Tanti). This URL should not be given to students. After a request has been sent, the Office of the Registrar will create a course number through which a peer educator will get units. Then the peer educator will receive an e-mail explaining how to register for those units and how to sign up for a workshop. Peer educators working fewer than four hours per week earn one unit. Those working four to eight hours per week earn two units. These units are P/NP credit for which the faculty member is the instructor. Peer educators should not work more than eight hours per week. The web-based form must be filled out by the middle of the first week of the quarter.

There is a mandatory peer educator workshop. It is offered twice during the second week of class. Peer educators need only attend it once per quarter. Veteran peer educators will be asked to make presentations at workshops during subsequent peer educating experiences. Comments from new peer educators in the workshops indicate that presentations from veteran peer educators are the most valuable part of the workshops.

* Please note: Quarterly Adjunct Lecturers (QALs) are not eligible to participate in the Peer Educator Program.

Some exceptions:
  • Occasionally faculty work with as many as four peer educators in a single course.
  • Occasionally faculty select freshmen or sophomores as peer educators when the student has demonstrated outstanding intellectual and social maturity and when the student's knowledge of and interest in the subject make him or her an especially good candidate for the position.
  • Occasionally a minor or non-major is an appropriate choice, especially for core courses such as CTW 1 and 2.
  • Occasionally faculty involve carefully selected peer educators in upper-division courses.
  • Occasionally faculty choose students from the class itself as peer educators.
  • Faculty should consult with the program director if they see advantages to any of these exceptions.

Guidelines for peer educator involvement

The faculty member will provide the peer educators with copies of these guidelines for the program. A student getting paid for work can not also receive peer educator credit for the same work.

Faculty participating in the program determine exactly what work the peer educators will do in addition to the mandatory attendance at the program workshop. However, in no instance may the peer educators take on the role of teaching assistant or substitute for the teacher in any way. While peer educators may present material to the students in the class both formally and informally and participate in both small and large group discussions, the faculty member should be in the classroom, and the peer educator's presentations should clearly supplement - not replace - instruction by the faculty member. Furthermore, peer educator involvement should offer the same opportunities for all students - not just the students with the poorest or the best preparation.

Faculty may require their students to meet with peer educators outside of class in individual conferences, colloquia, study or review sessions, field trips, library sessions, and/or group discussions; outside work with peer educators may also be optional. Class time can be used for one of these purposes, as long as it is clear to the students in the class that the peer educators are facilitating and/or supplementing - not doing - the faculty member's work. Normally peer educators will not grade other students' work, except in instances in which the faculty member makes it clear that the grading fits within the goals of the program. In the rare case that grading will be done, it must be discussed before the term begins with the director of the Peer Educator Program (Nina Tanti).

Faculty should meet with the peer educators regularly to discuss their work. This should be at least thirty minutes per week (on average). This is possibly the most important part of the program. The faculty member can give constructive criticism and suggestions to the peer educators and discuss other pedagogical issues with them as well. Peer educators should also give feedback to the faculty member on his or her teaching and give their perceptions of the students' experiences. If there is more than one peer educator, they should give feedback to each other.

Ethical expectations of participants

Faculty should keep the peer educators' tasks within the promised number of hours per week, not to exceed four for students receiving one unit of credit or eight for students receiving two units. Faculty should avoid assigning particularly stressful activities to the peer educators.

Faculty should avoid the extremes of too little or too much guidance. Peer educators need clear structure and clear assignments of tasks, and the students in the class need to understand what the peer educators' roles are. At the same time, peer educators should have opportunities to participate in planning and taking initiative. Peer educators should not be placed in positions likely to create conflicts of interest or unusually difficult interaction with students. Peer educators should have ample opportunities to discuss with the faculty member aspects of the work they find particularly challenging or enriching.

Peer educators should perform their duties in a conscientious, professional, and impartial manner, observing the standards of behavior specified in the Student Conduct Code and other university policy statements.