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Peer Educator Program


Art History

Professor Cooks, Art History 66. Used peer educator to assist students with the interpretation of texts and selection of images for class presentations. The peer educator also made slide lists and led review sessions before the midterm and final exams.

Professor Maxwell, Art History 11 and Arts and Sciences 47. Used peer educators especially to aid students in preparation for quizzes and examinations. Peer educators held office hours in Alpha-related settings, especially Graham lounges. The office hours were grouped around quizzes and examinations and were scheduled for around 9 pm when I am not available. They also did slide reviews for students before the examinations.


Professor Soukup, Communication 12. At first the two PEs attended class and led in-class discussion groups on readings and work. When the Peer Educators saw that this was not initially working well, mainly because students were coming to the discussion groups inadequately prepared, the PEs took the initiative to develop clearer expectations and plans for the discussion groups. Then the groups started working better.

The PEs also helped students with the technology demands of the course, to a large extent by circulating in the lab while students were at work on computer-aided projects.
The PEs held office hours. It seems like these were underutilized.

Computer Engineering

Professor Danielson, COEN 1. The PEs in COEN 1 will assist with laboratory assignments and conduct weekly review sessions. I have conducted review sessions in that class, but time constraints limit them to every third week or so. In addition, the PEs will monitor and contribute to the Web Board discussions sessions. I will also use the PE to hold open Web laboratory sessions, where students can come in and go through on-line supplemental resources with the PE there to help. The PE will also help students in building their personal home pages, which is one of the project-oriented components of the course.

Professor Lewis, COEN 6. This COEN course typically had four lab sections; the Peer Educators started each 3 hour lab with 30-60 minutes of discussion of the previous week’s lecture material. For the most part this was material the students needed to learn in order to do their labs. Not all of the PE’s attended class.

One of the PE’s really did a wonderful job making the pre-lab discussions Socratic and interactive. The other PEs tended to fall back into re-lecturing, which was also beneficial for the students.

Professor Wood, Elen/Coen 21. The Peer Educators will work very closely with the student in laboratories, so they will better understand what they’re learning and (quite importantly) learn the kind of troubleshooting skills they’ll need to successfully build and debug hardware in subsequent courses. The PEs will also hold weekly review sessions for the students.


Professor Kamas, Economics 13. The peer educators met twice weekly with the students going over problem sets and answering questions. They held special reviews for the exams. They also led discussion sessions on three cases on which the students wrote papers. The topics were the new economy, the current recession and Bush’s fiscal policy, and the great depression.

Professor Klein, Economics 2. The Peer Educator facilitated a series of colloquia on topics established by Klein. Students received reading assignments and discussion questions to consider before attending each colloquium, and they wrote two-page reflections on the experience that Klein evaluated. They were allowed to choose 4 out of 7 in which to participate. Their reflective essays as well as attendance at and participation in the colloquia had some impact on their grade.

After an initial one or two meetings, the Peer Educator worked out ways to shift responsibility for student participation back to the students. She found it more rewarding to lead the meetings after that.


Professor Aimone, English 1. The peer educator helped plan class logistics and provided ongoing advice and suggestions about pedagogy and content of the class. (She was a senior business student who had taken advanced business writing from me and the class was English 1.) She researched video materials for presentation in class. She attended all class sessions and met with me after every session, to give me extra feedback on what was happening in the class, as a second set of “eyes and ears.” She brought to my attention students who were not fully keeping up but not taking initiative to get help to do so. She acted as a peer tutor for students in and out of class, at her discretion, and far above the call of duty — I hadn’t expected her to need to keep them, but she kept as many office hours as I did. I allowed her to present directly to the whole class a brief discussion on the relevance of writing skills for the workplace and job search, based on her own, ongoing experience. (She was interviewing with Deloitte and Touche and several other firms during the term.)

Professor Billings, English 1H and 2. The peer educator came to class regularly so as to know what we were covering and how the students were doing; additionally, she was thereby able to give me feedback from a student’s perspective of how class was going. She held her own office hours before each paper at times different from mine; she assisted with peer critiques during class time, and she met with students or communicated with them via email to provide them with additional feedback on their drafts. She participated on the Prometheus discussion board to prompt students’ questions and to answer them the same way that I did. In each of the three classes she peer-educated in, she led at least one class discussion of the reading or writing issues for the students.

Professor Booth, English 43 and 168. Peer educators held office hours weekly, usually in the evening, to meet with students to discuss the readings, talk about their writing assignments, and troubleshoot any concerns that students might not want to take to the professor.

