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Peer Educator Program

First Time Involvement

Faculty using Peer Educators for the first time

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.

Peer Educators (PEs) are undergraduates who participate in the running of a class. Typically the PE has already taken the class. You are the one who invites PEs to help you. PEs do a variety of things (determined by you) including facilitating in-class discussions, holding office hours, holding review sessions, helping create class web-sites, etc. However, they should not teach classes independently (though they could make a presentation for part of a class with you there) or grade student work.

New PEs must attend a required workshop during the second week of the quarter, where experienced PEs will share their experiences with new PEs.

You are expected to have regular meetings with your PEs to give them feedback on how they are doing and guide them in improving their skills. You can also learn from them about what the students are thinking, and they may even give you feedback on your teaching, if you want. PEs are not teaching assistants. PEs should not be expected to work more than 80 hours a term or 8 hours a week, although there can be flexibility with some weeks involving fewer hours and other weeks more hours.

PEs working fewer than 4 hours per week earn 1 upper-division unit. PEs working 4-8 hours per week earn 2 upper-division units. The regular meetings with the PEs should be included in the hours per week.
Evidence from the 15 years the program has existed demonstrates that including a PE in a class can benefit students in the class, the PE, and the faculty supervisor.


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.

For more information, please e-mail Theresa Conefrey at