They model certain kinds of academic work; in the spring quarter, for example, the peer educator presented a model the reading responses each student had to do.

Peer educators also made short presentations (2-5, depending on the peer educator) to the class, talking about a reading or a concept, planning a class activity, and again providing a model of academic work of high quality.

Phyllis Brown, English 2. Peer Educators will lead five colloquia with the purpose of helping students write a formal literary analysis, working from assigned readings and an informal journal entry on a related topic. Students will choose to attend one of the five colloquia. Peer Educators will also hold office hours the nights before journal entries are due and before the midterm. Peer Educators will also assist with small discussions in class and with details relating to the FRC performances.

Phyllis Brown, Honors 12. A Peer Educator working with me in an Honors 12 class attended almost all classes, occasionally contributed to discussion, met with all the students outside of class at least once to discuss paper topics and or to help with review before exams, and met with me weekly to discuss how the class was going.

Phyllis Brown, English 21. Two Peer Educators worked with me in Introduction to Poetry classes winter and spring quarters. They attended most classes, contributed to discussions, did a sample group presentation for the class, met with each student outside class at least once, facilitated review sessions, and met with me weekly to discuss how the class was going.

Professor Burnham, English 1. Peer educators helped facilitate small group discussion in class, held one on one conferences with students to plan and discuss paper topics, worked with class presentation groups to help them plan their presentations, and helped me to assemble a poetry reading packet.

Professor Dunbar, English 54. My two Peer Educators for Introduction to Shakespeare course, which fulfills a third writing requirement, were Olga Kuskova and Ali Christian. They received very high praise from the students for their work, which included, especially,: (1) one to one tutoring students in writing skills as well as in conceptualizing and organizing their papers for the course. The Peer Educators did such tutoring in several ways: during the office hour each had once a week; during special appointment times outside of class; during scheduled one to one conference times toward the end of the quarter required twice of each student while writing their long research papers. (2) Olga and Ali also each had responsibility for about four small groups or pairs of students whom they coached outside of class time to help the students prepare excellent oral reports and panel presentations during the quarter to the whole class. Olga and Ali also modelled a panel presentation themselves, analyzing issues of gender and power relevant to the role of Gertrude in Hamlet. They met with me sometimes once per week, sometimes every other week, during the quarter, to have a time of reflection, analysis, and creative thinking about the course, student learning, their observations, their learning as peer educators. Olga said this course had the best use of Peer Educators she had ever experienced.

Professor Edelstein, English 32. I had 2 peer educators (both of whom had taken the class before, one with me) for my English 32 in spring 2003. They helped facilitate small-group discussions in class, contributed to and sometimes spurred full-class discussions, conducted review sessions before 2 quizzes and the midterm, and offered to help students with their take-home final. Students reported that the review sessions were very helpful; no one asked the p.e.‘s for help with the take-home finals (and only two students saw me about them—a smaller than usual number). The peer educators also led class one day when I was home sick. I’d sent them discussion questions and background materials on the texts we were scheduled to discuss that day; from all reports, the discussion seems to have gone very well.

Professor Elrod, English 1. The peer educator led small group discussions (of challenging academic essays) in class and helped run peer editing sessions. Outside of class she met with students to look at rough drafts and helped suggest revision strategies. She also helped students learn to edit their own sentences. And she met with groups as they planned their class presentations.

Professor Elrod, English 20 and 39. The peer educators were used much the same as in English 1, though in a more formal way. Class discussions were more structured, peer editing and presentation meetings with peer eds were required. They were crucial to the success of these courses.

Professor Gould, English 2. Used peer educators in peer review groups about every two weeks. Students also make appointments or come for drop in office hours with the peer educators when they are working on the first drafts of papers. Most useful here is having someone to talk to about the concept of the paper. Encouraged the peer educators to contribute to in-class discussions and asked them to give at least one presentation in class on something I think students need background on, such as an abstract on a relevant scholarly article.

Professor Gould, English 79. The peer educators were used much the same as in English 2. In addition they help a lot with the logistics of our speakers: meeting them at the train, helping them with handouts, doing flyers and advertisements, writing press releases or articles for the paper, taking pictures, setting up video equipment. This part always worries me because it seems to be treating them more like teaching assistants, but I know they have learned from and enjoyed the time they have spent with speakers (professors, artists, writers, musicians, etc.), and our speakers are always so impressed with the students.

Professor Hawley, English 79. Used peer educators principally to lead small group discussions to prepare the class in the writing of thematic papers. In the poetry class, as English majors who had taken the class they led the way in interpreting the poems and in demonstrating how it was done.

Professor Rynes, English 20. The peer educator gave oral presentations explaining various critical approaches to literary texts. She also wrote model essays for specific assignments and provided a comprehensive summary of short stories in the anthology we used as source material for analysis. Finally, she participated in in-class group discussions and coached students in writing by editing rough drafts of assigned papers.

Professor Rynes, English 2. The peer educator was used much the same as in English 20 but this time focused most of her attention on providing precis of chapters in the basic text used for discussion. She provided individual attention for some students who asked for help in improving their writing. One student, Alex Nickels, did have one of his essays printed in The Santa Clara student newspaper.

Professor Rynes, English 43. Besides participating in in-class discussions, the peer educator devoted most of her attention to guiding groups composed of three students through the process of researching and coordinating their oral presentations on various aspects of the background for Victorian and 20th Century British Literature. This required meetings in the library outside class, mostly on weekends.

Professor Rynes, English 42. The peer educator had studied in England during the fall quarter and was able to collect photos, maps, and other materials to illustrate the background of the literature the class studied. She gave a few oral presentations but spent most of her time helping groups of three students prepare for their oral presentations on various aspects of the background for the literary texts studied in the course.


Professor French, History 11. French’s class will be linked with Psychology 10 in Campisi RLC. During the first few weeks of the quarter, the Peer Educator will help French and Numan (the other instructor) work with students in their classes to design activities that will help the RLC achieve its objectives. In addition, the Peer Educators will hold office hours at which they will help students in History 11 plan group presentations, study for exams, and write essays. French will invite the Peer Educators to suggest other class activities and enrichment assignments.

Mathematics and Computer Science

Professor Schaefer, Math 11, 12, 13. Two days a week, homework is due at the beginning of class. On those days, the last 15 minutes of class are spent responding to questions from students about homework problems they could not do. On a given day, a single PE will show how to solve the requested problem at the board. Beforehand, I explain to the PE’s how to present methods of solution in addition to the solution itself.

There are four interactive quizzes lasting 12 minutes each and consisting of a single problem. When students think they have a solution, or when they are stuck, they come up to the front. If the work is correct, it is accepted; if not, the error is pointed out. If the student is stuck, a hint is given. The PE’s and I each stand at the front of the room to provide this interaction. The goal is that every student has a perfect paper by the end of the quiz (they don’t count much).

The PE’s hold four office hours each week. These are held in the residence hall when the class is an RLC course. The PE’s hold office hours the evenings before homework is due. Each PE holds one evening review session before a mid-term, lasting about 90 minutes.

Political Science

Professor Lukes, Political Science 1. Peer Educators assisted the students with their on-line research (in-part with a statistical package with which SCU has license rights) in a computer lab. The students would circulate and help pairs of students as they worked together on a computer. One PE was more available the first quarter. This arrangement switched the next quarter with the other being more available.

The PE’s seemed to have been of significant help allowing the on-line, technical part of the course to work well for the students very rapidly.

Religious Studies

Professor Cook, Religious Studies 8. The PE attended class and helped organize and process a series of off-campus experiences which allowed groups of students to participate in different worship contexts and meet with members of those religious communities. The student also led one class meeting (the Peer Educator Program discourages this) and held some office hours, which were underutilized.

Professor Peter, RSOC 9, linked with Connie Cortez’ art history course in Campisi RLC. Meeting RLC Objectives: Peer Educators are to become familiar with the objectives of the RLC and then suggest activities, assignments, etc. which will help achieve these objectives. Planning the Course: PEs will meet with me before the quarter start to assist in planning the course, especially, helping to determine the order of assignments and the group to which each student is assigned. Observation Assignment: PEs will help students organize their “observation” visits to local religious rituals in traditions not their own. Study Groups: PEs will convene small study groups to help students prepare for class exams in RSOC 9. Class Involvement: Every opportunity will be given to the PEs to participate in class presentations either by (a) engaging in in-class conversations with me around questions submitted in writing by students about the reading material of the day, (b) interacting with me in class about the day’s reading materials, © giving independent presentations to the class, or (d) some combination of the above.

Professor Pleins, Scripture and Tradition 35. The peer educator focused on small group discussions. As the small groups tackled questions assigned to them on the basis of the course readings and lecture materials, the peer educator would insert himself into the group to help stimulate a richer engagement of the questions at hand. It was very effective to have a knowledgeable peer challenge their thinking, raise new questions, and press students to flesh out their own ideas in a fuller way.